Between November 22nd and 25th in Riga an international conference dedicated to dance named “Is Dance One?”, organized by Dance Info Latvia (LDIC) took place. The conference gathered a dance sphere theorists and practitioners from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, Belorussia and Norway. The purpose of the conference was to promote collaboration and understanding between the representatives of the different dance genres by introducing the activities, strategies and experience of the dance supporting organizations of each country.
Among the participants of the conference were 12 foreign guests, all together 18 presentations were offered as well as 4 workshops and 4 discussions about different dance genres.
Inta Balode, chair of the board at the Latvian Dance Information Center resumes the main points: “Answering the question “Is dance once?” we agreed – in that deepest basis and heights dance is one, because the main wish of all dance genres and styles is to communicate using a body language. The qualities every dancer and choreographer is reaching for are also quite common and were defined with similar words. In the basis of desperate try to define the dance boarders lays an insecurity of self-identity, as well as historically established organizations, financial structures and powers. Overcoming the fear of the threaten of the position is the way how to get to a less or more ideal situation where dance is one because it is united by common values and at the same time the are many different dances where none of them is superior than another.”
The participants expressed the gratefulness about meeting at the conference dance artists, administrators and researchers from many neighboring countries. Triinu Aron the director of the dance platform in Estonia “Sõltumatu Tantsu Lava” says “I appreciate so much this meeting. I’ve got many new contacts and rich amount of information to think about. We should arrange the meeting like this between the people of Northern countries and Russia regularly to be informed about the dance life of neighboring countries.”
The discussions and presentations during the four days of conference gave many new insights and ideas to develop the activity of Dance Info Latvia. It has been talked about the necessity of the Baltic dance platform at the big international markets. The conference approved there are still actual questions – is it possible and how to support and popularize all dance genres together; what is and what is not a professional dance and is it needed to categorize dance that way; as well as many other important questions which are connected with dance field organizational processes, experience, different genres of contemporary art which get combined and sometimes even overlapped. As the conference went in English and partly in Russian it got actual again the using of adequate dance terminology.
During the conference there were many workshops provided by choreographers who combine different experiences.
In addition to the official program of the conference the guests watched a ballet “Don Juan” and opera “Carmen” at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet; the performance “Zelta zirgs” at the Latvia Puppet Theatre and also a contemporary dance performance “Memor” at ?ertr?des ielas te?tris. The foreign experts commented the performances which are nominated for Dance award. Their values will be available for the Dance award jury ensuring international perspective for local processes.
Each event of the conference was free of charge for the dancers and everyone who is interested in dance.
A featured image: some of the conference participants as seen in the drawing by Di?na Sili?a