A responsible commitment
Our planet is facing an unprecedented environmental crisis affecting all living things. This global problem is reflected in climate change and global warming, as well as in the damage to the biosphere, the depletion of natural resources, the degradation of ecosystems due to artificialization and the dumping of pollutants, and the disappearance of species. Today, the scientific community is in no doubt that this crisis is due to our lifestyles, production and consumption patterns.
The biodiversity and natural heritage of the Basque coast, once rich in species and ecosystems, are also being profoundly impacted. The disappearance of economically valuable marine species due to over-exploitation was the first warning signal, and a glance at the accumulations of waste along the coastline shows that the situation is only getting worse.
Every day, we are alerted by a continuous and growing flow of news about the degradation of our environment. The vast majority of these messages appeal to our rationality, and perhaps we end up getting used to them without reacting.
It’s against this backdrop that the Art and the Environment programme is taking up the challenge of using a work of art to appeal directly to our emotions and try to provoke a reaction.
The chosen artistic discipline is dance, because it is a universal art that thwarts cultural and linguistic barriers. It’s also a primal art: anyone, whatever their age or physical condition, can dance. It is a formidable vehicle for “living together” and enables a group to understand in a simple and intuitive way, with just a few movements, the interdependent relationships that link us all.
Cristina Enea Foundation – San Sebastián
Set up in 2009 by the Donostia/San Sebastián City Council and the Guipúzcoa Provincial Council, this organisation implements the city and province’s environmental policy through awareness-raising initiatives aimed at all sections of the public, especially schoolchildren.
Pamplona Environmental Education Team
Inaugurated in 2016, the Environmental Education Team’s mission is to research and develop natural resources and to contribute, through environmental education, to the construction of a new model of society based on the principles of sustainable development. It has a wide range of educational resources at its disposal.
CCN Malandain Ballet Biarritz
Based in the Basque Country since it was founded in 1998, Malandain Ballet Biarritz is one of the 19 National Choreographic Centres (CCN) in France. The works of its director-choreographer, Thierry Malandain, are based on neo-classical aesthetics and are performed all over the world. The Ballet raises public awareness of dance through a variety of means. It also aims to serve its local community by taking up an environmental issue.
Sirens Project (2018-2019)
Since 2018, drawing on their respective expertise, the partners have united around this experimental, pioneering and innovative programme to raise awareness among schoolchildren of the need to understand and protect the ocean by interweaving the sharing of scientific and artistic knowledge and connecting the rational and the emotional. The project stands out for its unique partnership between environmental, educational and artistic players.
The 1st milestone was set with Martin Harriague’s ballet Sirènes, created for the Malandain Ballet Biarritz. This work, combined with an innovative teaching method, is a major tool in the project, tackling head-on the pollution of the oceans by our plastic waste.
The educational programme developed around Sirènes targets pupils aged between 12 and 15 because, on the one hand, it complements the teaching they have received in class and, on the other, it is essential for us to make this age group aware of the need to protect our natural environment and turn them into ambassadors for the cause.
During the 2018-2019 school year, a pilot phase was implemented with 15 groups spread evenly over the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Guipuscoa and Navarre regions.
For the 2019-2020 school year, on the strength of a positive reception from pupils and teachers and initial feedback, the programme has been enriched and improved to be offered to 45 new groups of pupils. In 2020, as a result of COVID-19, a new version of the programme will be launched.
– To raise awareness among pupils aged 12 to 15 of the impact of human activity on the environment and the future of ecosystems, and to encourage them to take action.
– To become a research platform for artistic and choreographic expression, offering schools innovative tools that encourage a different, sensitive vision of the environment and ecology.
– Disseminate a message to a wide audience inviting them to take action.
The aim of the project is to encourage a change in pupils’ habits by encouraging them to become citizens who are aware of the fragility of the natural balance and the need to return to a greener economy that respects resources. We hope that the participants and their families will adopt one or more responsible actions in their daily lives.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the major change will be to incorporate a new creation by Martin Harriague, Fossil, to raise pupils’ awareness of another environmental issue: the impact on the environment of the over-exploitation of natural resources.
The programme will be offered to 45 groups of pupils and will comprise compulsory and optional activities. To develop the programme, the partners will follow the same methodology as in previous years.
Initially, they will watch Fossil together in the presence of the choreographer in order to reflect on the themes and messages and define the main theme of the programme.
In the 2nd stage, each partner will make a proposal for the content of the various compulsory teaching units in the programme:
– The CFF will write the script for the contextualisation workshop, which consists of a participatory activity taking place within the school. An environmental educator and a professional dancer will raise students’ awareness of the impact of (current) human action on the world we inhabit.
– The MBB will offer a choreography workshop to introduce pupils to choreographic movement using the artistic vocabulary used in the work. It will organise the school performances, during which they will be able to talk to the choreographers and dancers about the environmental message of the piece and the daily life of a professional dancer.
Strategic partnership with the New Aquitaine-Euskadi Navarre Euroregion
The strategic partnership agreement signed on 19 October in Hendaye covers a period of 3 years (1 year renewable twice depending on the project’s results and future prospects). This collaboration is an extension of the Sirènes-Itsas laminak Sirenas project launched 2 years ago. This project combines ballet, environmental awareness and education, by introducing new themes and methodologies to strengthen the concept and facilitate its dissemination among school communities.
Thanks to an annual grant of €62,037.50 from the New Aquitaine Euskadi Navarre Euroregion, the Planeta Dantzan initiative will be based on other choreographic works created by Malandain Ballet Biarritz, around which a participative and innovative educational school programme will be created, developed by the Cristina Enea Foundation and the City of Pamplona’s Environmental Education Team. The aim is to promote the values of respect for the environment and the preservation of ecosystems among the school community through participatory workshops, exhibitions, the presentation of school shows and cross-border cultural exchanges.
The agreement formalising the terms of the strategic partnership was signed by Arola Urdangarin, Director of the New Aquitaine Euskadi Navarre Euroregion, and Yves Kordian, Deputy Director of Malandain Ballet Biarritz. Also present were Jose Mª Hernandez, Iosu Alfaro, Georges Tran Du Phuoc and Carine Aguirregomezcorta, representing the Cristina Enea Foundation, the City of Pamplona’s environmental education team and Malandain Ballet Biarritz respectively.