There are two permanent contemporary dance festivals in Lithuania. Since 1989 m. Kaunas Dance Theatre “Aura” every year at the end of September – beginning of October arranges International Dance Festival Aura (previously known as Kaunas Festival of Modern Dance). Since 1997 Lithuanian Dance Information Centre (LDIC) in spring (end of April-beginning of May) organizes in Vilnius International Contemporary Dance Festival “New Baltic Dance” that has been programming primarily companies and choreographers from Nordic and Baltic countries. Multidisciplinary festival “PLArTFORMA” with strong focus on dance since 2005 at the end of August takes place in Klaipeda.
There are no venues devoted only to dance in Lithuania. Choreographers and companies usually have to rent the stages of the state or municipal drama theatres or cultural houses to present their projects publicly. Rehearsal premises of Kaunas Dance Theatre “Aura” sometimes are used as a venue for presentations of small scale dance performances. Arts Printing House, new space for contemporary performing arts in Vilnius, also offers professional conditions – two stages (203 and 50 seats) and sometimes rehearsal spaces there accommodate dance performances.
There are already first arts’ agencies in Lithuania, which besides of other functions works with dance, few choreographers/dance organizations – “Artscape” in Vilnius. While “Fish Eye” in Klaipeda puts efforts to represent or give a space to most active choreographers of their city.
4. Rehearsal spaces
Since end of 2007 Arts Printing House offers options of rehearsal spaces for contemporary dancers and choreographers, since the end of 2008 there are 3 permanent rehearsal premises in this institution. Also Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre have some rehearsal spaces as well as Ballet Department of National M.K.Čiurlionis School of Arts and Klaipeda University but usually those spaces can be used by outsiders only in the evenings. Some private dance studios recently started to receive also rehearsals of independent choreographers.
5. Touring/mobility structures and networks
There are no official touring/mobility structures in Lithuania. Mostly choreographers and companies themselves organize everything on the basis of income from tickets or projects’ financing.
6. Funding of mobility and touring of national and foreign dance companies
Lithuanian Council for Culture (converted from previous Culture Support Fund) which started to work in 2013 and some municipalities provide funding for artistic projects that also may include segments of touring. Thus, foreign dance companies or organizations are advised to find a partner organization in Lithuania – and via this way the project of touring in Lithuania might get local support. Lithuanian dance companies or projects since couple of years ago are allowed also to apply to the International Cultural Cooperation Program of Ministry of Culture for touring abroad. However, this is rather limited option.
7. Lithuanian dance abroad
New generation of Lithuanian dance has spread through some other countries and has been cultivating its muscles. Choreographers Andrius Katinas in Finland, Ugne Dievaityte in Spain, Vilma Pitrinaite between Belgium and France, Andrius Mulokas in Netherlands, Ieva Kuniskis in UK, dance critic Ingrida Gerbutaviciute is active both in Lithuania and Germany – those are only few to list.
So far only Arts Printing House has been developing activities of international performing arts residencies and various international dance operators are active in this.
Co-production possibilities are limited in Lithuania and are based on the venues’ and producers’ own initiative and economy. However, it should be understood that this term here at all is not treated in the same way as it is, for example, in Western Europe.
10. Daily training
Since 2009 Contemporary Dance Association of Lithuania started to organize daily training for professional dancers at the Arts Printing House. Contemporary dance classes are taught by members of association where they can share their experience gained in different dance seminars and schools abroad.
11. National features
Lithuanian contemporary dance is too motley for emphasizing some national features. Comparing with the USA and Western European dance it is very young – started mostly just in the years of independency (since 1990), and in Soviet times it could survive just on the amateurs level.
There is just one municipal contemporary dance theatre in Lithuania – Kaunas dance theatre Aura (under the leading of Birutė Letukaitė). Since 1997 around 10 dance companies/organizations were established by well known Lithuanian choreographers Vytis Jankauskas, Agnija Šeiko, Aira Naginevičiūtė, Birutė Banevičiūtė, Loreta Juodkaitė, Rūta Butkus and others. These companies work on project basis, granted by state or/and municipalities.
By Fish Eye / Lithuanian Dance Information Centre / Lithuanian Contemporary Dance Association, 01 August, 2014.