Choreography in Eastern Europe
Choreography competitions have cropped up all over the U.S. in the last few years. Just look at our “Choreography Knocks” listing. But it was in Europe and Russia that these kinds of competitions and festivals started.
The International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk, Belarus, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. (When it started in 1987, Belarus was still part of the Soviet Union.) The great Vladimir Vasiliev will preside over the jury, and yours truly will be one of the judges. Prize winners in the past have included the bright lights of the experimental dance scene in Russia like Tatiana Baganova (the “Russian Pina Bausch”), Olga Pona, and Sasha Pepelyaev, all of whom have appeared at American Dance Festival.
The IFMC festival encompasses ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, and more. Dance artists from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Poland, the U.S., Germany, France, Netherlands, Israel, Norway, China, Japan have performed at IFMC. The last time I was there, in 2003, the closing night party saw dancers from the Ural Mountains to Oslo in a crazy hip-hop jam. Look for a report of the most recent one in a future issue of Dance Magazine. —Wendy Perron
P.S. If you can’t get enough Vasiliev, check out our slide show of his dancing through the ages.
Vasiliev in his prime. Photo from Dance Magazine Archives.