Contemporary dance in contact with youth work and non-formal learning


Inta Balode

With warming-up, breaking ice, trying to remember over 20 names of people from nine different countries a seminar for youth workers and dancers / choreographers “Movement as a Learning Opportunity” started on the 1st of March in Tbilisi, Georgia. The seminar is organized by “Anti-violence Network of Georgia” and takes place within the EU program “Youth in Action”. Why would DANCE.LV Journal usually writing about professional contemporary dance events be interested in this seminar? Because it explores and experiences ways how contemporary dance could be used as tool for providing non-formal learning opportunities for youth. How, why, is contemporary dance something that might really work for this purpose is something to figure out during the week. One thing is for sure – a personality who will try to figure it out is really an impressive expert.

Here are just some facts about the superhero we have here:

“I come from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Sweden, Armenia and Georgia. I am a teacher of Armenian national dances. I love eating nice food. I work as a mentor of international volunteers. I have worked with imprisoned children. I have been a speaker for the seminars organized by Sakharov center. I was a dance teacher in Palestine. I am studying textile engineering. I teach Georgian national dances. I play American football and lacrosse. I am organizer of dancing games. I studied semiotics. I am member of all stars Latvian break dance team. I am a scout. I initiated an active youngster’s pro-European organization. I am freelance trainer of contemporary dance, interactive theater, belly dance and performing arts. I have a degree in electrical engineering. For 16 years I am involved in youth work locally and globally. I work at the Ministry of Sports and Youth. I am skilled with a ritual theatre and international stage performances. I make advertising films, projects and flash mobs. I want to be different. I have joined projects about children, disadvantageous groups of people, youth, ecology, animals, discrimination etc. I run on-line shopping magazine. I started training in karate 20 years ago. I am experienced in folkdances of Gaziantep region. I study economics. I am interested in Afro-Jamaican style reggae dance. I did a dance battle among dancers from all Ukraine. I am working in summer camps with children of different age groups. I am organizing events for popularizing science. In my free time I am also a politician.”

Already on the very first days the superhero met some challenges when facing contemporary dance and some other issues:

– some exercise seem silly

on the lap

– some exercises feel childish


– some exercises feel – what?!?!


 – I thought every meal in Georgia will be like a Georgian wedding meal


– It is weird to touch the strangers

touching other people

– It is touching to be in touch or free hugs

free hugs

– unexpected audience shows up


– the world looks extremely different if you change a perspective

at the wall

Some quotes/lessons learned:

– to get all pleasures from this life

– doing some stupid dancing

– you must be fit before you start training

– we don’t need the winner!

– it is not a way of dancing, it’s a way of living. If you stop, it looks weird

– in contemporary dance there is no preparation, just do it

– it is not about thinking it is about doing

– it is about trust and take care

– you can do small things as well!

– how to be with the group, how to feel the group

– unison our counterpoint, nothing else

– formal learning change the brain, non-formal learning change people

– non-formal learning is unlearning

– stupid is very good