The Baltic Bubble residency: not that into each other

Ingrida Gerbutaviciute

The Baltic Bubble – a platform for contemporary dance scene of Baltic countries – has just had its premiere in Tallinn. Within three days (September 18-20, 2012) the representatives from all three countries showed their work: M?rti?š Eihe from Latvia, Agnija Šeiko and Jonas Sakalauskas from Lithuania, and Mart Kangro, Kenneth Flack, Krista Köster and Kristina Paškevi?ius from Estonia. The whole idea and its realization was a remarkable step forward for the Baltic dance scene. Since this platform was realized as the artistic program of the Nordic-Baltic dance encounter keðja, The Baltic Bubble came out as an important event for the Baltic dance community and hopefully will be continued as a strong artistic voice among our Nordic neighbors.

It’s all about collaboration: big or small, experienced or completely new. We all like to share our knowledge and to learn something new, to exchange our ideas and to create unique piece of art. And yes, we all do want to have a strong collaboration with economically more developed countries. This is the fact when we speak about Baltic region. And unfortunately it’s obvious, that we are not that much “into each other”. This was quite visible in the residency showing of Latvian choreographer Sintija Sili?a, Lithuanian Erika Vizbarait? and Estonian Siim Tõniste. Three dance artists have worked together for only five days and presented an intimate and noteworthy performance showing both dance an neighbors’ policy of the Baltics.

First we see Sili?a, Vizbarait? and Tõniste in a triangle with backs or sides turned towards each other or. And so they sting into the weakest part at the very beginning and from that point they just go on: they roll, shift weight, swing, jump and change positions without touching each other. You can clearly see what really unites us nowadays – only geographical factors and historical background. It feels ironic and pity at the same time. It is especially comical when three of them work so hard to dance out their own combination while standing very close. It looks like they are competing in trying to keep on doing “their own stuff” and keeping the spot. Also at the same time they try to be respectful to others, i.e. competing in decent way. Suddenly the body contact appears, but it feels so fragile and short in its essence, that it reminds a picture of the compulsory condition given from the outside. And it has its true: Baltics collaborate with each other mostly then they feel a certain external “force”.

The choreographers ironically point out the stereotypes about Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian dance and this also brings up ironic look at the Baltic cooperation on a broader scale not only within the dance. Estonians are as conceptual in dance as much as they tend to have the strong bilateral relationships with Finns. And Latvians and Lithuanians are as much balletic, emotional and dramatic in dance as our history leans on its proximity. Tõniste (EE) has shorts in a design of Lithuanian basketball players, Vizbarait? (LT) lives in Vilnius in Tallinn street, which was Riga street before, and Sili?a (LV) is just in the middle. That’s the only connecting points – funny, but true. The funny situations also appear when one tries out another’s movement and fails in understanding an essence, which looks like some small details from the outside. Yes, unfortunately we do fail in understanding each other and sometimes it does look quite good on a surface, if you don’t dig a bit deeper. Do we want to dig a bit deeper? Sili?a, Vizbarait? and Tõniste did and hopefully will continue by working on the further results of this residency – open, amusing, direct and so reflecting the situation of the Baltic dance/countries.