The coronavirus pandemic that has engulfed Lithuania and the world with the quarantine to follow have had an effect on quite a number cultural events in summer. Widely-liked for over two decades, the international contemporary dance festival New Baltic Dance had to be moved to the fall, and its open air programme to the spring of the next year. However, with the requirements loosening up, festival organisers have decided not to wait for the next spring and make a joy-bringing decision: for the first time in the history of the festival, the dance programme will be hosted in summer as a present to the festival’s faithful fans.
“During the quarantine, the introduction of the New Baltic Dance had to be reconsidered more than once. At the beginning, it was decided to move the open air part of festival’s programme to the spring of 2021, but a few weeks ago, considering the change in the requirements and the public life becoming increasingly more active, we have decided to take a chance and, for the first time in the history of the festival, to host the dance programme in summer. We expect that this programme, and its possible new additions, will be a celebration not only for us, but our entire audience,” says the head of the festival Ms. Gintarė Masteikaitė.
So this summer, the international Aerowaves programme will be introduced in rather unusual places of Vilnius, Kaunas and Kaunas District. The programme will feature outstanding dance performances, which, according to Ms. Masteikaitė, will suite the post-quarantine situation quite perfectly.
From July 18 to 22, there will be as many as four open air performances Pli by a young Czech artist Viktor Černický in Vilnius (the yard of the Presidential Palace) and Kaunas District (the yard of Raudondvaris Manor, Kaimynystė (Neighbourhood) Park).
“The structure of the performance and the images used, perfectly fit the current situation not only as the case of stage arts, but also to the audience, one performer and 22 chairs. Great humour, gradually reduced physical distance among people and restored direct connection between the performer and the audience,” this is how the head of the festival describes the performance and adds that it is designed to all age groups and audience members of different experiences.
Even though the plane-related challenges are still to be solved, festival organisers claim they have no doubt that on August 10–13, the Lithuanian public will see three dynamic performances by a Hungarian choreographer Máté Mészáros, Mechanics of Distance, exploring the distances between the bodies.
“This performance is a choreography for three dancers and a musician, adapted for a specific place and location each time, be it an exhibition hall, foyer or the stairs of a museum. We have already selected special spaces where, I believe, this dance performance will gain new colours and shapes, those are the stairs of MO Museum in Vilnius and the stairs of Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery in Kaunas. The performance connects different experiences of the dancers, music and audience inclusion to the extent they want it,” says Ms. Masteikaitė about the Hungarian dance performance.
All Černický and Mészároso’s dance performances are free of charge. According to the organisers of New Baltic Dance, it is their gift to the faithful audience of the festival and those who might only now be getting acquainted with the dance. The performers will take place in the open air, both performances are adapted to different locations, in order to create a unique experience for the audience.
According to Ms. Masteikaitė, the plans are to expand the summer programme by featuring the excerpts from the most recent works by Lithuanian creators.
More information about the summer programme of New Baltic Dance can be found on newbalticdance.lt. The Festival is organised by Lithuanian Dance Information Centre, Vilniaus Festivaliai (Vilnius Festivals), it is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture, The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius City Municipality.