The first creative stage of the international dance project “Godos” has started in Oslo, Norway in the beginning of August 2015. 5 dancers from AURA Dance Theatre – two Lithuanians Ema Nedobežkina and Gintarė Ščavinskaitė, two Japanese Kirie Oda and Haruka Suzuki and German Laura Witzleben – have left to Oslo for three weeks. Together with two choreographers of Panta Rei Danseteater – Anne Ekenes and Pia Holden – they will create one of two parts of the contemporary dance coproduction. The intensive rehearsals will take place at Trikkehallen which is located in a former tram depot in Oslo Kjelsås district. Composer Antanas Jasenka will also join the creative team for couple of days.

Before starting the production process, project partners have organized two creative meetings. The first meeting took place in Kaunas in May 2015, while the second one was arranged simultaneously with the beginning of the production period in Oslo – choreographer Birutė Letukaitė and project coordinator Eglė Marčiulaitytė joined the 5 dancers and traveled to Oslo for couple of days to meet the partners.

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May 20-22, 2015. Kaunas. Lithuania

Choreographers Anne Ekenes, Pia Holden and project coordinator in Norway Martina Jankauskaitė (three representatives of Panta Rei Danseteater) have visited Kaunas in May to attend the first creative meeting. Although they stayed only for couple of days, the agenda was intensive and focused on planning the implementation of the project as well as discussions about the upcoming dance co-production.

During the meeting, for the first time, creative team members have gathered for a live conversation. The three choreographers, composer Antanas Jasenka, lights designer Vladimiras Šerstabojevas and dramatist Silvija Čižaitė-Rudokienė intensively discussed about the theme of the upcoming dance co-production – godos. Godos is a word naming a very old Lithuanian phenomenon which can be hardly translated into English. Our dramatist suggests to define godos as “a song of the heart”. During the meeting we were looking for the meaning of this word in Lithuanian folklore, cultural heritage, personal knowledge and experiences that come from literature, history, anthropology, discoveries of surrounding environment or just from the stories of antecedents. We were considering what kind of godos are nowadays, are they more related to dreams or unfulfilled expectations? What are the godos of Norwegians or other nations? As there were more questions than answers, the task to unlock godos was delegated to the dramatist S. Čižaitė-Rudokienė. Her research about godos is one of the main take-offs for the creative team of the project.

What is more, many other issues were discussed and planned during the meeting: a preliminary schedule of the implementation of project activities, a premiere date of the dance co-production, a calendar of the educational part of the project – touring in Lithuanian and Norwegian regions, the administrative procedures in both Lithuania and Norway, etc.

An acquaintance of two Norwegian choreographers and the international troupe of AURA Dance Theatre as well as the pre-selection of 6 dancers for the upcoming co-production was another important purpose of the first creative meeting in Kaunas. The choreographers from Panta Rei Danseteater had a chance to see AURA troupe not only in the rehearsal studio during a three-hour long workshop that they were giving, but also on the professional stage as AURA Dance Theatre performed “Make the Switch from Me” in Alytus Town Theater on the same day.

The end of the first creative meeting consolidated the further implementation of the project.

 

August 2-5, 2015. Oslo. Norway

The second creative meeting took place in Norway. This time a group of AURA Dance Theatre members left to Oslo – five dancers, choreographer B. Letukaitė and project coordinator E. Marčiulaitytė. The aim of the latter two AURA members was to meet Panta Rei team, to discuss the scenography, costume design, the merge of two choreographic parts, various technical needs, the publicity plan, means of communication of the project and other important questions related to the implementation of the project.

Besides the mentioned activities, the first day was spent in Trikkehallen where AURA dancers were presenting the tasks given by choreographer Pia Holden. Later we had a long discussion with dancers about godos.

On the second day together with Birute Letukaite we visited Dansens Hus (en. Dance House) – a huge building that is located in Oslo district Grünerløkka. It has been opened in 2004 in a former tire factory and now is a part of Vulkan area. There we met Lise Nordal, the artistic director of Oslo International Dance Festival CODA as the festival administration resides at Dansens Hus. During the meeting we shared various considerations about the specificities of contemporary dance audience in Lithuania and Norway, its development strategies, the local dance market in Norway. Furthermore, we talked about two upcoming international dance festivals – CODA and AURA 25 (which is organized by AURA Dance Theatre), their programs, organizational challenges, the policy of national and municipal culture funding of the countries, possible collaborations and other issues. Coincidentally this year both festivals are celebrating anniversaries – CODA is being organized for the 10th time while AURA festival is turning 25 years.

Besides Dansens Hus, Vulkan area of Oslo brings together a multitude of people and enterprises, and the area comprises two hotels, schools, Oslo’s first food hall, office spaces, cultural venues, restaurants, and apartments (www.visitoslo.com). Dansens Hus is one more great example for the Kaunas city (and not only) how old industrial buildings can be turned into active cultural spaces, how enabling the conditions for various human activities helps to transform the whole industrial complex into a creative cluster. You simply want to return to this place – if not to see a dance show then at least to have a coffee in the bohemian environment.

The second creative meeting was as intensive as the first one, therefore we had almost no time to explore the city of Oslo. Nevertheless, we spent the last evening together with dancers walking on the coastline of Akker Brygge and talking about future works.

The second part of the dance co-production “Godos” will be created in autumn at AURA dance studio in Kaunas, Lithuania. The premiere is scheduled in the end of January 2016 in Kaunas, and then the participants of the project will start a five-week long tour to three Lithuanian regional towns and three Norwegian regional towns where they will implement the educational part of the project. All news related to “Godos” will be published here and on the project Facebook Page.

The project “Godos” is implemented under the Programme “Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage” of the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism of 2009-2014.

Author of the text – project coordinator Eglė Marčiulaitytė

 

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