Art Alive presents

Sarajevo Contemporary Dance Intensive 2023

Sarajevo National Theatre 



Announcement for 2023

After welcoming participants from nine different countries to the "Sarajevo Contemporary Dance Intensive 2022" last year, we are thrilled to announce the second edition, taking place from September 25th to September 29th 2023. It will happen during the Balet Fest Sarajevo. You are all invited to join the professional workshop "Flying Into Gravity Skills" by Cruz Isael Mata at the National Theatre Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The workshop warmly welcomes performance artists, dancers, actors, circus artists, and anyone with a passion and interest in movement. Local and international movers, don't miss this unique opportunity to work with Cruz Isael Mata in the stunning city of Sarajevo at the magnificent ballet studio of the National Theatre.


Date: 25th - 29th of September

Time: Mo, Thu, Wed: 17:30-19:30 & Thu, Fri: 16:30-19:30

Special event: tba

Performances: evening program by BFS - tba mid August

Location: National Theater Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Age: from 16+



Places are limited. Please register with your full name, surname, birthdate, and your primary residence via email to


Participation fee:

- Participation fee for residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina is 70 KM.

- Participation fee for international participants is 85 Euro.

- Participation is open to all interested in movement.

Limited spots are available. Secure your spot by registering as soon as possible. Attention: If you are registered but, for any reason, unable to participate, please inform us at least seven days before the workshop´s beginning, as someone else might be waiting for your spot.


Workshop Description:

“Flying Into Gravity Skills” focuses on developing and maintaining the body´s fluent and weightless movement patterns. Different exercises are exploring the relationship with the floor as well as towards other people, space, gravity, and towards one's own mindset while experiencing oneself in the present moment. The body is being given the opportunity to activate the relationship between the center and the periphere with the aim of moving more efficient and using the ground as well as the gravity as support. Cruz explorers the principals of recreating movements of daily life and exploring the influences of voice onto the body´s movement. Figuring out what the body has to say in the moments when it doesn’t move and doesn’t produced sound is one of the main approaches, which is being achieved through dynamic dance sequences, partnering work and diverse techniques including Flying Low and Release Technique. Answers are appearing, when we calm down the mind but open the space for the body to talk.


"Sarajevo Contemporary Dance Intensive" takes place during the "Balet Fest Sarajevo - BFS". Details about the evening performances program by BFS will be announced in mid-August at its website:



If you want to be informed about Contemporary Dance in Bosnia and Herzegowina, events of Art Alive, workshops and performances, please send a mail to: with "subscribe to newsletter".


For more information about Cruz Isael Mata, please scroll down the page to find his biography.


Summary of the events:

> 25.-29.9. Guest choreographer from Belgium Cruz Isael Mata will be teaching "Flying Into Gravity Skills" at the Sarajevo National Theatre

> The workshop will take place during the Balet Fest Sarajevo led by choreographer Edina Papo. In the evening you can visit performances at the theatre organized by the festival. Schedule to be announced soon. 

> This year Art Alive plans to host a Creative Lab - a motivational & inspirational exchange with guest artists (more information: tba soon). 

> Seminar for self-development with guest Dorothee Janssens de Bisthoven from Germany.


 Impressions 2022

9 countries - intensive workshop - performances - panel discussion


Supported by: 

Austrian Embassy, Belgium Embassy, Goethe Institut, GRAWE Sarajevo


Participant´s feedback:

"Thank you for making our lives more beautiful and for enriching our cultural scene in Sarajevo. I can't wait for the next edition!“ 

Elvira Korman, Sep22, Sarajevo, BiH


Impression 2022

Press publication

Dnevni Avaz, printed edition

Cruz Isael Mata was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He started his dance training at the Instituto Superior De Danza Caracas, Venezuela in 1992 where he studied with Simone Forti, Jeremy Nelson, Julyen Hamilton, Jennifer Monson, Sasha Waltz, Dominique Mercier and other outstanding artists. He continued his study at the Central University of Venezuela, where he followed classes in theatre sciences, fine arts and philosophy. He toured in Latin America as a soloist and company member. In 2000 he came to Belgium, where he became a member of the X-Group in P.A.R.T.S., directed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. Besides his dance education, he also studied circus techniques at the Ecole Nationale du Cirque - Academie Fratellini, physical therapy, and psychology in Paris. He danced with several dance companies: Espacio Alterno - Venezuela, Tim Feldman - Denmark, Michél Noiret Company - Belgium. He collaborated with artists such as David Zambrano, Roberto Olivan, Nadine Ganase, Virginie Thirion, Josse de Pauw, Maria Clara Villalobos, Mey-Ling Bisogno, and others. Cruz created the productions „Puzzle“ and „Casa“, which premiered in Paris in 2005. Since 2010 he has been teaching the company traing and the auditions of Ultima Vez – Wim Vandekeybus. He has been collaborating with and teaching professional training for outstanding contemporary dance companies, academies, and at international dance festivals. Among others: Company Thor, Need Company, Cie Philipe Saire, Lausanne-Switzerland, Royal Dance Conservatorium Antwerpen, Escuela superior de artes du cirque Lesac, University for Music & Dance Köln – Centre for Contemporary Dance, Tanzlabor 21 Germany-Frankfurt, La Raffinerie/Charleroi Dance, Feria Música Circus Company, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Compania Nacional de Danza Contemporanea de Venezuela, Summer Intensive, Performact Portugal, La Factoria, Altrefrontiere Roma, Tic Tac Art Centre, etc. In 2019 Cruz was the choreographic assistant in the Award winning circus production “La Vrille du Chat” created by the Belgium acrobatic company “Back Pocket”. During his collaboration with Art Alive, he co-directed and performed “AMBIENTI & SPACE” at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and won seven awards for being the co director of the short film “couch me!”. Cruz Isael has been teaching Flying Low, Acrobatic Dance, Release Technique and Contact Improvisation in Latin America, Europe, and Asia for more than 22 years.

Aldina Topčagić is a performance artist - contemporary dance, producer and founder of the cultural association Art Alive. She was born in Bosanski Novi, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 2007 she lives in Austria and works throughout Europe.

Aldina cooperated with numerous institutions, among others created for and performed in the following art houses: "Guggenheim Museum Bilbao" (2019), Spain; "Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium" (2017, 2018, 2019), "BOZAR" (2018), and "Balthasar Brussels" (2021) Belgium, "Artlemo Galerie Berlin" (2016) Germany, "Musiikkitalo - Helsinki Music Center" (2016) Finland, "Fabrica de Arte Cubano" (2017) Havana, Cuba; "Novi Hram" gallery (2018) Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; "Bajor Gizi Musem" (2018) Budapest, Hungary; "Universalmuseum Joanneum Joanneumsviertel", "Kunsthaus Graz" (2016) and "Papierfabrik" (2018) as well as for "Zimmerman-Kratochwill Galerie" (2019) Austria.

She participated in the productions of the Opera House in Graz in the seasons 2011/2012, 2016/2017 and 2018/2019. As part of her contemporary dance training, she learned from and worked with renowned choreographers such as David Zambrano – founder of Flying Low and Passing Through techniques; Jennifer Monson, Kirstie Simson, Yoshiko Chuma, Liz King, Valentina Moar, Allen Yu, and others. In her trans- and multidisciplinary projects, she combines contemporary dance, music, sound installation, film, photography, psychology, architecture, literature and education. They are realized in the form of installations, interventions and performance. Her work deals with topics such as self-reflection, consciousness, identity, the origin of the individual, the place of the individual in society and his interpersonal relationships. In May 2017, she was declared "Artist of the Month" by the Austrian Cultural Forum / Austrian Embassy in Brussels. In December 2021, she received the Austrian citizenship for extraordinary achievements in art and culture. In 2020/2021, Aldina co-directed two short dance films: "couch me!" - in which she was the main role, and "What-a-Mel-on" - in which she was the director and choreographer. With numerous nominations on international film festivals, she won eight awards for "Best Experimental Film" and "Best Director" in the USA, South America, Europe and Asia. In 2022 she co-created the short documentaray „Live and Let Live – Focus on BiH“, which won the Silver Award for best Short Documentary at New York Movie Awards 


Short example of Cruz Isael Mata´s workshop "Flying Into Gravity Skills", 51 sec:


Experiences of participants "Sarajevo Contemporary Dance Intensive 2022"

September 2022, National Theatre Sarajevo


„The workshop Cruz Isael Mata and Aldina Topcagic brought to us was wonderful! It was extremely well-structured, safe and had a great build-up. I particularly enjoyed the lightness; joy and the wealth of knowledge Cruz brings to every class. With her calm and dedicated presence, Aldina is a wonderful facilitator. I was particularly enchanted by her use of metaphor when explaining physical concepts. It brought me to a deeper internalization and embodiment, which I am deeply grateful for. Having done this workshop, I'm now much more aware of the subtleties of bodywork and can use this to enrich my expression when performing. Thank you massively for a wonderful time with a wonderful collection of dancers and movers. Thank you for making our lives and our cultural scene more beautiful. I can't wait for the next one! Much love.“ Elvira K.


„My workshop experience was wonderful and inspiring. It was great to learn and dance with people from Bosnia and Europe. It surpassed all my expectations. I learned so much and already have ideas for performances. We need more opportunities like this. I'm very thankful for all the opportunities you gave us and will give us. Thank you very much. “

Sara Dj.


„Hi Aldina, Thank you again it was a wonderful experience, … I would like to come back at least once and if I find the way even more because I was really fascinated by Sarajevo, by the art/dance scene and by your dream to bring dance in this city! Thank you again and I hope to see you soon!“ Beatrice Leonardi


„Dear Aldina, I would love to continue to work with Cruz Isael. He has so much amazing knowledge to share... Thank you so much for the beautiful energy you have and professionalism. It was such an inspiring and wonderful time we all had together.“ Amila Terzimehić


„Dear Aldina, Thank you and Isael once again for the beautiful experience you provided us with. It has been very much needed and transformative. Via this email I would like to express my interest in suggested one-week workshops with Thomas. Sending you lots of hugs,“ Sabiha K.


“Every day I think about the workshop, the great internal and external challenges that Cruz unconsciously made me aware of. ... I enjoyed it and you inspired me and not only in the dance sense, but you encouraged me to revitalize from the inside! New horizons, reflections, interpretations, understandings, perspectives, conclusions, plans, ways of working, and artistic and life reflection. I am very grateful to both! It is important that we really learned and experienced a lot of new things with you and Cruz, which already has a reflection on the pedagogical work of us. I look forward to every contemporary dance workshop." Samra M.