The XXIst International festival of modern choreography in Vitebsk took place in November 26-30, 2008. We suggest the reader to look through the continuity variant of IFMC’2008 report without claiming to be a professional one.
This festival’s motto was “The XXIst festival in the XXIst century”. It was dedicated not to the economical crises which has spread all over the planet, but to the person responsible for it – to a modern man. What is the difference between us and the people from the last centuries? There is absolutely no difference, if not to take into account the achievements of technical progress. The history pages contain pretty similar biographies of people and whole nations. People of all generations feel the same emotions, experience the same feeling of love, belief and hope. If not the art, the history of the world would be like a pile of standard forms. Thank to the art, including such a fragile aspect as choreography, the world is like the most beautiful painting in the world, the center of which is a man with his passions, ideas and mystery.
The following groups took part in the international competition:
“TAD” contemporary dance group, Grodno, Belarus
“Parallels” modern dance studio of Anastasia Makhova, Vitebsk, Belaus
Vladimir Ivanov project, Minsk, Belarus
Black O!Range Jazz Ballet, Kiev, the Ukraine
Gabbasov Sisters company, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Diana Yurchenko's choreographic studio, Vitebsk, Belarus
Olga Zimina’s dance theatre, Sarapul, Russia
Modern choreography theatre “D.O.Z.S.K.I.”, Minsk, Belarus
Lelio art school, Kiev, the Ukraine
D.TigerS, Hersones, the Ukraine
Modern choreography theatre studio, Moscow, Russia
Marta Ladjanszki & Co., Budapest, Hungary
Elvira Pervova’s dance theatre “Scream”, Samara, Russia
Contemporary dance and performance group “Voices”, Kishinev, Moldova
Natalia Ibragimova’s project and Chamber ballet "Panther", Kazan , Russia
Kaunas School of Choreography, Lithuania
The soloists of Hangchow opera and ballet theatre, China
Boroditski Denis Dance Company, Moscow, Russia
The following groups took part in the opening concert: “TAD” contemporary dance group, Tatiana Ostroverh’s project and “Soul B” dance theatre, Boroditski Denis Dance Company, “Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theater and “Gauthier Dance”.
“TAD” dancers presented a new work called “Structures, shapes and bodies”. The idea of this miniature came to Dmitry Karakulov’s mind when he was under the impression after he had read about the artistic search of Leonardo da Vinchi. By the way, the prototype of the festival playbill was the fragment of the composition “Pareidolia” from the same miniature series.
It’s quite interesting to watch the process of gramophone record playing today in the XXIst century. It’s like a real ritual. A heavy cover is opened, nickel-plated tube is pulled out, a huge shining knob is turned and a sharpen metal leg is put into it. Then you should roll the handle and put the needle on the record slowly. You can hear noise, bang and suddenly the sound appears. It’s fantastic! Maybe watching the porcelain disc rolling and hearing the typical needle squeak and a little distorted by the time voice, Evgeny Panfilof had an idea to tell about beautiful and powerful Russian songs sung by Ivan Surzhikov. Thus, Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theater performed “Eight Russian Songs” on our stage again. At the end of the opening concert the theatre performed “The thing, I didn’t tell to anyone” staged by Itsic Galili.
The member of the experts board Tatiana Ostroverh and “Soul B” dance theatre from Kiev made a performance specially for the festival. This is not their first time of cooperation, that is why it took them very little time to make a miniature “Mechanics of reflections”. The audience liked their performance and here is the information about the performers. Tatiana Ostroverh is an experienced dancer, master of choreography, a choreographer, a teacher, the author of some guides on contemporary dance study, the production director of TV projects. “Soul B” dance theatre is one of the leading groups of contemporary dance in the Ukraine, which has professionally educated dancers. This group develops the contemporary dance in the Ukraine.
Denis Boroditsky is without any doubt a very bright contemporary dance figure in Moscow. Having a unique dancing experience, professional knowledge and great masterly performance skills, he shows an expressive and dynamic dancing. His experience as a choreographer is less than one as a dancer, and sometimes it seems that his performances are sooner intuitive, when the body follows the music contents. Experience will come, but the performing skills and the sincerity in dancing is very vital. Here is from the company official resume: “Boroditski Denis Dance Company is a synthesis of academic choreographic forms, contemporary dance techniques (from jazz to modern) and all the necessary stage ingredients, which help to make the expression complete”. Though, in “Divine opus” there were no special effects and there is no need of them when on the stage there are people who can hear, see and dance.
Also the guest company Gauthier Dance from Germany performed in the opening concert. Gauthier Dance is a resident company of Stuttgart theatre created by Eric Gauthier in 2007. For the last 10 years Gauthier took part in almost every premiere of the theatre. He danced in the performances and worked with such world famous choreographers as Hans Van Manen, Djon Noimaier, Jiri Kilian, Itsic Galili and many others. The greatest fame came to him after he had performed five ballets of William Forsythe. Being a meteor of German stage, Gauthier is famous for his original and humorous choreography which he showed in “Ballet 101”, “Air guitar”, “Solo” at a high professional level.
On the next day the closed round started in the concert hall “Vitebsk” and the program moved to Vitebsk Philharmonic hall where Gunilla Heilborn presented her performance “Are you happy?” This performance was interesting for Vitebsk audience for a number of reasons and first of all, it was its form. Usually IFMC gives preference to dancing. Regarding the staging, it is a synthesis of a theatre, plasticity, singing and other staging things. At the centre of attention there is a man with his/her thoughts about the reality. The choreographer does not give the dancers the possibility to show all their skills, and requires from them to be as much realists as possible in the performance. The costumes, the light and the music are almost identical to every day life atmosphere. The performance does not give the conclusion about the meaning of life. It just recommends to view the world without pathos and treat the coming events with a sense of humour. Now, regarding the humour. The thing is that the original name of the performance was “Potato country”, which could have aroused a roaring interest of the audience in search of hidden implication, taking into account the usual nickname of the Belorussians “potato men”. As a result by the agreement of both sides a decision was taken to change the name of the performance. It did not affect the performance, and the audience who could understand English watched it with interest. This project took place thank to the centre of contemporary art Loco Motion with the support of Swedish Institute and Sweden Culture Council.
“Wait for the angel”. It was a clear, bright performance in the traditions and principles of classical dramatic theatre. There was not a single word during the performance, all the dramatics was shown with the help of contemporary dance language.
The first part of the day was dedicated to the closed round of the competition. In the evening the audience gathered for the opening night. “Krepostnoi Ballet” presented modern-ballet
The idea, choreography and staging of the performance “Casting off” belongs to Larisa Alexandrova, it was performed by “Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theater. The staging is very powerful. It was hard to make the full impression, it was impossible to see all the completeness of the performance, but the separate scenes which passed just in front of the eyes were very impressive. It seemed the performance was just ready to give the answer to the sacred question ‘Why man’s nature is so imperfect?’ It was unusual to see the dancers of “Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theater with such unlike technic and manner of performance, but they succeeded.
“The clay wind” by “Excentric Ballet” of Sergey Smirnov. Sergey Smirnov is an amazing person, having been awarded with Golden Mask twice and having found the way to success with the help of which he could steadily and methodically take the next rewards and titles, he behaves absolutely illogical. Instead, the choreographer with his group are searching for new staging, pondering over the experienced and sharing it all with us. Dare to suppose, that in this performance Smirnov does not ask the question “Where are we from?”, but is trying to understand “What made us the way we are?” Anyway, “The clay wind” gives us freedom to fantasy and ponder together with the author.
It was the open round or public performance of the festival participants. I will tell about the results of the competition a little later and now I would like to say a few words about the premiere of the dance performance
“The room of thin threads” to Olga Zimina’s dance theatre, Sarapul. The choreographer Olga Zimina together with a young dancer Eugene Glukhova performed the story about the relationship of the mother and a grown-up daughter with all the ensuing peripeteias and collisions from love to hatred, from absolute alienation to immense adoration.
It was a gala-concert where laureates and special prize winners were named. The prize “For the original idea and convincing artistic images” was presented for the ballet
The prize “For the sincerity of realization of the patriotic theme” was given for the ballet “White cranes’ call” performed by Elvira Pervova’s dance theatre “Scream”, Samara. The choreographer is Elvira Pervova. The ballet was dedicated to the war as a phenomena. Of course, the basis is the II World War and the recent chain of events in the Caucasus. It is a difficult theme by all means. There were many masters of every genre who convincingly and expressively told about this phenomena. The performance has its disadvantages, but the performers danced really sincere and emotionally.
The prize “For the distinctive character of the choreography” was given to the contemporary dance and performance group “Voices”, for one-act ballet “Connections”. It is absolutely impossible to mix up the free, laconic, bright and delicate style of the group with someone else. If only it could be possible to experience the idea of the performance just on the stage!
The prize “Perspective” was given to the choreographer Svetlana Bystritskaya for the duet together with the dancers from “D.TigerS”, Hersones. We hope that the miniature “The two” will justify its name.
By the decision of the jury in the nomination of “One-act ballet” only one prize was presented (the second prize was shifted to the nomination “Choreographic miniature”). The prize was given to the performance “Maturity” performed by the dancers of Minsk theatre of modern choreography “D.O.Z.S.K.I.”, the choreographer is Dmitry Zalessky. It is a deserved work starting from the idea to the performing skills, done without the sense and dance pauses.
In the nomination of “Choreographic miniature” the first prize was given for the staging of “Stayed alive”, the choreography is by Li Qing & shuai Xiao Jun, the performers are the soloists of Hangchow opera and ballet theatre soloists Liu Haibo & Zhang Ying. As usual, they showed a high level of choreographic background and theatrical skills, telling us about the tragedy in their native province about the earthquake which happened just before the Summer Olympic Games.
The second prize was given for the miniature “The century on the palm”. It is a choreographic paraphrase about the sign Slavonic values. The choreographer is Diana Yurchenko, the performers are from choreographic studio, Vitebsk. The powerful support for the performance was the music accompanied by Russian spiritual verse by the vocal ensemble “Resonance” under the direct of Alexander Suvorov.
Another second prize was given for the choreographic miniature “The thirst of danger”, the choreographer is Dmitry Kurakulov, the performers are “TAD” contemporary dance group, Grodno. In this work the choreographer and his dancers showed really original and at the same time organic balances, that did not prevent the audience from the whole staging dynamic. Also it is very rare when the choreographer manages to join the fantasy with the idea of the work and we can definitely say that Dmitry Kurakulov succeeded in it.
Grand Prix of the competition was presented to Boroditski Denis Dance Company for the one-act ballet “It’s a pity that you did not understand that…”, the choreographer is Denis Boroditski. The members of the jury did not have any disagreements about this decision. The staging deserved to become the first at the XXIst Vitebsk festival of modern choreography.
And here are some more facts about the results of the competition. The jury of the festival and the board of experts have not found the contenders for Evgeny Panfilov's memorial prize and as a result they came to a conclusion that this prize would be presented to the author of the project and the Director of the festival - Marina Romanovskaya “for personal contribution to establishment and development of modern choreography in the Republic of Belarus”. In general, the specialists unanimously noted the growth of Belorussian contemporary dance, which is very pleasant. The ballet of Olga Skvortsova “In the valley of share” was remarkable for its reserve and emotionally verified. Anastasia Makhova together with Eugene Tyshevich successfully found a plastic balance in their work “The whisper of illusions”. The selection criteria of the participants of the competition this year have underwent some changes. The festival invited the companies and works which did not have anything in common with similar works in the past by form and by contains. That is why everything was interesting, including the works in the close round. We hope that the participants of the festival did not spend their time in vain with us. In additional, there were master classes of Vita Mozuraite, the meeting of the choreographers with the members of the board of experts and practical master classes by Denis Boroditski, Sergey Smirnov, Tatiana Ostroverh and “SoulB” dancers, Germaul Burns. Now I would like to say a few words about Germaul Burns. In the past Germaul Burns danced in the most remarkable contemporary dance companies in America and not only in America. Nowadays this experienced dancer is the art-director of New York agency “Viewsic Expressions”. Germaul appeared to be light on his feet and came to Vitebsk as a tutor after lots of requests from the directorate of the festival, took part in the choreographic prologues in the opening and gala-concert and also performed in Gala-concert with the improvisation called “A dedication to the mother” accompanied by the vocal ensemble performed the potpourri on the themes of the famous children songs.
The People’s artist of the USSR and Byelorussia, the academician of Petrovsky Academy of Science and Art, the professor of the Academy of Music of Belarus, the choreographer and director of the National Academic Bolshoi Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus, the Chairman of the international jury of the festival - Valentin Yelizariev, Belarus.
The People’s artist of the Ukraine, the artistic director of the theatre “Young Opera” – Sergey Bondur, the Ukraine.
The professor of Beijing Choreographic Institute, the choreographer and dance theorist - Xiao Suhua, China
The choreographer, the director, the actor of “Theatre des Westens” – Daniel Kostello, Germany
the People’s artist of Belarus, deputy of the Belorussian ballet troupe of the National Academic Bolshoi Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus - Yuri Troyan, who celebrated the 40th anniversary of creative activity.
One more comment. It’s a pity, but despite all the efforts from our side, Kelly Drummond - the leading specialist of the faculty of the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance – could not take part in the work of the jury. Nevertheless, we are expecting to meet her in the nearest future.
Larisa Barykina - musical and ballet critic, a member of the council of experts for the Russian National Prize "Zolotaya Maska" (Yekaterinburg, Russia), art-director of the festival “The Fringe”, the Chairman of the council of experts, Russia
Svetlana Gutkovskaya – choreographer, associate professor, head of the sub-faculty of choreography of Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, Belarus
Margarita Moizhes – art-director of the dance agency “MM AR Line”, Germany
Vita Mozuraite – ballet critic, lecturer of History of Dance for the Vilnius Music Academy, Lithuania
Tatiana Ostroverh – master of choreography, a choreographer, the Ukraine.
We would like to extend our special thanks to
for his exhibition “People are like birds”, which was dedicated to the memory of Alexandr Glebov, a talented Vitebsk photographer who died this year. We were very glad to see all the participants of IFMC’2008 and are grateful to everyone who wanted but could not participate in it due to some reasons. Wish you all the best of luck!
The Photo is by Ivan Astashonok