Springback Academy 2024 Selection

After 118 applications for Springback Academy 2024, we have selected – as always. with difficult choices and decisions – the ten writers for the programme. This year, additionally, we welcome two guest attendees from Hong Kong. We look forward to all meeting together at Spring Forward 2024 in Darmstadt, Wiesbaden and Mainz, Germany, 21–23 March.

Daria Ancuța (RO) is a 21-year-old theatre critic, playwright and emerging dance writer based in Bucharest. Currently a third-year student at The National University of Theatre and Film ‘I. L. Caragiale’, where she is pursuing a BA degree in Theatre Criticism & Cultural Management. Writing her final thesis on the relationship between artistic creation and critical reception, she is passionate about understating the dynamics of the artist-critic duo in both theatre and dance. Her articles and reviews have been published in the two most important performing arts magazines in Romania – Scena.ro and Teatrul azi. Daria is also editor-in-chief of Dissolved Magazine – an online platform through which she strives to promote young arts journalists in Romania and engage readers in a dynamic cultural dialogue. Since 2020, she has participated in a wide range of international theatre and dance festivals as a critic, curator and moderator for panel discussions. Given the fact that she comes from an academical background mainly focused on theatre, the first step in overcoming her imposter syndrome when writing about dance was her participation in the Resolution Review 2024 programme at The Place (London).
Instagram: @daria__ancuta
Facebook: @dariancuta

Zuzanna Berendt (PL)- researcher in the fields of performing arts and posthumanism, independent curator, editor, theatre and dance critic based in Cracow (Poland). She is a graduate of theater studies and film studies. She is currently developing her doctoral project at Jagiellonian University. In recent years she has been researching ecological thought in performing arts and co-creating projects based on the formula of artistic research. Among them were the art and research residency program ‘Biopolis’, the interdisciplinary feminist project ‘KASSIA’, and the ‘Look Around’ site specific project curated collectively for the exhibition of countries and regions as part of the international scenographic exhibition Quadriennale Prague 2023. She was a cofounder of the Curatorial Workgroup collective. She is an editor of ‘Dialog’ magazine and she publishes regularly in ‘Didaskalia’, ‘Dwutygodnik’ and teatralny.pl. She is an artistic companion of choreographer Agata Siniarska.
Instagram: @zuzanna_berentd
Facebook: @zuza.berendt

Francesc Nel·lo Deakin (DE/ES/AU) is a dancer and writer currently working as a freelancer in Germany. He studied at the Koninklijke Balletschool van Antwerpen and at the Hamburg Ballet school, after which he joined the young dance company ITDansa in Barcelona. He then became a member of the Hessisches Staatsballett in Wiesbaden and danced there for four years, performing works by choreographers like Sharon Eyal, Imre & Marne van Opstal and Xie Xin. Having now entered the world of freelance work, he is looking to expand into other fields of art such as dance and film criticism, as well as writing fiction. He received a small prize in 2023 for a short story written in Catalan in the ‘XXVII Certamen Literari Alba Sant Jordi’.
Instagram: @francescnello
X: @Alumnedecinema

Fatemeh Esmaeilghorbaninejad (FR/IR) Born in Iran, I discovered my artistic home in Paris, completing my dance studies at Acts Ecole de Danse Contemporaine. From captivating residencies to transformative internships, my journey is a tapestry of creativity. Grounded in dramatic literature from Art University in Iran, I not only contributed to theatre magazines but also wrote compelling theatre pieces. Leading workshops at the University of Shiraz, I seamlessly blended my love for dance and the written word. Now, as I emerge in the dance world, I passionately research and choreograph my unique dance pieces. With a fusion of cultural influences and artistic disciplines, I’m set to redefine the boundaries of contemporary dance, promising an exhilarating and diverse contribution to the global artistic landscape.
Instagram: @fatii_.gh

Hannah Finnimore (UK) works in dance marketing and is based in Yorkshire, UK. She has studied a wide variety of dance styles since 2006, and holds a first class Dance BA from the University of Surrey. Her dissertation, examining choreography in horror, received the Pauline Hodgsen Memorial Award for the Best Piece of Dance Analysis. She has undertaken a placement year with Hofesh Shechter Company, and acted as a One Dance UK Ambassador. She participated in Siobhan Davies Dance’s Next Choreography Programme and East London Dance’s Fi.ELD Producer’s programme. Since 2021, she has worked extensively in arts marketing in Northern England. Hannah currently works with Yorkshire Dance, where she has supported the promotion of numerous festivals and community co-productions. She continues to pursue her interests in dance in cinema, and the role of the arts in place-making and identity-making.
Facebook: @hannah_finnimore
X: @HannahFin

Robin Lamothe (FR) graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse with a degree in Performing Arts in 2015 before throwing himself fully into creation. He created Collective/less in 2018, whose first piece Mémoire d’un Oubli will be released in January 2019. As a performer, he works with several companies. In 2020, following his confinement, he resumed his studies with a master’s degree in project management and international cultural establishments at Lyon 2 University, working at the Alliance Française de Gaborone, the théâtre les Bambous in Réunion and the Centre Chorégraphique National de Rennes et de Bretagne. Since 2022, he has been combining the resumption of his artistic projects, the start of a dance criticism project aimed at young artists, the search for projects as a choreographic performer, and support for the production, development and dissemination of circus companies. September 2024 will see the release of the Kulture.S podcast, which will have fun popularizing the vocabulary of the choreographic field, and in September 2025 with a creation for young audiences in cooperation with Botswana: L0 (l’ailleurs est l’avant).

Luke Macaronas (GR/RS/AU) is an experimental performance maker, writer and producer from Naarm (Melbourne) of Greek and Serbian descent. Drawing on his training in Balkan folk dance, transcultural theatre, cabaret, ballet and butoh, as well as queer subculture and Christian ritual, his work seeks to revive theatre as an ecstatic intervention on the mundane. Luke is a member of the internationally acclaimed Japanese physical theatre company Gekidan Kaitaisha (Theatre of Deconstruction), and has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Art History and Theatre Studies from The University of Melbourne. He completed his Honours thesis with the Naarm-based theatre company Rawcus, researching the aesthetics of sensation and affect in disability theatre. He lives between Athens, Tokyo and Naarm.

Simina Popescu (RO) (they/she) is an author, illustrator and journalist from (and momentarily based in) Bucharest, Romania, with a degree in Graphic Communication Design from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Simina’s debut graphic novel, Leap, a queer coming of age story set in a Romanian ballet school, is out this fall under Macmillan US. The research for this book took them into a deep exploration of the local classical and contemporary communities, as well as incited a great love for dancing herself. Whenever they’re not drawing or writing, Simina can be found sneaking in to watch rehearsals at the Bucharest National Opera or moving her creaky knees on marley floors around the world, from Batsheva’s Suzanne Dellal centre to Alvin Ailey’s in New York.
Instagram: @siminaapopescu
Facebook: @simina.popescu.3

Marina Srnka (BE/RS) is a poet, dance writer and photographer currently based in Belgium. After graduating from Cle – Cultures Littèraires Europèennes with a double master’s degree from the universities of Bologna and Strasbourg, she is now doing a master’s degree in Cultural Studies at KU Leuven. Her main interests lie in the intersections between the arts, cultural history, and health humanities, and over the years she has developed a profound interest in dance and performance studies. She writes dance reviews for various magazines, most notably Dance Context Webzine (CZ) and Pzazz (BE).
Instagram: @m_srnka
Facebook: marina.srnka.9

Ingeborg Zackariassen (NO/SE) is an artist, performer, choreographer and writer based in Gothenburg, Sweden. She has 24 years of professional experience as a dancer with companies such as GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, Skånes Dansteater and Norwegian National Ballet. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Contemporary Performative Arts at Gothenburg University, where she applies her own artistic dialogical method to investigate interactions between text, movement and photography. Ingeborg has completed courses in philosophy, writing, dramaturgy and photography at GU, SKH, Högskolan i Dalarna, Kulturakademin and Valand Art Academy, and currently works as a communicator of dance for the independent stage 3:e Våningen. Since 2023, she has written a series of interviews with choreographers which has been published by OmDans and Scenkonstguiden. Ingeborg is co-founder and artistic director of No Deadline art initiative, and curates the annual interdisciplinary art festival RABBIT/DUCK.
Instagram: @ingeborg_zackariassen
Facebook: ingeborgzackariassen
Web: no-deadline.com

Hong Kong guests

William Chan (HK) is a performing arts critic and researcher based in Hong Kong. After getting his B.A.(Hon.) degree in Language & Communication from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a MFA degree in Media Design & Technology from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, William worked in the field of education, media production and publication for a decade. He then went back to campus in Europe and completed a double MA degree in International Performance Research awarded by the University of Warwick (UK) and the University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia) in 2015. He was the Editor of dance journal/hk published by Hong Kong Dance Alliance between October 2019 and December 2021. He is currently working as a full-time lecturer at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Kwun Tong), leading a Higher Diploma programme in Artiste and Cultural Management.
Instagram: @william.wychan
Facebook: @williamwyc

Joanna Lee (HK) Born and based in Hong Kong, Lee’s undergraduate was English literature and her postgraduate focus areas were Global Business and Arts Administration. She worked in the fields of publishing and advertising before moving into the cultural field. She is currently a lecturer, art editor, critic, and stage producer. She is also a Hong Kong Arts Development Council assessor (dance, visual arts) and advisor (art critic group, 2016-2022). She co-authored Unspoken Dance, a research on Hong Kong’s dance between 1950 and 1970. Her essays and reviews have been published in printed and online publications in HK, Macau, Taiwan and Germany.
Instagram: @joanna.lee.hy
Facebook: @joanna.lee.35912672

Montreal guest

Laurane Van Branteghem (CA) is a Montreal-based curator, researcher and writer. Pursuing a PhD on live art curating, curatorial ethics and institutional criticism, allowing her to keep part of her mind in theory and writing, while working as a curator at Tangente, a presenter who supports emerging contemporary dance artists. She likes to think about the dance community as an ecological system that grows and transforms in response to its environment. Laurane is also on the editorial board of Moveo, North America’s first French-language contemporary dance magazine, which publishes its first issue in February 2024. She used to write reviews for different journals such as JEU, revue de théâtre or Artichaut magazine.