IFMC'2001 took place since November 28 through December
2. Some of initially announced guest-performers couldn't
join the festival for different reasons. Despite all the
problems the festival was accomplished successfully and
the names of new IFMC International Competition prizewinners
were made public during the Awarding Ceremony on Dec2.
All of them took part in the Gala-performance.
Among the most significant festival events were two
evening performances by Dancing People Company (USA)
and Perm State theatre "Evgeny Panfilov's Ballet"
(Russia). A light lyrical duet "Leaving"
and an ironic "The
"in" crowd", choreographed by Robin
Stiehm, a DPC artistic director made very good impression
both on the audience and on dance critics. Also Dancing
People taught a series of master-classes for the participants
of the International Competition. The IFMC Directorate
as well as DPC dancers expressed their complete satisfaction
with one another; thus first American participation
in Vitebsk festival can be estimated as a success and
hopefully to be continued.
Participation of Dancing People Company has been made
possible in part through support from The Fund for U.S.
Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions,
a public-private partnership of the National Endowment
for the Arts, the U.S. Department of State, The Pew
Charitable Trusts, and The Rockefeller Foundation, with
additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
and administered by Arts International.
As for Panfilov's Ballet, this theatre is tied with
IFMC by long-standing warm friendship. Vitebsk audience
really adores Evgeny Panfilov and all performances of
the troupe are always fully sold out. This year IFMC
As it often happened before, different people equally
delighted with this energetic, stylish work had absolutely
controversial interpretation of author's idea. Performed
by "Ballet of the fat" spectacle "Women.
The year 1945" the audience met with "standing
applause" and even with tears. All dancers were
really fat, but namely in such order: first they were
dancers and then fat women. It was not at all a trick.
Dedicated to bitter fate of Russian women whose husbands
and beloved had died somewhere in war, the ballet was
touching, even a bit naive, and professionally balanced
at the same time.
Naturally, organizers of the International Competition
wholeheartedly wished good luck to Belarusian companies.
Unfortunately, neither of them was accepted by Jury
to the Final Round. It was not that they were so weak,
just the foreigners proved to be much stronger. However,
many encouraging words were said about their creative
and professional growth during the research seminars.
"Fine 5 dance theatre" from Estonia is very
well known to Vitebsk festival. Rene Nommic and Tiina
Ollesk are Laureates of several previous competitions.
They presented a new work named "Sandwater".
Involving video-projection, their profound and sophisticated
choreography made spectators think hard while watching
a wonderful story about love, life and death, which
was danced simultaneously on the stage and on the narrow
border between ground and sea waves.
Judging by Competition'2001, video becomes more and
more popular among contemporary dance companies. Lithuanian
"Aura Dance Company" used an abstract video-background
during their "Extremum
mobile", intelligent and graceful as most choreographies
by Birute Letucaite.
the damage done" - debut of Austrian choreographer
Helene Weinzierl in Vitebsk Competition. Excellent solo
about eternal struggle of a man with himself for himself,
perfectly performed by Robert Tirpa'k.
One-act ballet "www-faces-ru"
by Cheliabinsk-based choreographer Olga Pona was distinctly
Russian, about Russia and most likely understandable
for people of Russian culture. Nevertheless, the Jury
members from USA, France, Poland, and China noticed
this talented work and Cheliabinsk contemporary dance
Theatre was among the winners of the Competition.
Lublin Dance Theatre headed by Hanna Strzemiecka won
an IFMC Special Prize. Their "Optical
tract" - extremely dynamic, expressive and
masterly performed miniature, one of the works most
favored by journalists and experienced theater-goers.
One of the Competition's Regulations says: to be awarded
with Grand Prix the work should be created within latest
two years. Many in IFMC'2001 shared an opinion that
only this prevented "The rogue tool" by Paul
Norton from becoming the first among Competition winners.
Anyway, Chamber Ballet Moscow is an excellent theatre
and this work was a real delight. Another miniature
presented by the same company "Na
vet.ru", choreographed by Angelica Shevchenko,
got a Special Prize, established by critics.
Chinese contemporary dance is relatively young but
within latest years many prestigious awards throughout
the world have been won by representatives of Chinese
school. What made a miniature "Go
to bank with dream" a Grand Prix Awardee of
IFMC'2001 International Competition, outstanding choreography
by Zhang Ji Gang or performing mastery of a dancer Chu
Hi remains a matter of disputes. Anyway, their "dream"
came true and the IFMC Grand Prix left for China again.
Thanks to support of Swedish Institute, two lectures
on Swedish contemporary dance were held during the Festival.
One of them was presented by a dance theorist Bodil
Persson, another - by Elisabet Karlsson and Anna-Karina
Larsson, two choreographers and dancers who call themselves
Dumplings". Their performance took place in
foyer of Culture & Business Center. Numerous spectators
were standing around and watching them groping their
way with meter-long fingernails. It's unknown what people
thought of but most faces were surprised and thoughtful.
During the IFMC'2001 many other events such as a photo-exhibition
by Vladimir Lupovskoy, video shows, discussions and
news conferences were held. The IFMC Directorate expresses
gratitude to all participants and of course to the Festival