Creative Residencies at Home: Physical Distance Outweighed by Close Community

Following the announcement of quarantine in the spring, the Lithuanian Dance Information Centre (LDIC) decided to direct part of its activities and budget to the direct support of Lithuanian dance and circus artists. One of the initiatives was the LDIC remote creative residencies. Members of the contemporary dance and circus fields were selected via an open call and invited to immerse themselves in creative explorations in their own homes or other safe environments. Although the artists were separated by physical distance, LDIC and the residents have managed to create a common social space for new creative and educational processes.

Exchange of Ideas, Experiences and Emotions

Since May, fourteen creators from different disciplines have been participating in LDIC residencies. Some of them carry out choreography, movement art research, others work on dance films, develop circus work-in-progress and performances, create circus education strategies.

Erika Vizbaraitė and “MA Kingdom”. By Laura Vansevičienė

Every two weeks, the LDIC team and the residents, currently living in Lithuania, Germany and the Netherlands, rush to get online and start a video call. Conversation sessions bring together creators from different countries into a community, allowing them to share experiences and art practices from different countries. Every presentation of the project and the conversation after it is full of discussions, emotions and ideas. According to Gintarė Masteikaitė, the head of LDIC, at this stage the residents represent mentors to each other, which are usual in the residency process. At the same time, they improve the skills of presenting their work, which are very necessary in the performing arts industry.

“From the very beginning of the residencies, we wanted to maintain a direct relationship with the selected artists and encourage collaboration between them. Regular meetings allow us to get to know the creative process, to understand the issues better, to have a mutual learning process, teamwork and, most importantly, to develop closer ties with the dance and circus community. We are already exploring possibilities to develop and implement this program with foreign mentors. I think that this initiative was one of the better decisions we made in the face of the pandemic,” – says G. Masteikaitė.

Project by Marius Paplauskas

When the challenge of one artist becomes common

Artists participating in virtual meetings claim that this format of residencies offers new opportunities. During the residency, clownery artist Marija Baranauskaitė explores the virtual possibilities of creating an international performance and works with artists from various countries. More than half a hundred artists have responded to her open call to join the project, and now about fifteen artists from almost all continents of the world work remotely. “The opportunity to share your creative process with other Lithuanian creators is a wonderfully enriching thing. I think we have more than once felt a strong sense of community when something seemed just your own challenge. The new format – creating in a virtual space – is amazing now because I can continue to work with people from different parts of the world,” – says Marija.

Marija Baranauskaitė and “The World Around Sofa”. By Glasses’n beard photography

Aistė Kriukelytė, a movement artist experimenting with a virtual dance performance for one spectator, says that such a residence is a great support for her: “When I share the progress of my project and get feedback and questions from other residents, I can feel how my project looks from the outside, I consider the experiences and insights of others. It gives my ideas on how to develop it further, and sometimes just encourages me to do what I do. When I listen to what others have to share, it is interesting to observe the similarities between some projects and how we approach differently we approach things  like topics, experiences, work. In addition, there were times when I would get new ideas about my project through the sharing of others.”

Aistė Kriukelytė. By Dance Exploration Platform “Bitės”

Gildas Aleksa, theater director, one of the main conductors of the Teatronas troupe and the initiator of the contemporary circus festival Cirkuliacija, is actively working on a new idea during the LDIC residencies – preparation of the youth circus school strategy. “During the quarantine, I noticed a paradox – people communicate more. The same thing happened with the residents of LDIC: in addition to the financial support, the process gave the participants the opportunity to get acquainted with the artists developing the dance and circus field, to observe the process of their creative research, to get a lot of inspiration for their work. The feeling of community created a safe environment for mutual mentoring, everyone felt the right to express their opinions and suggestions, often encouragment. ”- Gildas shares his observations.

Gildas Aleksa. By D. Ališuskas, International Contemporary Circus Festival “Cirkuliacija”

Detailed presentations of all residents’ projects and news about the process of residencies can be followed on the LDIC Facebook and

LDIC activities are supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius City Municipality.

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