Special Projects


Performing Gender – Dancing In Your Shoes is a 3-year audience development project in the field of dance and performing arts carried out in the 2020-2023 period. It aims to produce a positive change in the local communities of the countries where it operates through a horizontal exchange of dance practices and co-design of actions, among dance professionals and non-professionals, on gender equality and the empowerment of LGBTQI identities.

The communities are at the centre of a co-design process of creative laboratories and newly commissioned 8 dance productions and workshops, together with 16 dance makers, 9 artistic directors, 8 audience developers, 11 project managers, 3 academic researchers and 1 artistic advisor.


There will be 3 significant moments of sharing and dissemination of practices:

  • A first international Opening Lab led by the Cassero LGBTI+ Center on March 2021 with several activities open to a wide audience.
  • An international Closing Lab during the Festival Boulevard in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on August 2023 with feedbacks and sharing on what has been created during the three years.
  • A presentation at the European Parliament, led by Cassero LGBTI+ Center, the British Council and the European Agency EACEA.

The results of the process will be published in a handbook that collects analysis of methodologies, together with the academic evaluation of the project’s impact on the artists and audiences involved, curated by researchers of Bologna University.

Performing Gender – Dancing In Your Shoes is a project led by Gender Bender and Cassero LGBTI+ Center in partnership with: Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna (Italy); Theather Festival Boulevard di ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands); DansBrabant di Tilburg (Netherlands); City of Women di Lubiana (Slovenia); Paso a 2 di Madrid (Spain); Yorkshire Dance di Leeds (UK); The British Council di Londra (UK); Klap Maison de la Danse di Marsiglia (France); Norrlandsoperan di Umeå (Sweden); Sín Cultural Center di Budapest (Hungary).



Teatro Arcobaleno (Rainbow Theatre) is a special project dedicated to children and adolescents that use the languages of theater and dance for an education to gender differences.

Teatro Arcobaleno in 2018 won the Eolo Award, as Best Project of the year in the field of Theater for children and teenagers. The project is realized and promoted in partnership by Gender Bender – Il Cassero, La Baracca – Teatro Testoni Ragazzi, ATER – Associazione Teatrale Emilia Romagna, Teatro Comunale Laura Betti di Casalecchio di Reno, Comune di Casalecchio di Reno, ERT – Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, ITC Teatri di San Lazzaro, Compagnia del Teatro dell’Argine, CSGE – Centro Studi sul Genere e l’Educazione del Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione Giovanni Maria Bertin dell’Università di Bologna, LInFA (Luogo per l’Infanzia, le Famiglie, l’Adolescenza), Istituzione Casalecchio delle Culture, Commissione Pari Opportunità Mosaico – ASC InSieme. It is supported by Regione Emilia-Romagna and Comune di Bologna with the patronage of Città Metropolitana di Bologna and by Unicef – Comitato Regionale Emilia-Romagna.



Swans Never Die is a project that invites 10 young choreographers to perform in a contemporary way the classical repertoire of The Dying Swan,  a solo that is considered a milestone in twentieth-century dance history and originally choreographed by Michel Fokine for Anna Pavlova in 1905. It is a project shared and promoted by a net-work in a joint program between 2021 and 2022 made up of shows, workshops, meetings, webinars and artist residencies (live and online) and invites the audience to discover the multiple possibilities of tracing a timeless choreographic work through its contemporary re-interpretations. Following the journey between the history and memory of dance, the audience will be able to discover a choreographic work of the past and the numerous transformations that the dance went through since 1905 when it was first choreographed.


DNAppunti coreografici

DNAppunti coreografici is a support project for young Italian choreographers. It involves several research and creation phases: gathering of proposals, analysis of the studies, creative residences, contribution to production. The aim of the project is to identify a young Italian choreographer who has an idea to develop and who can start a research journey with heterogeneous supports: itinerant creative residences, economic resources and visibility.

DNAppunti coreografici is promoted and supported in collaboration with the Gender Bender Festival, the Centro Nazionale di produzione Firenze – Compagnia Virgilio Sieni (National Production Center of Florence – Virgilio Sieni company), Operaestate Festival / CSC (Center for the contemporary scene) of the Municipality of Bassano del Grappa, L’arboreto – Teatro Dimora di Mondaino, Romaeuropa Foundation and Triennale Milano Teatro. 




Performing Gender -Dance makes differences is a European training project in the field of dance carried out in the 2017-2019 two-year period: its goal was to help a new generation of European artists and professionals to develop new forms of narration, dedicated to LGBTQI identities, through dance and by reflecting on the body. The training program featured 6 festivals, 5 dance makers, 5 dance dramatists and 50 young dancers, in an exchange of knowledge, tools and skills.

In each of the partner countries there was a workshop, leaded by the dance makers, aimed at young dancers during the festivals of the entities that participated in the project. The process ended in Bologna in November 2018 with an event which was open to the public.

The project involved a total of 6 partners in 5 European countries. The leader is Gender Bender, in partnership with: the Municipality of Bassano del Grappa and its Center for the Contemporary Scene, the City of Women festival in Ljubljana (Slovenia), the Boulevard Festival of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), the Paso a 2 – Certamen Coreográfico of Madrid (Spain), and the Yorkshire Dance Center of Leeds (United Kingdom).

Dance-makers involved:  Roberta Racis (Italy), Nataša Živković (Slovenia), Jija Sohn (Netherlands), Koldo Arostegui (Spain) e Sophie Unwin (UK). Dramaturg: Greta Pieropan (Italy), Tea Hvala (Slovenia), Nina Aalders (Netherlands), Sergio Martínez-Vila (Spain), Tanya Steinhauser (UK).


Performing Gender is the first stop of a European dance project carried out in the 2013-2015 two-year period.

The project involved 17 artists including choreographers, performers and visual artists from 4 European countries (Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Croatia), and involved the cities of Bologna, Maastricht, Madrid and Zagreb. The artists shared an intense period of research, training and creation based on the representation of sexual orientations and gender roles in contemporary dance.

The goal was to create choreographic works that would depict new forms of contemporary identity to a large European audience, in order to overcome prejudices and start an open dialogue about differences. At the center of the whole process there is the body of the artist, seen as the appropriate cultural resource that can represent these issues. At the end of this journey, the artists produced performances, which were exhibited in some European modern and contemporary art museums, which are partners of the project.

Performing Gender is a project by the Gender Bender Festival and Cassero LGBTI Center in partnership with the Dutch Dance Festival, Paso a 2 -Certamen coreográfico (choreographic contest) of Madrid and Queer Season – Domino.


Juanjo Arques (Netherlands); Riccardo Buscarini (Italy); Jordi Cortés (Spain); Vlasta Delimar (Croatia); Pablo Esbert (Spain); Silvia Gribaudi (Italy); Cristina Henríquez (Spain); Bruno Isakovic (Croatia); Nina Kurtela (Croatia); Siniša Labrović (Croatia); Poliana Lima (Spain); Jan Martens (Netherlands); Cecilia Moisio (Netherlands); Giorgia Nardin (Italy); Oscar Santillan (Netherlands); Connor Schumacher (Netherlands); Alessandro Sciarroni (Italy)


Corpi Elettrici

Corpi Elettrici is the new special project by Gender Bender for the year 2020, and it was created together with Bologna’s G.B. Martini Conservatory. This is an educational and creative process that offers a possibility of collaboration between the students of the Conservatory and the members of the M_I_N_E group, and it will lead to the creation of a series of videos in which the dialogue between the languages of dance and music will be essential.

Corpi Elettrici was born in this period of social distancing, due to the health emergency linked to Covid19, which resulted in work difficulties for those who work in the world of live entertainment and culture. For this reason, it was a challenge to imagine and create new ways of teaching and learning, and to collaborate from a distance; in order to build creativity networks and acknowledge the value of the artistic work of young professionals.

The M_I_N_E group participates in the project bringing the experience of young dance-makers who have decided to work together looking for shared poetics, while enhancing individual personalities. The members of the M_I_N_E group are Francesco Saverio Cavaliere, Siro Guglielmi, Fabio Novembrini, Roberta Racis and Silvia Sisto.

As for the conservatory, the event will count with the participation of 22 students from the courses of Applied Music and Electroacoustic Music, coordinated by their professor Daniela Cattivelli, musician, composer and performer.

Corpi Elettrici is part of Così Sarà! La città che vogliamo, sponsored by the Municipality of Bologna, created by the Emilia Romagna Teatro Foundation, funded by the European Union – European Social Fund, as part of the Programma Operativo Nazionale Città Metropolitane (National operational programme “Metropolitan cities”) 2014-2020.



Così sarà! La città che vogliamo (So it will be! The city that we want) is a project that involves participatory theatre, audience development, civic education and promotion of the territory. The event is aimed at an audience of young citizens between the ages of 11 and 25, who will be involved in a series of performance and creative processes, with the aim of founding a new “ideal city”,  from November 2019 to May 2021. Promoted by the Municipality of Bologna, it was created by Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione (Emilia-Romagna Theater foundation) and financed by the European Union – European Social Fund, as part of the National Operational Program “Città Metropolitane 2014-2020” (Metropolitan Cities 2014-2020).

The activities will take place on the territory of Bologna and will be carried out by a network of cultural entities, that will be coordinated by Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione. It will benefit from the participation of Altre Velocità, Cassero LGBTI Center, Kepler-452, La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi and Teatro dell’Argine.

As part of the project, Gender Bender intends to offer approximately 60 teenagers in Bologna a dance workshop, which will be leaded by the Collettivo M_I_N_E group. The weekly workshop sessions will last nearly 2 months and its final result will be a collective urban dance performance, which will be carried out in the city streets during the 2020 Pride Parade. The starting idea is to invite boys and girls to share their weaknesses in a public place as if they were beauty generators, following a new idea of active citizenship that brings mutual benefit between the individuals and the community to which they belong.






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