Vita Mozūraitė: “The strongest dance troupe is in Kaunas” 1

Monika Jašinskaitė, 2013-10-07

In brief: The international dance festival Aura'23 was organised in Kaunas on September 18-22. It was presented as a platform of African contemporary dance to the audience, although works of western troupes were also shown. As emotions faded away slightly after the festival, the dance critic Vita Mozūraitė was asked to review and comment the seen performances. The interlocutors could not distance from thoughts about the Lithuanian dance scene and the only Lithuanian dance theatre in the conversation.

”Elektro kif” (Bianca Li, France)

Vita Mozūraitė stated that out of 15 performances (8 performances from Africa) she enjoyed only “Rognou Maame” of Kaolack Dance Company that had some “African flavour” and the work of the choreographer Germaine Acogny. “This woman always proclaims Africa and African dance as full-rate art. Still, her “Songook Yaakaar” is not a festival work,” the critic notices.

The dance critic found the combination of African and contemporary dance interesting in the performance of Kaolack Dance Company. Also, the personality of this dancer appeared interesting to her. Kaolack is a student of G. Acogny, and this may be seen in his performance.

As for western performances, Vita Mozūraitė enjoyed “Elektro kif” (Bianca Li, France) the most. Although the technique was slightly primitive, the direction was good. The performance “A Drop from Nowhere” of Daara Dance company is mentioned by the critic due to the dance technique. African people move differently. Meanwhile, our dancers usually lack freedom on the stage. “Our dancers only dance. Lithuanian choreographers do not use other theatrical means in performances,” she observes.

As for Aura performances, the critic asserts that dancers of Aura can sometimes be very technical. “As we discussed with other observers of Lithuanian dance field recently, the dance theatre Aura, having no professionally prepared dancers or a very strong school, has the strongest dancers in Lithaunia.”

Many people were impressed by the performance “Talking Head” of the Austrian troupe Liquid Loft. The dance critic believes that people create such performances to be able to travel as many festivals as they can. Still, if we forget technologies and distorted faces that amused in the performance, nothing remains in it. Technologies outrival everything in it.

Speaking about the performance “Box Melancolique” of Johannes Wieland and Aura dancers, the critic Vita Mozūraitė rejoices that it was moved to another space from Kaunas Biennial, where it was created two years ago, not mechanically. Still after half an hour the scenes started repeating themselves according to the critic. 

Performance "Box Melancolique“

The dance critic is asked what problems and tendencies she noticed in the festival. Vita Mozūraitė notices that only Acogny and Kaolack spoke on the theme of Africa. She did not attend discussions with African creators but the impression was made that the stereotypical attitude was typical of them – they imagine that Europeans see them dancing traditional dances and wearing straw skirts. And Africans impose this stereotype on everybody themselves.

”I believe that the African platform did not justify itself in the festival of this year. We got acquainted with African choreographers creating absolutely European dance," the critic concludes.


Photos by Svetlana Batura

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