Latvian dance in Baltic Bubble Riga


Inta Balode

They are so young, they are just starting, it’s only second year after the school and they have their fans out of Latvia already! Baltic Bubble Riga gave Latvian dance artists great supporters abroad. I’m not exaggerating. I heard it with my own ears. Birute Letukaite from Kaunas said that to them. She said to me that she is so jealous because we have such talented artists compare to tendencies she sees in Lithuania. I’m proud! We all should be proud because it was said not by somebody from the street but by Birute Letukaite who runs the oldest still functioning dance company in Lithuania – Aura Dance Theater. She runs the company since 1980 when our young artists were not even in the plans of their parents, when I was around 1 meter tall. Birute was angry at me because I didn’t mention the youngest artists in my talk about Latvian dance. I am guilty. I though the organizers of the Baltic Bubble Riga made so smart and precise choices regarding what they are showing to guests that I don’t have to talk about that. Let the dance talk live! Let the freshest tendencies to speak for themselves! And as you can understand from what I said already, it did talk nicely, audiences didn’t sleep, didn’t dream about “really professional inspiring contemporary dance from real Europe”.

Critic from Estonia Evelyn Lagle said she really enjoyed the smart way the performance “Good Enough” (choreography: Krist?ne Vismane, dance: Krist?ne Vismane and Katr?na Albuže, directing: Andrejs Jarovojs) was built – how all the threads came together and had reason to be there. I am partially kidding when I am saying this is the first euro standard work in Latvian dance. Only partially because I really appreciate the quality, the precision, attention to details, and cleanness and even sterility where “I hope I won’t need to improvise” fulfills. And with all that we have live and living people on stage which in its turn is nice side of Latvian dance standard.

I wish you all had seen and heard, and felt emotions of choreographer and dance organizer from Ireland Jazmin Choidi while watching “Hours” (choreography and performance: Evita Birule, Eva Vanc?ne, Krist?ne Vismane). I also almost got till laugh tears. Even if discussing and revealing the funny and confusing sides of the creation process of contemporary dance performance, “Hours” manages to “have layers”. It is also a story about general wish to succeed and planning needed for that. It is a story about sweet and evil, supporting and destroying relationship among women. It is a story about caring for you pet, really caring, no matter how hard the pet works. It is a story about fake and real. It is a very fun and emotional time spent together with three interesting personalities. Nice variations of talking for real, talking in a performative way, dancing felt, dancing showed, dancing destroyed through analysis and “made to work” with the same tools.

A day before Jazmin said very nice thing all dancers should remember – Trust in your body! It doesn’t mean – close your eyes, jump out the window and you will survive. It means – take me as an audience member under your skin (sounds stupid), take me in your bones (sounds too anatomical), take me in your lap (sounds too static), make me move with you (sounds disco). But you know what I mean. Make me feel – I am doing that with my every cell. I don’t mean everybody can dance like that. I mean real kinesthetic reaction. No, “reaction” sounds as short experience. I mean long trip together, clear answer saying – this is your night with dance artist!

Audronis Imbrasas from Dance Information Lithuania was teasing me – why don’t you have circus in Latvia?! He didn’t see “Reservists” (choreography: El?na Lutce, dramaturge: Inga Gaile, dance: Eva Vanc?ne, Katr?na Albuže, Kristaps Ce?malnieks, Sergejs Tarase?a) where Kristaps Ce?malnieks is doing such “an alien under the skin solo” that circus is not even a competitor. In “Reservists” preparation for the great start doesn’t get to the actual launch position, and it’s not meant to. Tried this and that, looked from the good and bad sides of the chances to get out of reservist status. So what? The thing is that our brain cannot digest sports without competition. Maybe our brain never had an ability to choose not to win. Would the world change if we could be happy in eternal reserve position? Or it would turn into competing for place in the second row?

Think about the great opportunity for all the artists to mingle together for 4 days – unfulfilled dream of Baltic union. Even if most times “republics” were eating at separate tables, still I noticed many active sharings and conversations going on in nice Baltic English. About many things – spaces and festivals, projects and markets, style and talking on stage, coming again next time, going there very soon. Critics copying power point presentations from each other – want to know the names, want to say “Oh, yes I am familiar with that artist, I found his work from 2010 more interesting but now he is exploring new aspects of sense of Baltic space”. Baltic Bubble will definitely go on. And that makes me feel happy and belonging.