Summer Dance School - the biggest educational contemporary dance event in Lithuania, dedicated to professional and amateur dancers. Lithuanian Dance Information Center organizes it since 2000 and this year it will fill Arts Printing House (Vilnius) with dance from 20th to 25th of August. Everyone interested can already register to the inspiring ballet classes by Arina Trostyanetskoya, contemporary dance technique workshops by LorandZachario, contemporary dance and movement by Celia Amade and two open level creative laboratories by Ricardo Ambrozio and duo of Florencia Demestri and Samuel Lefeuvre. We asked Summer Dance School’s coordinator Laima Servaitė about how it is programmed and why it is worth attending.
What would you say is the Summer Dance School?
I think you should see Summer Dance School not only as a week of professional dance classes, but also as a six-day dance happening, that you attend with a hundred people who genuinely care about dance. It is more than just classes that you leave after they end - you can always stay after them for discussions with teachers, meditation sessions, informal meetings. It is extremely important to the younger generation of dancers who are still in schools and thinking about their dancing careers. Here they can talk with people who have been through all of that and get advice. It is also important for experienced dancers who can share their knowledge. Summer Dance School is also a community event not only for the participants of the workshops - for the second year in a row we will be inviting everyone interested to watch documentary films about Lithuanian contemporary dance artists: Goda Laurinavičiūtė, Airida Gudaitė, Laurynas Žakevičius and Agnija Šeiko. Also, every year on the closing day of the Summer Dance School, participants invite their friends and families and presents them results of the workshops in a form of short showings.
Arina Trostyanetskaya in her ballet class. Lithianian Dance Information Center archive
What is important when programming this event?
Every year the program has several parts: we always include contemporary dance technique and ballet. The third part is creative laboratories for those who seek to develop their creative process and not concentrate on the dance technique. It is important to prepare a participant-friendly Summer Dance School system, where she/he can choose the workshops in the desired level, that would benefit her/him the most and form her/his own schedule. All the seminars are continuous and has the same schedule for six days.
Tell me more about the creative laboratories. Who are they meant for?
Creative laboratories are open level activities dedicated for people who are not necessarily professional dancers, but use movement in their work and want to improve through movement. They can be actors, physical theatre, circus or parkour performers, acting students and even people practising martial arts. It is also important to say that these activities are happening in a form of creative laboratories that is not simply improving technique by learning somebody’s movements: everyone’s personal input is very important here so they could work on particular creative needs by using dance.
Summer Dance School. Lithianian Dance Information Center archive
How do you select the teachers? Are there any particular features that you take into account?
Teachers are selected by visiting various dance schools abroad and observing their classes. We always consider how professional they are, evaluate their choreographic maturity, pedagogical characteristics and, of course, personality. We are striving to have inspiring, charismatic teachers, because participants come to Summer Dance School not only for classes, but for communicating with teachers in non-formal environment as well. Our mission is to give people from the dance world an opportunity to have both technical preparation for the season and emotional boost too, so the social aspect is very important for us. We also always try to have at least a few teachers that already have a connection with Lithuania, for example - this year we have three teachers who performed in the New Baltic Dance festival this May. Since we try to bring teachers that you normally would not get so easy by yourself, they are changing every year, so it is rare to have someone back for a second year. It only happens if it is an exceptionally liked teacher and this year it is Arina Trostyanetskaya’s case.
What Summer Dance School program awaits this year?
As I have already mentioned, we will have seminars of three kinds: ballet, contemporary dance lessons and open lever creative laboratories. The content of the workshops usually depends on the teachers leading them and this year they are really special and very experienced, from ones of the best dance theatres and companies in the world. Celia Amade was a member of the very well known Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT), Arina Trostyanetskaya has danced in NDT 2, Samuel Lefeuvre and Florencia Demestri have both danced in „Les Ballets C de la B” - company of the world-famous choreographer Alain Platel, Ricardo Ambozio was a member of UltimaVez and Lorand Zachar - Budapest Dance Theatre dancer of many years who later worked for Codarts Theatre and now is teaching in Codarts Dance Academy. These are names which production we can only present in Lithuania once in a decade whereas here you have a possibility to get to know them in the dance classes.
Ricardo Ambrozio. Photo by Victor Gomes
Why is Summer Dance School worth attending?
This event is undoubtedly worth your attention. First of all, teachers here are especially professional, dancing in famous dance companies and teaching in dance schools known around the world. For example, these years’ teachers Samuel and Florencia this summer have their classes in B12 and Deltebre festivals, that have one of the strongest educational programs in Europe. Another aspect worth mentioning is the pricing that is extremely low compared to the real prices of these classes. If you would go to attend the same classes with the same teachers anywhere else in Europe, not only the travel costs would add, but you would pay at least five times more for the classes as well.
For more information on seminars, teachers, schedule and registration form head to www.dance.lt