International contemporary dance project Godos could be considered as one of the most untraditional and surprising collaborations that would make it to the list at least top five collaborations in Kaunas. If we tried to define this project in one sentence, it would sound something like this: “speaking in the language of contemporary dance about immaterial and still functioning Lithuanian heritage with a Norwegian flavour” in order to look at each phenomenon through the eyes of a contemporary person.    

The project Godos unites two countries and two dance theatres, i.e. Kaunas Dance Theatre AURA and the Norwegian Panta Rei Dance Theatre. The idea will become a reality during the international premier on February 17th and 19th, 2016 in Norway. Performances in Lithuania: on February 27th – in Švenčionys, on March 7th – in Mažeikiai, on March 13th – in Nida. Kaunas residents will see a two-part performance Godos in April (follow the news on www.aura.lt and Facebook page of GODOS). One part of the performance is created by the choreographer Birutė Letukaitė, while Norwegian choreographers Pia Holden and Anne Ekenes are responsible for the creation of the other part of the performance.

Before diving deeper into the creative depths, let us put the roasted Christmas ducks aside, and raise the curtains in order to see the Norwegian creative experiences. We have started our cooperation with the choreographers Pia Holden and Anne Ekenes in summer, and we have been discussing what godos are for several days. Considering their attempts to comprehend the Lithuanian godos and discover some shared commonalities with Norway and the global world of today, I have finally asked the artists how have Norwegian artists decided to work on this subject, even though it seems to be so local, what have they experienced, discovered and are still discovering.  

While researching and discovering different ideological perspectives of godos in literature, one definition of godos that has inspired the artists is that “Godos is a song of our soul”. How have the artists end up with such pursuits and answers?

Panta Rei_Anne and Pia

From the left: Pia Holden and Anne Ekenes

Who has encouraged you to participate in this project?

Pia Holden and Anne Ekenes: we represent dance theatre Panta Rei and visited Lithuania more than once. We have worked with the dance theatre AURA before, so the decision to participate in the international project Godos* as a team has been a part of a natural process.

S.Č.-R.: You work with many projects. How does this project differ from others?

P.H. and A.E.: We are constantly searching for new cooperation possibilities and new experiences, which come to us when we work with artists who come from other cultures. The project Godos is probably one of the most original projects I have ever participated in. Godos is a rather specific Lithuanian phenomenon; it is an emotion, and thus it is indeed interesting to discover a certain Norwegian relation to it. To experience godos in the Norwegian way.

S.Č.-R.: What have you discovered? Can Lithuanian godos find their place in the Norwegian heart?

P.H. and A.E.: It is really interesting and captivating to understand the meaning of godos to Lithuanians and discover some parallels with them in Norway. When we heard the word godos for the first time, we asked people in various places to explain what it means for them.  We wanted to inquire different people at bars, cafes; we also met with students and artists. We participated in a lot of discussions, but have not received one finite answer. Each definition and interpretation differed in a certain way and had a certain personal flavour. It is so strange that you have a word in your language, but the meaning of it varies from person to person. It is therefore paradoxical that the word godos can be barely defined in other words. Yet, we still have succeeded to discover the key meaning of the word godos, which we associate with melancholy and sympathy. Godos is a feeling, which is related to the past and is always identified with women and their dreams. The definition of godos proposed by the playwright was the one which suites us best: godos is a song of our soul.

S.Č.-R.: The quest to find the right answers has taken so long. What do you expect from this project?

P. H. and A. E.: We are always working only with those topics that are interesting to us; they must be coloured by different experiences of life. Godos have left an emotional mark on us.  As female choreographers, we have investigated and included a lot of things into the creative process. If the audience finds our experiences and the performance relatable on the emotional level and the memories of it remain etched in their mind, this will be the most rewarding outcome of the project.

S.Č.-R.: What have you discovered during the project?

A.E. and P.H.: We are working in a new way with the help of the dramatist: she meets the dancers and participates in the rehearsals that take place in Lithuania, while we stay in Norway. This way, we let our dance grow even if we are away from it. Such way of working has allowed us discovering a new attitude towards choreography. Maybe it will challenge us to make different decisions. Artistic exchanges and cultural investigations strengthen the creative process. We are anxious to experience the outcomes and we are looking forward to further collaboration with Aura.

S.Č.-R.: Finally, before raising the curtain, please share your ideas on the challenges you have faced when working on Godos?

A.E. and P.H.: Cultural differences and bureaucracy that we have encountered when working on the project, yet there is nothing we can do about it. We, personally, have faced creative challenges in terms of productivity.  

At the end of our conversation, I would like to highlight that Godos is not only an international Norwegian and Lithuanian formation. The diversity of dancers is also exceptional: from Japan to Sweden, including, of course, the Lithuanian dancers. We will see the results of this colourful and productive collaboration on February 7, 2016 on Girstutis stage. While waiting for the upcoming premier, we can also think about GODOS and what do they mean for us.

*The project Godos is conducted under the terms of the programme “Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage”  co-financed by the European Economic Area (EEA) financial mechanism 2009-2014.
More information about the project is available at www.aura.lt.

 

Norwegiand choreographers were interviewed by Silvija Čižaitė – Rudokienė. The interview is published in www.kamane.lt – the website of Arts News.

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