The Experience of war at the Festival New Baltic Dance

In support of dance artists who have physically or mentally lost their creative space in Ukraine, the international contemporary dance festival New Baltic Dance (NBD) this year will feature a Ukrainian dance platform in the main program. The festival organizers invite the public to show their support for Ukraine’s choreographers.

“As we see repeated images of war on television and social media every day and gradually become desensitized as a result, this creative work draws our attention to the bodies of the witnesses to those events, the experiences of whom will be set free on the stage, communicated in motion and transformed into a ritual steeped in myth,” the description of the Ukrainian performance declares. The themes of war refugees, uncertainty, instability, fear, resistance, solidarity, and the dance of life and death predominate in the Ukrainian artists’ performances.

The representatives of the Ukrainian contemporary dance platform will meet colleagues from Europe and America in the framework of the seminar Research of the Variations, Variations of the Research and the festival’s networking events. “We expect this meeting to be the start of joint projects between Ukrainian and European artists as well as a platform in which we can exchange practice, ideas and experience of dance,” says a hopeful Anton Ovchinnikov, curator of the Ukrainian dance platform.

According to Anton, 2022 became the most difficult test for Ukrainian society during its entire history of independence; the Ukrainian people are fighting against absolute evil on all fronts. The cultural front is no exception. “The contemporary dance platform helps Ukrainian choreographers continue their creative work no matter which country they find themselves in, to present Ukrainian artists in Europe. The project Let the Body Speak was created precisely for this purpose.

“In 2014, New Baltic Dance became the first international partner of our still-young (at that time) contemporary dance festival Zelyonka (which began in Kyiv in 2010), and since then has opened up new opportunities for Ukraine’s choreographers. We deeply appreciate the support and assistance our colleagues from Lithuania have given us. Today, every Ukrainian dance artist and the leading European dance organizations know about the festival. Despite dance being an art of motion, we always dreamed that Ukraine’s dance would someday begin to speak and be heard on an international scale,” says the Ukrainian platform’s curator, thanking Lithuania.

According to NBD festival artistic director Gintarė Masteikaitė, such a concentrated presentation of Ukraine’s contemporary dance will occur in Europe for the first time (after 24 February 2022), so it is hoped to help the Ukrainian dance community not only in a social sense, but also in a professional sense, contributing to the promotion of the creative work of Ukrainian dancers throughout Europe. “We are pleased to see that the heads of the most important European dance festivals, institutions and international organizations are coming to this truly exceptional and poignant platform. This initiative is being supported by embassies in Lithuania, foreign foundations, and the entire team of festival organizers, and we hope for the same from the public. Each of us can support Ukraine’s artists by attending their performances.”

The international contemporary dance festival New Baltic Dance will feature the works of Lithuanian, Ukrainian and other foreign choreographers and dancers from 26 April to 14 May in Vilnius, Ukmergė and Žagarė.

New Baltic Dance