The soiree that took place on the Small Stage of Ukraina Palace can be called a birthday of an idea. The organizers of the event decided to make the audience familiar with the processes that now are taking place in the sphere of modern choreography. The festival is a brainchild of Radu Poklitaru (art director of Kyiv Modern Ballet Theater and head of the newly established National Center of Contemporary Choreography) and Olha Kebas (head of the Modern Choreography Department at Serge Lifar Kyiv Municipal Ukrainian Academy of Dance and a performer), who presented the performances which reflect Ukrainian actual choreography.
“Here one can see a cross-section of modern choreography of our country, which for a long while remained in underground,” Radu POKLITARU underlined as he launched the festival. “Now choreographers have an opportunity to show their performances on one of the top venues of our country – Ukraina Palace. Although today it is taking place on the Small Stage, this is only the first step, and in the prospect there is the Big Stage of the Palace and a festival attended by artists from different regions of Ukraine. My colleagues, choreographers and dancers, show their art in the language of different styles: from neoclassic to contact improvisation. This forum marks the beginning of the work of the National Center of Contemporary Choreography in Ukraine.”
And Olha Kebas added that namely “this kind of actions help broad audience to discover Ukrainian artists of dance, who with their work develop and promote modern scenic-choreographic culture. We dream that the forum will become a center of artistic work which will consolidate young and well-known directors, choreographers, performers, and producers.”
It should be noted that the Festival of Modern Performing Arts became a lab for experiments. The hall gathered connoisseurs of ballet and modern dance, students, teachers of higher educational establishments in performing arts, professional dancers, as well as the participants of the Everyone Dances TV show of various seasons. So the audience was well prepared and actively supported every performance. Twelve choreographers (11 Kyiv residents and Kharkivite Iryna Avdieieva) showed their artistic explorations and creative approach. All of them tried to reveal their creative self, be heard and understood by the audience. Although some of the numbers resembled crosswords, the audience tried to solve them, accepted some things, while some things looked like scandalous behavior.
For example, choreographer and dancer Anton Ovchynnikov in the “Tunnel Effect” showed a performance with a video installation, which included his 10-minute hammering and building of a nestling box with a mix of different sounds in the background. His partner was 2nd year student of the Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts Alina Tskhovriebova. The girl asked him to teach her to dance. This creative duo surprised the audience also with their “composition” called “Dream of a Railway Trackman,” which included an absolutely empty scene and sounds of a rehearsal coming from loud speakers; at the end the female dancer appeared on the stage to bow to the audience.
It will be reminded that modern scenic choreography does not stick to basic principles of classic choreography (like turn-out of the legs, toe pointing, rounded arms, straight torso, shoulders down, chin up), rather it is a synthesis of several arts. The producers broadly involve in the lexicon of dance the elements of rhythmic gymnastics, gymnastics, acrobatics, etc., with an aim to add dynamic to the performances. All this is interesting, but not all the performers succeeded in developing the images they showed: the cacophony of sounds, like clatter of wheels, the sound of water pouring, warble of birds, noises of present-day megalopolis, cries of people, recital of poems performed by a child, music mixes, which interchanged one another, often grated on the ears of the audience.
For some reason most of the works presented at the forum had depressive connotation, with the performers looking like mannequins or mechanic puppets. Some tried to tell about the meaning of life with the help of body and movement: “Multidimensionality” (staged by Liudmyla Mova and Olha Kebas), “Seagull” and “Three is not a crowd” (choreography by Ruslan Santakh), “Doubt” and “Weightlessness” (choreography by Krystyna Shyshkariova), etc.
However, there were three works which made the audience tremble in heart and shout “bravo!” This is the philosophical parable “Ascension” staged by renowned choreographer Alla Rubina to Eduard Artemiev’s music and performed by Olesia Shaitanova (the world apocalypse is cancelled, it is high time to think about the World and the Dance!). Stirring was the meditative composition “Skin I Live In,” staged by Serhii Kon (an artist of the Kyiv Modern Ballet) to Frederic Chopin’s music for wonderful dancer Mia Nagasava. She managed to reveal very convincingly the suffering of a girl, who lives in someone else’s skin, hiding from cruel people her romantic and lyrical soul. And the final chord of the festival was the duo performance “Album” to Leo Ferre’s music by Anastasia Kharchenko and Oleksii Busko (he is also the production choreographer of the dance and the leading artist of Kyiv Modern Ballet). This is a sad story of love and parting of two people who failed to preserve their love.
“In the future our forum will present not only modern choreography, but also theater plays and performances, etc.,” said POKLITARU. “I think it is appropriate to show creative explorations of two or three artists in one program. The soiree was wonderful, full of the spirit of joint artistic work. The most important thing here was the sensation of life in its different manifestations told in the language of modern dance.”