Latvian and Bulgarian collaboration in dance performance “Wordless”


Inta Balode

On September 16 and 17, 2016 Latvian Contemporary Dance Choreographers Union is presenting choreographer’s Elena Jacinta’s dance performance „Wordless” which will be shown at Gertrudes Street Theatre at 19.00. One of the performers is Elena Angelova from Bulgaria. If international choreographers are working in Latvia quite often, then having a dancer from abroad is still quite rare thing. Because of that I decided to ask couple questions to Bulgarian Elena (yes, a choreographer is also Elena) whom I met last year for the first time.

Inta Balode: This is not your first performance in Latvia, last year you danced with Elena Jacinta in Saldus Arts school during a project “New Dance in a New Place” organized by our journal. Is trio “Wordless” a continuation of the ideas you worked on with Elena before?

Elena Angelova: Yes, even in the titles of the pieces „Tongue”, „Tongue: translations” and „Wordless” one can see a certain focus on the language. The general idea is similar, that the dancer tries to embody the language in a non-illustrative way. However, there are some differences: in „Tongue” we were working more with the rhythm of the language; in „Wordless” we are searching for a language in order to support and connect with each other. This new piece is a very much understandable continuation of Elena Jacinta’s choreographic work. „Wordless” is probably more extrovert and complicated in a way that we are three dancers on stage, creating different body languages through which we communicate with each other and the audience.

Inta: How did you meet Elena? And what made you agree to be part of her work once again?

Elena: So first there was „Tongue” in Sofia, created as Derida Dance Center’s residency in October, 2014. That’s when I discovered Elena Jacinta as a very intelligent choreographer who knows what she wants, but at the same time looks carefully for and at dancer’s interpretation of the material. We shared a very harmonious process there. This style of work made me want to take part in „Wordless” although I didn’t know what the piece was about beforehand.

Inta: You also write not only dance. This peace deals with “dance words”. How could you compare verbal words with dance words? Is there any need to compare those? I am asking because the piece in a way suggests it. What does this juxtaposition bring?

Elena: Dance words shouldn’t illustrate verbal words – that is for sure, but I think yes, there is certainly a connection based on associations. In the piece we haven’t worked with the term “dance words”, we are focusing more on language and movement, rather dance and words. We try to be in conversation with each other and throughout the process we’ve developed a language, in which we speak, we listen, we interrupt, we overlap. “Wordless” deals with connecting and disconnecting through movement.

Inta: I know you are not staying very long in Latvia but still you are spending time with people from dance community. Did you get some sense of how dance field functions in Latvia? How it is if you compare it with Bulgaria?

Elena: The sad thing is that I am about to leave just when the season starts, so I really haven’t got the chance to see much. Although I get the feeling that the dance community here is quite supportive and functional.

Inta: Even if dance events have quite significant variety still some trends are always visible. How would you describe trends and hot issues in Bulgaria right now?

Elena: In Bulgaria I think that most of the artists are following their own thing without comparing to anyone and this is a trend by itself. I would be very happy if there was more listening to each other and more merging between different art fields. But I am optimistic that this is a process that is already beginning and will develop further. Education and space for contemporary dance have always been hot issues in Bulgaria and Derida Dance Center in Sofia has proved very solid way of working on it.

The dialog between institutions and contemporary artists is another hard problem in Bulgaria and maybe that’s why many artists are now searching or working on alternative new spaces for productions. I think that the scene actively works in this direction now and there are meaningful events that are yet to come.

Take a look at Elena’s writing about two performances she saw during the seminar / festival “New Dance in a New Place” –

On two performances in Saldus – “Corpuss” by Elina Lutce and Krista Dzudzilo and “Summer feet in Saldus” by Moa M. Sahlin

Elena Angelova is a dancer and dance and theatre writer from Bulgaria. She begins her dance life with classical ballet and later on continues studying dance theatre and contemporary dance. During this time she paralelly dives into another subject – theatre studies and theatre management, which she graduates in the Bulgarian National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, followed by a Master of Arts degree in „Theatre art”. Currently Elena writes actively about the dance and theatre scene in Bulgaria. Her articles, interviews and reviews have been published in the most major Bulgarian medias for culture. Elena has been working for Bulgaria’s oldest International Theatre Festival „Varna Summer”. Nevertheless Elena’s interests include dance both as a theory and practice. As a dancer she takes part of two Elena Jacinta’s productions, „Tongue” and „Wordless”. She also dances in other choreographic projects with Bulgarian choreographers such as Mihaela Griveva („Slipstream”).



“Bez v?rdiem / Wordless”, September 16 an 17, 2016 at 19:00 at Gertrudes Street Theatre

Choreography: Elena Jacinta

Performed by: Aliise Putni?a, Elena Angelova and Elena Jacinta

Sound artist: Andris Ratnieks

Costumes: Anete Agneta Krišjanova

The dance performance has no narration or storyline; it is an ever changing dialogue between the dancers. Many images emerge from this dialogue, leaving the impression of talking in an invented language, intricate, yet simple, uttered without being spoken out loud. This language has its own rules and structure that exist only during the performance and the audience members are invited to experience it without looking for a story or a logical explanation.
„Wordless” is a full-length contemporary dance piece, which is partially inspired by the ideas from Umberto Eco’s book “The Search for the Perfect Language”, which tells about different attempts in the history of Europe to find the original universal language. The performance is based on the movement research aiming to develop a „language” that engages the dancers’ body and mind, as well as their emotions and feelings. This bodily dialogue that will unfold in real time is an attempt to discover that common language which makes it possible to communicate without words.

Elena Jacinta is an independent choreographer and dancer who studies dance at Birkbeck College, University of London and received a master’s degree in Choreography and Performance (MRes) from the Roehampton University in London. As a dancer she worked with a number of choreographers in the UK, and her own dance works have been presented at dance festivals, such as Edinburgh Fringe (2011), Resolution! at The Place in London (2013 and 2014), „Time to Dance” festival in Riga (2014) and elsewhere.

The following artists took part In the research and development stage of the project: dancers Alise Putni?a and El?na Lutce, sound artist Gosh Snobo, photographer Viesturs L?cis and video artists Carlos Del Mazo and Crow Wings.

The tickets can be purchased at „Bi?ešu serviss” and at Gertrudes Street Theatre before the performances.

The performance has been created with a financial support of the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia and the Riga City Council, supported by Gertrudes Street Theatre, Dance Studio “RITMS”, Dance Centre “Cukurfabrika”, Eduards Smilgis Theatre Museum, Rekords and Decallaboratory