© Skaitmeninio Vaizdo Ložė
Leokadija Askeloviciute was born on April 30, 1939 in Naujasedziai. In 1959, she graduated from the Agripina Vaganova School of Choreography, St Petersburg. In 1959-1987, Askeloviciute worked as a ballet dancer in the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre, where she created roles in almost all-classical and Lithuanian ballets staged. Her roles include: Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Masha in "The Nutcracker" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Odette-Odillia in "The Swan Lake" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Kitri in "Don Quixote" by Liudvikas Minkus, Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet" by Sergej Prokofiev, Esmeralda in "The Paris Cathedral" by Cesare Pugni, Giselle in "Giselle" by Adolph Adam, Swanilda in "Coppelia" by Leo Delibes, Betty in "The Dying out Cross" by Antanas Rekasius, Megaite in "Passions" by Antanas Rekasius. Besides, Leokadija Askeloviciute performed the role of Egle in the first and the only film-ballet of the Lithuanian film studio "Egle, the Queen of Grass-Snakes", and the role of Drebulyte in the play of Eduardas Balsys.
The first and mostly valuable role for Leokadija Askeloviciute is Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Piotr Tchaikovsky. This role was both her debut, after she had completed her studies in St. Petersburg (Leningrad at that time) and returned to Vilnius, and her farewell with the stage in 1987. Often, with time, an artist "fuses" in plays and history, changes impressive roles for ordinary and poor ones. But the last Askeloviciute's Aurora, performed in the most creative manner, closed the ballet dancer's biography and created one more legend in the Lithuanian ballet history of the 20th century.
Askeloviciute's Aurora fascinated all ballet critics of those years. The peculiar spirit, optimistic tone of the role conformed to the atmosphere of the bright idealism of the period. It is difficult to restore the specific features, similarities and differences in all the versions of "The Sleeping Beauty" today, as there is not much filmed material left. So, it is possible to talk about it only by relying on few photographs that can hardly reveal the spirit of authentic motion. The last performance of Leokadija Askeloviciute took place on April 27, 1987. It was exceptionally exciting. It is hard to imagine what the ballet dancer was feeling when she last heard the music which had been inviting her to the miraculous world of dance for twenty years: just imagine the first going out, the great adagio, variations, dramatic scene of birth, pastel melancholy, triumphal pas de deux in the third act Still, the excitability and heavy presentiment of the parting did not distorted the dance form - the dancer remained faithful to the spirit of the Petersburg classics, and she did not allow even the smallest inaccuracy in her motions to occur. That evening Askeloviciute's Aurora fascinated not only with the admirable technique. More than that, everyone will remember the artist's ability to subordinate a great space of the stage, a great number of secondary personages, the orchestra, the scene and illumination, and to become the real and the last mistress of "The Sleeping Beauty". Today, the itching pain of the last curtsies, heavy, severe and merciless drop of the curtain, which then seemed the end of the world, and a torturing feeling that there is left something that was not told, danced, expressed has abated This play attracted much more attention than the first performance of the ballet dancer, because everyone understood that with Askeloviciute's Aurora, there came an end of the meaningful stage in the history of the Lithuanian ballet. It designated another stage: the first professional, directly connected with the classical traditions of the Russian ballet, and filled up with warm sensitiveness of Lithuanian dance manner.
Mindaugas Bauzys was born in Skuodas. He lived in Naujoji Akmene and Mazeikiai. Since 1990, he works in the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre. The role of Prince in "Cinderella" the artist prepared while studying in the Ballet School. His roles include: pas de trois in "The Swan Lake", princes in "The Snow White and Seven Dwarfs" and "The Nutcracker", staged by Brazdylis and Melanjin. Later he performed Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet", James in "La Sylphide", the Blue Bird and Prince Desire in "The Sleeping Beauty". Bauzys also danced "Pieta" and "Narcissi" by Jurijus Smoriginas, "Nuevo Flamenco" by Anzelika Cholina. At the New York Competition he had an opportunity to dance a variation from "The Four Temperaments" by Balanchine.
One of the first Bauzys' partners was Ingrida Cvetkovaite, later - Zivile Baikstyte, and his last roles Bauzys created with Ruta Jezerskyte. Bauzys danced the role of Basil with Miki Harmanaka, a probationer in the Lithuanian Opera House. Undoubtedly, Bauzys is the most remarkable Basil of his generation: the perfect appearance, artistic talent, manfully tempered and at the same time masterly dancing manner. The vivid personage of Bauzys, whose dancing elegance is purposefully made distinct using the genre details, never seen on our stage before, of energetic and nimble barber's behaviour, draws the spectators' attention: his personage is both concrete and abstract at the same time. Pas de deux variation and coda in the last act are distinguished for their inflaming energy and perfect plastic forms.
In the new production of the Klaipeda Music Theatre, the ballet "From the Artist's Life" by Jurijus Smoriginas, according to the music of Hector Berlioz, Bauzys dances together with Egle Spokaite.
Already at the concerts in the Ballet School, Nele Beliakaite attracted the audience's attention with enviable ballet-dancer's qualities and the sensation of dancing style. She is great in the modern choreographic miniatures, where one can feel not only her remarkable dancer's talent, but also her artistic nature. The list of her roles is not long yet, but it is impressive enough. She danced the role of Odette-Odillia in "The Swan Lake" by Piotr Tchaikovsky - it was her first large choreographic part and serious role that is difficult to hide under technical feats. The soloist of excellent constitution, graceful figure, good technique created the image of Swan-Princess irreproachably - her first appearance on the stage was very effective, without that sluggishness, often characteristic to odettes, her nervous gestures, expressive lines of arabesques and etudes decorate the exterior picture of the role and ask for addition of conscious inner energy. With the role of Odillia, Beliakaite demonstrated her technical talent and good co-ordination - she danced variation stylishly, suppressing the outbursts of insidious energy, she endured heroically a marathon of 32 fouette and enthralled Siegfried and the audience with crafty pirouettes of coda.
Her second big role is that of Giselle in the ballet "Giselle" by Adolphe Adam. In the first act the hero of Beliakaite is a young girl of awkward, nervous, twitching movements, it is difficult to say what love means to her, why thoughtless playing love caused such tragic results. In the scene of madness the artist escaped from the schematic round and became the expressive, really tragic being: there horrified her lustreless, wandering look, convulsive gestures trying to calm down the heart working in deadly speed. Dramatic strain, intensified in the end of the first act, remained on the stage till the appearance of Giselle in the second act. The resurrection of Giselle soul was the most dynamic and charming! The silhouette of amazing beauty (stylishly weighed down arms, backed head) with high, big and easy leaps breaks out of the dreadfully giddy vortex, anxiously wanders in the sombre dusk of cemetery and gradually calms, until distinct pirouettes in the air get stiff into the most excellent arabesque
The dancing manner of Nele Beliakaite suits perfectly for creation the image of Swanilda - her last classical role so far. This personage belongs to the caste of earthly heroes - she is jealous and coquettish, demonstratively gives the ring back, torments herself for her determination and forgives Franc his small lies - even to the mysterious workshop of Coppelio she comes decidedly disposed to get back fooled Franc, and accepts his repentance not as furious fiancé, but as forgivable mother. It is typical hero of XIXth. century - pragmatic, knowing her rights and possibilities, and able to fight for them.
Beliakaite is especially expressive in the episodes of modern choreography - mostly she danced in the works staged by Anzelika Cholina. Her Hornet in the miniature "Hornet" is extremely vital. In the rippling of nostalgic sounds of concertina in "The Women's Songs" it is impossible to forget Ida, performed by Nele Beliakaite - her attentive piercing look, almost unnoticeable nod, graceful wrists crumpling a cloak sliding down the shoulders. Her short episode reveals capacious suggestion of face expressions, mysterious frauds of fascinating kneels and insteps, covered and unveiled with the shining plaits of beautiful clothe. With the help of dancer's figure and motions' power, the choreographer fully realised her "alter ego" and the perpetuity of threatening, yet fascinating war epoch's beauty - resistant, trampled, but still of great vitality.
Egidijus Domeika is a former soloist of the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre (his roles include: Franc in "Coppelia", Desire in "The Sleeping Beauty", Raupys in "Baltaragis' Mill"). His as a choreographer's way is quite difficult. Domeika started from the cheerful, non-pretentious, neo-classical duets, later he created the works of serious and difficult themes, where the search of the independent and original plastic vanished in complicated philosophical labyrinths of plot. There were many of idle stage tricks in "Carmen", discrepancies of theme and form were present in "Caligula", where the author analysed the soul conflicts of a human being and a despot illustratively, and was not able to expressively formulate the original Caligula as the image of the hero who tortured and suffered. In this work, there revealed the rational, logical base of the ballet-master's plastic, based on the classical dancing technique, reformed motions and their combinations. The chosen music by Dmitry Shostakovitch was unfavourable to the unity of the play and dictated its dramaturgical logic. Events expressed in music flow easily, consistently, but they look idle and false in the ballet plot. Events that should happen, are present in "Caligula", but they are not consistent with the tissue of the play and its emotional intensity. An episode follows episode, but they are not linked with intensive artistic relations, they are rarely the cause and the result of each other.
The last work of Domeika - "Egle, the Queen of Grass-Snakes" - shows the artist's creative manner that is becoming more liberal, his refuse of the strange directing pretentiousness, his attempt to base on the usual form of classical ballet, sometimes enlivened with the details of more interesting silhouette, posture and motion. At the same time, Domeika tried to preserve the conditional meanings of ballet scene, but it was not enough for the artist, so he determined himself to the more direct, more capacious plastic.
Loreta Bartuseviciute created the main roles of classical and modern repertoire in the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre in 1976-1987. From the beginning of last decade in this century, in her creative way there distinguished biographies written on the stages of Vilnius and other regions. The first remarkable offer for Bartuseviciute was made after the premiere of "A Proba", in the spring of 1989, when an impresario Michael Tietz invited her to participate in the international dancers company's tour in Germany, Switzerland, Austria. In this tour Bartuseviciute danced the role of Mirta in the second act of "Giselle" for forty-nine times, and the part of Maria Taglioni in the excellent "Pas de Quatre" by ser Antonio Dolin. This episode Bartuseviciute prepared in Vilnius with the coach Lijana Dislere, and later improved it for several times. Maria Brissonskaya, a famous French ballet-dancer of Russian origin, performed the role of Giselle in this tour.
In the spring of 1991 (in April and May), Loreta Bartuseviciute took part in Rudolf Nureyev's "The Farewell Tour", again invited by Michael Tietz, a comrade of Rudolf Nureyev, a Maria's Brissonskaya's husband. In the main theatres of Scandinavia (in Oslo, Stockholm) and Great Britain (in Liverpool, Edinburg, Manchester, London, Cambridge, Briton) Loreta Bartuseviciute danced pas de six from the ballet "Neapoli" by August Bournonville, "Pas de Quatre", and in some concerts - the special, edited by Rudolf Nureyev pas de deux from "Don Quixote" (together with Andrej Fedotov). In this tour Nureyev, together with French Evelyn Desutter and Danish Vivi Flindt, danced "The Lesson", arranged by Fleming Flindt. In the end of the concert Nureyev usually danced "The Songs of Wayfarer" (together with Andrej Fedotov) by Maurice Bejart, according to the music of Gustav Mahler or "Mauro Pavana" (together with Evelyn Dessuter, Vivi Flindt and Andrej Fedotov) by Jose Limon, according to the music of Henry Purcelli. Symbolically, Nureyev's, one of the greatest ballet-dancer's of the 20th century, farewell tour with the stage became the last "goodbye" to Life
For some of the new roles Bartuseviciute should be thankful to her Sylphide, one of the most remarkable personages in her artistic biography. In the ballet "La Syphide" by Auguste Bournonville, staged in many Soviet countries in eighties, Bartuseviciute danced in St Petersburg, Moscow - in the Great Theatre (during the visit of Lithuania's dancers and singers company in 1986), in the Stanislavsky Theatre, in the Kremlin Party Congress House (together with Andrej Fedotov). In 1991, Sylphide induced the ballet master Andrej Petrov to invite Bartuseviciute to his "Kremlin Ballet" company for the role of Ludmila in the new ballet "Ruslan and Ludmila", arranged by Alexandr Agafonnikov according to the music of Michail Glinka. Bartuseviciute danced Ludmila in the general review and in the second premiere. The ballet was staged on a large Russian scale - three long acts, the most difficult libretto, almost word for word as in Pushkin's poem, a great number of personages, expensive and splendid decorations and costumes. Preparing this role, Bartuseviciute was coached by Jekaterina Maksimova. The author succeeded to see both premieres of "Ruslan and Ludmila". In the first play there was engaged Margarita Levina, a technical dancer with quite average artistic abilities, as many ballet dancers in the main and provincial Russian theatres. In the background of her dancing, the ballet-master's inviting Bartuseviciute for this role seemed very reasonable - the artist sparkled with inflaming temperament, impressive dancing technique, she was able not to lose herself in the labyrinths of choreographic poem and to give it the original, suggestive, unforgettable colours. Her hero was not a schematic strophe of classical poem, but a lively, energetic, playful, witty girl even in austere scenes with Tchernomor.
With "Kremlin Ballet" Bartuseviciute participated in some concert programs, where she danced Aurora's adagio with four princes from "The Sleeping Beauty" and "Pas de Quatre", which, fortunately, was filmed and so left for our ballet history. Bartuseviciute's Taglioni is admirable for the sensation of the romantic style, moderate dancing manner, precise poses, precision and polished technique of small gestures, very important for such plays. It draw the audience's attention with an elevated emphasis on the old dance ethics, stylised ceremoniality of nods and gestures, melting in mysterious music sounds of Cezare Pugni.
The season of 1993-94 Bartuseviciute spent in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, with her husband Virgilijus Noreika. Having no contract, but only remembrance about the Lithuanian ballet dancers company's visit here in July, 1989 (then Bartuseviciute with Viktor Barykin danced Maria in "Pachito" by Marijus Petipa and Liudvikas Minkus, and with Jonas Katakinas in "Pieta" by Jurijus Smoriginas according to the music of Gustav Mahler, and pas de deux from "Giselle"), Bartuseviciute had to fight for her name again. Vincente Nebrada, the artistic director of the Teres Carreno Theatre pleasingly permitted Bartuseviciute to attend the lessons of this ballet company, maybe the most important one in Caracas. Later Nebrada offered Bartuseviciute to work in the Keyla Ermeceo Theatre. She danced there for four months. From her newer works there could be mentioned "Una Dansa Para Ti" by Vincentes Nebrada, which is performed by five pairs of soloists with excellent variations. Bartuseviciute had an opportunity to rehearse and dance in "Appolo Musagete" by Georges Balanchine. In December, Bartuseviciute participated in the Christmas play "The Nutcracker". Besides many other parts in this divertissement play, Bartuseviciute performed an Indian dance, which brought her excellent comments of the press and colleagues. In "The Nutcracker" there was Nina Novak, the last prima ballet-dancer of Ballet Ruse de Monte Carlo. After the play finished, she offered Bartuseviciute to work in her company "Classical Chamber Ballet". Here Bartuseviciute danced a number of solo parts, such as pas de deux from the second act of "The Swan Lake", "Pas de Quatre", Gamzati and Soloro pas de deux from "Bayadere" by Liudvigas Minkus, "The Dying Swan" by Cammile Saint-Saens and Michail Fokin. In this company there also worked Mariela Delgado, a famous ballet soloist and a choreographer. A month later, she offered Bartuseviciute a role in her play "Dialogo de Carmelitas", the philosophical paraphrase about the inevitability of Death, arranged according to the music by Francis Poulenc, basing on the historical motives of French Revolution. Nina Novak took part in this play, too: she performed the role of Mother. Bartuseviciute created a personage of Blanche who meets the Death as an inevitability. In the company of Nina Novak, Bartuseviciute also danced "Pas de Quatre", where Nina Novak corrected some lines and stylistic spirit, at the same time asking Bartuseviciute's advice as well.
The autumn season of 1994 Bartuseviciute started in Vilnius. On the eve of 1995, there was a premiere of "Don Quixote" by Liudvigas Minkus, in 1995 there showed up "Egle, the Queen of Grass-Snakes" by Egidijus Domeika - a ballet, in which Bartuseviciute danced till the end of her creative career in 1997.
Her last big role was that of Medea in "Medea", staged by Anzelika Cholina.
NELE BEREDINA, PETRAS SKIRMANTAS
N. Beredina and P.Skirmantas
There is no doubt that for some last decades, next to Loreta Bartuseviciute, Nele Beredina was the most creative, impressive celebrity of the Lithuanian ballet. Her creative individuality is not separable from the legend duet of her and Petras Skirmantas - they together danced all main roles in the repertoire of our theatre. They were engaged in "The Sleeping Beauty" and "The Swan Lake" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, "Coppelia" by Leo Delibes, "Giselle" by Adolphe Adam, "Don Quixote" by Liudvigas Minkus, "Raimonda" by Alexandr Glazunov, "La Sylphide" by Herman Lovenskjold, "The Blue Danube" by Johan Strauss, etc. Their duet prepared a number of episodes of classical and temporary choreography independently, thus satisfying their passionate creative thirst, because the policy of the Lithuanian ballet repertoires was not able to slake that thirst. Such parts of the duet as "Pas de Deux" by Daniel Francois Aubert, arranged by Viktor Gzovsky, the duet of "Korsar" by Adolphe Adam, "Esmeralda" pas de deux by Cesares Pugni became the classics of the Lithuanian performance art. On Skirmantas' initiative, the duet also performed the choreographic classics of the 20th century - the works of George Balanchine, Maurice Bejart, Roland Petit. Sadly, these choreographic masterpieces with their irreproachable beauty, trembling charm of the moment pass away, remaining only in the frozen photographs and films. Maybe today it is too early to generalise the creative way of Beredina, but her dancing, which spread and flourished on our ballet stage since 1975, has undoubtedly contributed to the remarkable development of the contemporary Lithuanian ballet: Beredina's unexceptionable speech of motions, exact poses of classical ballet, cantilena of dance was an inflaming example for the present dancers' generation and it will remain in silhouettes of Egle Spokaite, Ruta Jezerskyte, Nele Beliakaite.
Ausra Gineityte was born on July 12, 1962 in Vilnius. After graduating from the choreography department in the Ciurlionis School of Art, since 1980 she works in the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre. Gineityte is the most remarkable dancer of mediocre generation. Mostly she performs the modern and character dances, though she has also created a number of memorable roles in classical ballets, such as Mirta in "Giselle" by Adolphe Adam, Lilac Fairy in "The Sleeping Beauty", Francisca in "The Blue Danube", the impressive "The Dying Swan" by Michael Fokin. The modern choreography of Jurijus Smoriginas helped to open the artistic talent of Gineityte - there could be mentioned her unforgettable role of Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" by Jurijus Smoriginas and significant role of Augustia in the talented one-act ballet "Home of Bernarda Alba" by Jurijus Smoriginas.
Gineityte is an irreplaceable performer of divertissements in classical ballets. Her role of Mercedes is especially excellent, this role was performed suggestively by Gineityte also in the former version of Brazdylis. The artist, with the generous sense of proportion so characteristic to her, renders the stylised and not naturalistic image of Spanish dance, and her Gypsy dance in Mills' episode is a real chef-d'oeuvre. The artist conforms inflaming expression with brave artistic stylisation, her motions are manifold, they have no physical straightforwardness and really enthral the spectator by the most lithe silhouettes of gestures and subtle dramatic effects.
Anzelika Cholina opened the new creative side of Gineityte - in "The Women's Songs", the most successful dance play of last season, Gineityte created a very dramatic personage. Her episode the most expressively revealed not the parade atmosphere of the play, but its true implication, the backstage, where everything is real - the feelings, pain, a fear of hazy future. This is even not a woman's song, more likely it is a tragic lament, expressive, awkward, irrepressible inside, not a complaint, but a sigh of womanhood, crushed and disdained by military uniform. There are no those refined and coquettish motions, present in other parts and episodes of the play - there could be much more of such intent look not only to the voice's melody, but also to the heart where this melody springs up and hides. Now the artist rehearses in "Carmen", .the newest play of Cholina
Ruta Jezerskyte became the real "ballet-dancer" in Lozana, after she took the first place at the International Ballet Competition in January of 1994, still studying in the Vilnius Choreography School. This way Jezerskyte strengthened the school's confidence in her and opened the doors for further international prizes, won by other Lithuanian dancers.
The first play Ruta Jezerskyte has seen was "The Sleeping Beauty" by Tchaikovsky. She watched it standing for three and a half-hours, and it made the greatest impression on her. Since then she has a constantly cherished wish to dance. While studying at the Vilnius Choreography School, Jezerskyte not only "crammed" the dance alphabet, but she understood what is the ballet theatre, learned to give motions an aesthetical value and meaning.
The roles of Jezerskyte come one after another, in consecutive order, at low speed. The artist does not try to rush the loftiness of classical repertoire. At the Choreography School she danced Cinderella in the difficult three-act ballet, and here she fascinated with her Cinderella's conversion to Princess. The first her difficult (in the sense of technique) role was that of Pachita, danced at the school parting feast concert. The part, demanding high technique and tenacity easily surrendered to Ruta and confirmed her co-ordination and talent to be a soloist.
Jezerskyte has already created a number of small and large memorable roles, such as Snow White and Mari in "The Nutcracker", Amur in "Don Quixote", pas de deux in the first act of "Giselle" (this duet variation fascinated the judges at Lozana competition), Princess Florina in "The Sleeping Beauty". The latter role is suited for fragile figure of the dancer: technical side of the part absolutely melts in romantic atmosphere, a dreamy princess immerses in sorcery vortices of the Blue Bird.
There was highly appraised one more serious debut of Jezerskyte - the role of Juliet in the ballet "Romeo and Juliet" by Sergej Prokofiev. The attractive feature of Jezerskyte's roles - the organic inner relations between the personage and the dancer. This could be said about Raimonda in the ballet by Alexandr Glazunov, and especially about the role of Aurora, which was awarded the St. Christopher statuette in 1997/1998 theatre season. That could sound tritely, but together with timid steps of Jezerskyte - Aurora, coming down to the feast hall, there brightened both the theater stage and the play. Lively excitement in the hall, roused by Aurora's appearance, penetrated into the frayed decorations and remained there until the end of the play. The soloist demonstrated an exceptional talent to create an ingenuous relation with her hero, every time enriching it with different nuances. Even a bit noticeable trepidation of Princess debut on the stage originally extended the image of Aurora, first participating in the feast. The graceful timidity in encirclement of four princes seemed so natural and understandable that it even excused some performance mistakes. The main thing is that there was created an indeed distinct image of Aurora, that our stage was lacking for a long time. The perfect appearance, vivid and warm face, the main accent of which is sensitive look, communicating with the audience and partners, together with Ruta Jezerskyte's Aurora rehabilitate our stage with the compliments, made to Leokadija Askeloviciute's Aurora that shined some decades ago. In the mystic kingdom of the second act Jezerskyte refused the concrete details from the first act and created the abstract picture of Aurora, the Prince Desire's vision, and the third act alloyed the real and imaginary features of Aurora. The famous pas de deux variation was performed excellently - exceptionally lively, gracefully and elegantly, creating the pulsing relationship among Jezerskyte, Aurora and the audience.
The last Ruta's works with contemporary Lithuanian choreographers are very interesting.
The artist dances Glauke in the two-act ballet "Medea" by Anzelika
Cholina. This is a plastic personage, Jason's passion and the cause of Medea's
suffering. She is fragile, almost limpid, a real contrast to the bad and difficult
nature of Medea. Jezerskyte's fatal dance with poisoned mantle is exceptionally
talented - she dances with all her bodies, inventively shows her end approaching
and fights for her life to the utmost.
One of the greatest discoveries in the contemporary Lithuanian choreography there became a miniature dedication to Olga Malejinaite, the Lithuanian ballet star in inter-war period "My Life", arranged by the ballet master Jurijus Smoriginas and danced by Ruta Jezerskyte. The artist precisely felt the choreographer's idea - basing on ecstatic, naive aesthetics of pre-war ballet, she created both the curtsy to sacrifice and love to ballet, and philosophical conclusion about dancer's destiny. "The Dying Swan" by Michail Fokin and Ana Pavlova, which illuminated the beginning of the 20th ballet century, takes absolutely different shape and meaning in the end of this century, thanks to Smoriginas. Smoriginas and Jezerskyte transform the sentimental confrontation with the dying beauty into much more painful vision of dancer's work's accessibility: why this shining beam of inspiration attracts so strongly and why it disappears so immediately?
This Jezerskyte's episode fascinated the judges at the prestigious International Ballet Competition in Jackson, America in June 13-27, 1998. Ruta Jezerskyte was awarded the silver medal in the elder dancers group.
Jonas Katakinas was born on October 16, 1950 in Vieksniai, the region of Akmene. In 1971, he graduated from the choreography department of the Ciurlionis School of Art, in 1970, he was invited to the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre, where he worked till 1993. In 1973-1974, Jonas Katakinas attended a training course in the Maria Theatre, St Petersburg. His first remarkable roles - those of Siegfried in "The Swan Lake" and Albert in "Giselle" - Katakinas prepared in the Kirov (today - Maria) Theatre, St Petersburg, together with Irina Kolpakova, Vladilen Semionov, and his partner Antanina Pirmaitiene. Later, in the Lithuanian Opera House he performed many roles with such partners as Nina Antonova, Svetlana Masaniova, several roles with the world-famous stars, such as Russian Galina Mezentseva, Italian Liliana Kozi, Karla Prachi. In the last years of his ballet dancer's career, Katakinas danced with Loreta Bartuseviciute.
Katakinas performed all the most important roles of the classical repertoire, such as Desire in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Prince in "The Nutcracker" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Basil in "Don Quixote" by Liudvikas Minkus, Franc in "Coppelia" by Leo Delibes, Franc in "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss.
roles in the Lithuanian ballet plays are remarkable to the Lithuanian ballet
history. His roles include Zilvinas in "Egle, the Queen of Grass-Snakes"
by Eduardas Balsys, Baltaragis in "Baltaragis' Mill" by Viatcheslav
Ganelin, Kastytis in "Jurate and Kastytis" by Juozas Gruodis.
Katakinas showed his vivid artistic dancer talent in the modern choreography. He performed Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet" by Sergej Prokofiev, Mandarin in "Miraculous Mandarin" by Bela Bartok, and Karenin in "Ana Karenina" by Rodion Shchedrin. In the sense of dramatics, his role of Karenin in "Ana Karenina" by Rodion Shchedrin, was perhaps one of the strongest roles in Katakinas' career. Four times Katakinas' partner was the legend of the ballet world - Maja Plisetskaja. At the 100th play of "Ana Karenina" in the Great Theatre, the role of Karenin was performed by Jonas Katakinas.
of the last plays of Katakinas was the role of James in the Romanesque ballet
"La Sylphide" by Herman Lovenskjold and August Bournonville, where
the artist perfectly "tuned" the dance technique, the sensation of
the romantic ballet style, and artistic abilities.
After devoting twenty-three years to the stage, Jonas Katakinas silently left it with the performance of Jesus in the ballet "A Proba" by Antal Fodor. Still, Katakinas did not leave the ballet world, because he found his place in it as a talented teacher and coach. As far back as 1994, Ruta Jezerskyte, a student of the Vilnius School of Ballet then, trained by Katakinas, became the first at the International Ballet Competition "Prix de Lausanne". The same year, Egle Spokaite was awarded the gold medal, and her partner Edvardas Smalakys - the silver medal at the International Ballet Competition "Arabesque" in Perm. Egle Spokaite, trained by Katakinas, won three important awards: the bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition "Maya '94" in St Petersburg, and two gold medals at the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki (1995) and at the Second International Japan Ballet and Modern Dance Competition (1996). Katakinas also trained Nele Beliakaite - a young soloist of the Vilnius Opera House, who took the second place at the International Ballet Competition "Prix de Lausanne" in 1995. And the last success of Katakinas as the coach, was the silver medal of Ruta Jezerskyte at the International Jackson Ballet Competition in the United States.
Vytautas Kudzma was born on July 5, 1946 in Nendriniai, the region of Marijampole. In 1965, he graduated from the School of Choreography, Moscow. Since 1965, he dances in the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre. He created such roles, as Desire in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Prince in "The Nutcracker" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Siegfried in "The Swan Lake" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, Basil in "Don Quixote" by Liudvikas Minkus, Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet" by Sergej Prokofiev, Albert in "Giselle" by Adolph Adam, Franc, later Coppelio in "Coppelia" by Leo Delibes, Marius in "On the Sea-Shore" by Julius Juzeliunas, Ugnius in "Audrone" by Juozas Indra, Vronskij in "Ana Karenina" by Rodion Shchedrin, Baltaragis in "Baltaragis' Mill" by Viatcheslav Ganelin.
Edvardas Smalakys was born on the 4th of July 1968. Now he is one of the most famous ballet artists in Lithuania and Estonia.
graduated from Vilnius ballet school in 1968 and started to dance in the
Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Since that time he is dancing
all major roles in the repertoire of Lithuanian as well as Estonian theatres.
One of the first roles created by E.Smalakys still in the ballet school
was Prince in the play "Cinderella". He also created a prince role in
the play "Snow-Maiden and 7 Tom thumbs". E.Smalakys was invited for the
debut in "Coppelia" for the solo role of Franc. "Playing the character
of Franc - a young men in love - the artist is demonstrating skills of
youthful playfulness [Ine Rietspad "HPC CHANDELSBLAD"].
Artist's the most favorite is Albert character in the Adolph Adam ballet "Giselle". "Edvardas Smalakys is worthy of great praise for his role of Herzog Albert. This is the way the real art is appearing." [John Van Buren "Theatre AGNIETENCHOF"].
In 1996 Edvardas have prepared a Prince role in the P.Tchaikovsky ballet "Nutcracker. " Since Prince character is not well-considered, E.Smalakys is doing everything to make this role maximally striking." [H. Šabasevicius]. "Prince character is disclosed colorfully. First at all movement style should be mentioned: what elegance. Artist's dancing level is excellent. Prince grand pas-de-deux was played amazingly. His dance is charming"[Paul Rooyackers "HAARLEMS DAGBLAD"].
A special place among the artist's roles belongs to Romeo in Sergey Prokofjev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet". "The dancer is showing the best of the classic school. Edvardas Smalakys realized the full of strength Romeo" ["KIEKER NACHRICHTEN"]. "Excitement leaded the Lithuanian ballet, especially it's prime dancers - Edvardas Smalakys in the role of Romeo. His virtuosity rendered the charm of unbelievable love." [Bruno Laurent "MESSAGER"]. "The graceful Romeo - E.Smalakys loves unreal idealistic living being until the human reality is disclosed. The solo part is danced on a very high level, the dancer, as it should be, is noble and reserved comparing with the others". [George Jackson "Ballet Alert! Online].
One of the most remarkable roles created by Edvardas Smalakys in the year 2000 - Vronski in the ballet "Ana Karenina". "Recently Edvardas Smalakys, characterized by his strong manner of dancing, have created an interesting many-colored role of Vronski in "Anna Karenina" in Estonian National Theatre" [P.Skirmantas]. Dramatic tone, expressive motion and clear emotional peaks are dominating in solo episodes. Edvardas Smalakys is using organic plastic and reliable partnership to expose the character of Vronski. The dancer remains calm which helps him to create a continuous personage". [H.Šabasevicius].
"In duets with Anna E.Smalakys was acting as a very noble partner. Gallantry and culture are characteristic to him. He amazingly succeeds to clear up emotional feelings of his personage" [T.Unanova]. "The character of Anna is exposed by the upswings, organically implemented into the plastic duet dramaturgy by E.Smalakys. The artist showed himself as a reliable partner, helping to create combinations of duet dance. His artistic nature and mimics enabled to keep distance between the dancer and his personage."[H.Šabasevicius]. During his career Edvardas was working with the famous Lithuanian and foreign choreographs: J.Smorigin, A. Fiodor, G.Aleksidze, E.Vycichovska, A.Melanin, V.Vasiljev, K.Pastor, X.P.Jang, Pastor and others. He created many different roles, as: Bazil - in the ballet "Don Kichot" by L.Minkus; Chose, Toreador - in "Carmen", Jason - in "Medeya", Nerey - in "Calygula", Demetr - "A midsummer night dream", Prophet - in "St.Spring", John the Christener - in "Shecherezade", Makbet - in "Makbet", Jorga - "Greek Zorba", Sizif in "Sizif"and many others. E.Smalakys has created many classic and modern dance roles together with Russian ballet artists: N.Kurgapkina, Ter.Stepanova, E.Maksimova, G. and M. Krapivin, V.Barykin, G.Komleva, O.Sokolov, L.Miasin. As a consequence of this was developed a special style in motion and music. In 1994 "Edvardas Smalakys was the first from Lithuanian dancers to be awarded in the competition - the second prize in Perm (Russia)" [A.Imbrasas]. The same year "duet of E.Smalakys and E.Špokaite was evaluated by the special prize of V.Vasiljev and J.Maksimova" [L.Gulbinaite]. In 1996 Edvardas was awarded with the diploma in the International competition of ballet and modern dance in Nagoja, Japan. In 1996 the President of Lithuania Algirdas Brazauskas decorated Edvardas Smalakys with an order of "Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, 4th degree".
Together with the ballet company of Lithuania National Opera and Ballet theatre E.Smalakys was on tour in Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, United States, Greece, Egypt, and Italy. There he was dancing the main roles in the plays "The Swan Lake", "The Sleeping Beauty", "Giselle", "Coppelia", "Romeo and Juliet". With the concert program he was on tour in Latin America, US, Russia, Poland, Japan, France. In cooperation with the ballet company of Moscow Big Theatre E.Smalakys was working in Venezuela, together with Georgia theatre colleagues - in Malta.
In 1995 during the Shlezvig-Holshtain festival Edvardas was dancing solo role of Romeo ("Romeo and Juliet"), to the accompaniment of Europe youth symphony orchestra, conducted by M.Rostropovich. Fascinated by the professionalism of solo dancers and the whole Lithuania national ballet company, M.Rostropovich invited them to participate in all his jubilee concerts. In 1997-1998 they took place in the major concert halls throughout the world, and E.Smalakys was dancing the main role of Romeo. "The famous maestro M.Rostropovich wanted to see namely <...> E.Smalakys - as Romeo." [A.Andrikonyte]
Edvardas is constantly participating in concerts, competitions and festivals of different genre, as: - song festival, concert and opera "Lithuanians" organized by American Lithuanians; - R. Nurijev festival in Kazan; - the opening ceremony of Latvian National Theatre; - Traku festival; - M.K.Ciurlionis jubilee concert; - concert of laureates of M.Pliseckaja ballet artist competition in France - the Pier Cardin theatre; - M.Pliseckaja jubilee concerts in Russian Big Theatre (Moscow), Marijine theatre (St. Petersburg), City Center (New York, USA), many other events in Poland, Estonia - jubilee concert of prima Donna K.Korb ; Russia, Japan. As a partner E. Smalakys participated in the international competitions "Maja 94" (St Petersburg), Helsinki (Finland). Due to the professionalism of E. Smalakys, as well as his special ballet mentality and extraordinary skills of partnership he was invited to work in the Estonian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. In Tallinn Edvardas have prepared and dances the role of Vronski in the play Anna Karenina, as well as solo roles in the plays "Sleeping Beauty", "The Swan Lake", "Giselle".
Egle Spokaite is undoubtedly one of the Lithuanian ballet stars of young generation. She was born in 1971 in Vilnius. Spokaite graduated from the Vilnius School of Choreography. A tall, having fine figure ballet-dancer already draws the attention while participating in the school plays. In the years of studies, Egle tried to supplement the dancing technique with expressive acting and the analysis of the play. These features today are still more improved. She danced all the roles of classical ballet repertoire. And she is not only dancing - with the each play she strengthens her conception of ballet as the theatre, step by step approaches the legend personages.
Symbolically, one of the first her remarkable roles is that of Swanilda from "Coppelia" by Leo Delibes. Egle Spokaite's Swanilda is fascinating by her unaffectedness, the harmony of ordinary feelings and choreographic forms, that suggestively helps to suppress the morbid visions of her fiancé Francz. The ballet-dancer is tender and sensitive in duets, self-confident and independent in solo episodes - and this self-confidence lets her successfully disentangle through the labyrinth of precarious plot.
The role of Odette-Odillia in "The Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky demanded from the ballet-dancer to separate clearly the lyrical and resolute sides of her personality. The dancer calls Odette-Odillia one of the most risky choreographic parts, in her point of view, this role demands the special creative efforts.
One of the most successful Egle Spokaite's roles is the one of modest Giselle from the romantic ballet by Adolphe Adam. The dancer calls this play the most modern choreographic work. The ballet-dancer created a character, balancing between the abstraction and concreteness: her Giselle is humane and fragile, and at the same time she is the sign of love, disappointed, but still able to forgive. Excellent figure, graceful picture of silhouette, subtle motions of hanged head and dropped arms in the second act are especially suggestive, they sound as the harmonious visual accompaniment of sensitive Adam's music.
Egle Spokaitealso dances in the ballet "Romeo and Juliet" by Sergej Prokofiev, staged by Vladimir Vasiliev, which had a great luck at the Schlezvig-Holstein Festival. The music of Prokofiev is one of the most admirable to Spokaite- it is enough to listen attentively to it, and it will create the role instead of you. Her Juliet reminds the real personage of Shakespeare: they are similar in age, appearance, spontaneous relationship with the world, and even more - in tragic destiny of duel between youth and senseless death.
Egle's Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Tchaikovsky gained a wide audience during the Lithuanian dancers' company's visit in Holand. The admirable silhouette of the dancer, her proportions approach the ideal of mysterious princess. Her episodes are stylish and deliberate, and at the same time easy and graceful. Egle's Aurora is like the abstract beauty, arranged from the wonderful world's values, received from six good fairies. The most important to Egle in this play is to create the festive, enthusiastic spirit and stylish choreographic atmosphere.
In "Don Quixote" by Liudvikas Minkus Egle dances the roles of Kitri and Street dancer. These are two different parts - the former is based on classic forms, and the later - on the expressive and emotional dancing. The organic whole, cheerful vitality of these roles, performed by Egle, is excellent and able to enthral the audience.
In 1995, the ballet critics announced Egle Spokaite best Lithuanian ballet-dancer. She was awarded at a number of international festivals: took the first place at the International Ballet Competition in Perm, was awarded the third premium at the St Petersburg Ballet Competition "Maja", the main prize at the International Competition in Helsinki in 1995, not long ago she was awarded the Grand Prix at the International Classical and Modern Ballet Competition in Nagoya (Japan). In all the plays and competitions Egle dances with her partner Edvardas Smalakys, whose attentive support is evident in all their dances. Maybe that's why the most pleasant prize to Egle, won at Perm Festival, is the one of Jekaterina Maksimova and Vladimir Vasilyev "For the Best Duet".
Egle Spokaitealso dances in the plays of contemporary choreographers - already
in the first season of her work in the theatre she danced in the excellent ballets
"Home of Bernarda Alba" and "The Last Pagan Rituals" by
Smoriginas, according to the music by Bronius Kutavicius. Egle's dancing in
the amazing, based on refined combination of feelings and motions, duet "Carmen"
by Smoriginas, is exceptionally organic, colourful and dramatic. "One-part
Etude" by Gustav Mahler, a clear watercolour of the subtlest choreographic
and emotional details, expose an absolutely opposite side of the ballet-dancer's
talent, reveals an enviable plastic musicality, striking piano of gestures and
One of the last Spokaite's works in the Lithuanian State Opera House is the role of Carmen in the ballet "Carmen" by Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor.
Currently, Egle Spokaiteworks in the Riga National Opera - here, in "The Yellow Tango", created by Russian choreographer Ala Sagalova, she is distinguished for her artistic nature. It is difficult to find the words that could describe her plastic: she dances with all her body, her body moves and changes together with the smallest alterations in musical phrase, the scale of her face expressions is especially broad and, evidently, it surpasses intentions of "The Yellow Tango", concentrates the audience's attention and unwittingly takes it from other dancers. Her dancing could not be called too emotional or exalted - the artist carries through the rational and arrogant nature of Sigalova's created motions, still, in her dancing these features are supplemented with the spiritual and emotional stress, with the creative dimension - vital and humane, inexpressible in words.
Jolanta Valeikaite was born in Vilnius in 1963. In 1981, she graduated from the choreography department of the Ciurlionis School of Art, and later performed the main parts in the ballets of classical and contemporary repertoire in the Lithuanian Opera House. Her roles include: Princess Florina in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Piotr Tchaikovsky, the Mistress of Driades in "Don Quixote" by Minkus, Snow White in "The Snow White and Seven Dwarfs" by Pavlovsky, Mari in "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky, Coppelia in "Coppelia" by Delibes, Jurate in "Jurate and Kastytis" by Gruodis, Franciska in "The Blue Danube" by Strauss, Sylphide in "La Sylphide" by Lovenskjold, Aura in "Aura" by Rekasius , Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty" and Odette-Odilia in "The Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky. Valeikaite became a laureate at the international competitions in Varna and Paris in 1988.
In 1989, Valeikaite with the Vladimir Vasilyev's company went on tour to USA. With the same company she danced at Monpelier Festival and at the celebration of 50th anniversary of Vasilyev. In 1990, she, together with theatre soloist Petras Skirmantas, danced solo in Ruth Page ballet company in "The Nutcracker" (Chicago). In 1991, after the tour in London with Sergej Radchenko's company, she went to Germany. She accidentally found out that Valerij Panov is formulating dancers' company for Bonna Stadt Opera in Bona. In this company Valeikaite danced for two years. She performed the main roles in classical ballets "Romeo and Juliet", "Three Sisters", "Cinderella", staged by Valerij Panov.
Later Valeikaite had a contract with the Essen Opera House - Aalto-Theater Essen. Here, in the international ballet company of 24 dancers, Valeikaite danced for some years. Different neo-classical ballets were staged by American and European choreographers, such as Nils Cristi ("Before Night Falls"), Hans van Hanen ("Adagio hammerklavier"), Rudi van Dant ("The Last Four Songs"), Toero van Schayk ("7 symphony").
Vytautas Brazdylis is one of the most outstanding Lithuanian choreographers of the end of the eighties and nineties. He came to the Lithuanian ballet history with his choreography of "Baltaragis' Mill" by Viatcheslav Ganelin, "Coppelia" by Leo Delibes. For some time Brazdylis was a soloist of the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre (one of his striking roles was that of Basil in "Don Quixote" by Liudvikas Minkus). Later he studied choreography in St Petersburg.
In 1978, at the end of his studies, Brazdylis staged "Don Quixote" by Liudvikas Minkus. "Baltaragis' Mill", which was created in the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre in 1979, was almost the first step of the Lithuanian ballet towards the modern choreography. The play was produced following the music of a very popular at that time musical by Viatcheslav Ganelin and that of a film "The Devil's Bride" by Arunas Zebriunas. It managed to find its audience and to win its independent honour. Looking from the perspective of today's choreography, this work of Brazdylis could indeed be called the herald of the Lithuanian dance theatre turning point. The dramatically integral libretto by Sigitas Geda, who managed to keep to the poetical spirit of Kazys Boruta's story, the resourceful choreography and its excellent solo episodes, duets, group compositions, the laconic, colourful and suggestive stage direction by Vytautas Kalinauskas - all the areas of creative work experienced a remarkable qualitative leap. The dominance of free motion, dancing on toe-tips, claim for the valuable acting, and, finally, the signs characteristic to the post-modernism (the principle of theatre in the theatre, and Leo Delibes' waltz from the first professional Lithuanian play "Coppelia", which by the way, had a great importance in the works of the ballet-master) look significant and original in the panorama of the Lithuanian choreography in the eighties and nineties.
In "Baltaragis' Mill", there unexpectedly opened the talents of young artists, longing for a different dance. The role of Jurga was perfectly performed by Ruta Railaite, who showed especially warm and exciting relationship with her hero; the role of Ursule - by Vijole Parutyte, who maximally used her artistic plastic. Baltaragis by Vytautas Kudzma thrilled the spectator with his deep and at the same time stylised dramatic effects, and a roguish Pinciukas, performed by Valdemaras Chlebinskas almost melted into the music, and it was perhaps the most valuable role on the ballet stage of those years.
Brazdylis' "Baltaragis' Mill" could be also regarded as a forge of the Lithuanian ballet-masters of the mediocre generation. Egidijus Domeika performed the memorable role of Raupys, which probably encouraged the artist to begin an independent choreography work, or continue the work, started by Brazdylis, or debate the striking traditions of more modern and free dancing. In the role of Girdvainis there was engaged emotional, expressive Jurijus Smoriginas, who fascinated the spectator with his extensive and maximalistic dancing. (Today he is the most productive and interesting Lithuanian ballet-master, whose choreographic episodes were generally recognised at international dance festivals.) "Baltaragis' Mill" lived to the record 100th play and has never felt the lack of audience.
"Coppelia", staged by Vytautas Brazdylis in 1984, is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable examples of today's classical choreography works, where the creative interpretation of classical ballet's traditions and the most valuable traditional features of this art intertwine. Entertainment and artistic objects find the optimum way of expression here. In the traditional libretto, written by Charles Nuttier according to the fairy-tale of Hoffman, there are many plot windings, today called the vestiges of ballet dramaturgy. Brazdylis successfully managed to "straighten" them and to much more evidently show typical for romantic repertoire collisions of real and fantastic worlds - things that happen around us and that happen inside of us, exposing the conflict between real possibilities and phantoms in our fantasies.
Vytautas Brazdylis also created such ballets as "Forever Alive" by Rekasius, "Jurate and Kastytis" by Gruodis, "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky.
Anzelika Cholina finished the professional studies of choreography in Moscow. Today she is the only dance creator of young generation who has a diploma. Absolutely unfavourable climate for creative process (almost non-existing artists' competition, poor creative ambitions of the Lithuanian state ballet company, bad financial situation of cultural institutions) is not an obstacle for the young choreographer yet - her works are distinguished for the intriguing, fresh, ambitious creative note.
The first works of the choreographer - "Dance of Mad Girls" according to the music by Michail Glinka, "Four Little Girls" according to the music by Meredith Monk, and "Improvisation in Major" - maybe because they are devoted to the pupils of the Choreography School, represent the works that deserved especially warm reaction of audience. Staged basing on the vivacious, non-traditional motives of music, the episodes attract with lively imagination, especial musicality, innovative details, helping to create the world of choreographic forms full of paradox and surprise. The author is not interested in the depth of meanings in these works, and her not trying to disguise that evidently makes the author to win. Irony, humour, evident and roguish, but not aggressive discussion with the clichés of traditional choreography are developed by all possible means, so young artists recklessly start on such a tearaway journey and fully rely on their leader.
The choreographer's ability to integrate into the contemporary Lithuanian art (in the case of her works discussed above - a very productive, intriguing and perspective her collaboration with young designers Sandra Straukaite and Marijus Jacovskis) is especially valuable. The same could be said about her last work - a debut in the ballet of a large size - a choreographic version "Medea", according to the famous antique myth about the princess Medea of Cholkida, by Antanas Rekasius. "Medea" is a stage work, where choreography is only one of equivalent components in the contemporary ballet theatre. Cholina proved again that she is an excellent organiser and she is sure about the result she is seeking: a scriptwriter Marijus Jacovskis and a costume designer Juozas Statkevicius created the perfect and visually interesting accompaniment to the choreographer's stage vision.
The last work of Cholina is a dance play "Women's Songs", based on the songs of Marlene Dietrich. The atmosphere of the play is created using the magic and deep voice of Marlene Dietrich, which twines the sentiments from the schlagers, pierced by sad, joyful and strange heartbreak, that caused tears, cherished hopes and helped to forget in the years of the Second World War. Music, stage directing (Marijus Jacovskis), costumes and stage make-up (Juozas Statkevicius), choreography and directing easily, without any special efforts immerse a spectator in the nostalgic, decadent fog of sentiments. The basis of dance suggestion is a subtle acting and an elegant, passionate motion, drawing one's attention to the mysterious and polysemantic ideal of a woman. Body cell of the dance play is a musical and free motion, based on the vocabulary of "ball" dances, but it is much more artistic, theatricalised and related to the creative nature of the concrete dancer. The choreographer's imagination spreads smoothly and easily, without any special plastic claims. She does not attempt to strike the spectator using a difficult dance speech, conversely, she attracts the attention with an innovative simplicity. In this play, Cholina again demonstrates the non-used possibilities of many talented artists, she gives them a chance to fully accept the challenge of theatrical space and time, to feel the relation with the authentic present of theatre and dance culture. "Women's Songs" is an easy, very beautiful, aesthetic play, which a priori isolates itself from the heavy generalisations, operates the clichés of the popular culture in the postmodernism manner and purposefully aims at still empty qualitative and attractive culture niche, devoted to the broader audience.
The last work of the choreographer in the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre is "Carmen". The premiere of it took place on October 10.
It is impossible to imagine the panorama of today's Lithuanian dance without Jurijus Smoriginas. He was born on August 26, 1955 in Kaunas, graduated from the choreography department in the Ciurlionis School of Art in 1974, and danced in the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre till 1994. In 1987, Smoriginas graduated from the ballet directing department of the Petersburg Academy of Music, and more than for ten years he has been trying to reform and revive the professional Lithuanian dance, which is still faithful to the traditions of classical ballet.
As many Lithuanian choreographers, Smoriginas comes from dancers' ranks. He is a talented actor, a performer of a character dance, with a subtle sense of humour. Smoriginas attracted spectators' attention with his role of Girdvainis in "Baltaragis' Mill" by Vytautas Brazdylis in 1978. An impetuous and expressive dancing of Smoriginas outlined the vivid tragic personage, persuasively created the hero crushed from the sore destiny blows, yet radiant with joy. Other roles of Smoriginas include Silviy in "Two Masters' Servant" by Tchulak, 1978, Death in "Death and the Maiden" by Anatolij Shenderov, 1980, Madge in "La Sylphide" by Lovenskjold, 1983.
Perhaps "Baltaragis' Mill", which allowed Smoriginas to feel a greater perspective of self-realisation, guaranteed his further choreographic career. Starting from small miniatures, experimenting with the parallels of music and motion, the choreographer has created his own style, which is characterised by expressive, innovative plastic and the search of philosophical sense (guaranteed by the lifelong experience of the choreographer).
The theme of destiny is present almost in all works of Smoriginas, from the striking one-act ballets, such as "Requiem", "Fedra", "Home of Bernarda Alba" to the weighty, serious two-act ballets, such as "Macbeth" (music created by Osvaldas Balakauskas) and "The Last Pagan Rituals" (music created by Bronius Kutavicius). The choreographer boldly breaks the poor shape of dramatics in traditional choreographic work and creates the halo of suggestive, influensive choreographic tragedy, refuses the story, illustration, and focuses on the abstract speech of dance.
An intuitive motion dispersion, a stunning musicality, an ability to penetrate into the bottom of musical expression and justify every sound nuance - these aspects are of the great importance to the creative self-perception of Smoriginas. His plastic is disciplined, but natural and corporeal. It is based on the professional dance experience of some centuries, but it takes into account physical features, and body of the concrete dancer is perceived as a given plastic value. Not without any reason, there were found (and lost, unfortunately) excellent dancers of mediocre generation, such as Vijole Parutyte, Ruta Railaite, Loreta Bartuseviciute, Ausra Gineityte, Jurate Sodyte, Vytautas Budra, Raimundas Maskoliunas in Smoriginas' works.
Currently, without having possibilities to create works of a large size in Vilnius, Smoriginas devotes more time and creative energy to foreign countries. He has worked in Estonia, Finland for some months. In Lithuania, he productively works with young dancers. The miniature "From the Ballet about Carmen", which was devoted to Egle Spokaiteand Edvardas Smalakys, and created for the International Ballet Competition "Maya"; is considered as the real event in the contemporary Lithuanian choreography. Excellent "Narcissi", danced by Mindaugas Bauzys and dedicated to the anniversary of the Lithuanian Ballet, has vivified the panorama of the contemporary Lithuanian dance; "My Life", created for Ruta Jezerskyte with the music of Jules Massenet and dedicated to Olga Malejinaite, who was the Lithuanian dancer in the inter-war period, has drawn international attention.
The last works of Smoriginas - ballet "Dance Hall" by Astor Piazzolo, staged in the Kaunas Musical Theatre, and "The Artist's Life" by Hector Berlioz, staged in the Klaipeda Musical Theatre, where the main roles were created by Egle Spokaite and Mindaugas Bauzys.
ZORBA THE GREEK
The ballet "Zorba the Greek" by Mikis Theodarakis, seen by more than two million spectators in Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and other countries, has finished the Lithuanian ballet season of 1997/1998. Melodious, temperamental music of Mikis Theodorakis is able to focus hearing - rich instrumentation, vivid rhythms, organic and temperate insertions of vocals for chorus and the soloist enrich knowledge about this Greek composer, whose works till 1990 were deadened by the shining of Lenin Peace Premium, presented to him in 1986.
"Zorba the Greek", first staged at Arena di Verona Festival in 1988, in the background of modern choreographic searches looks quite traditional, and its dramaturgy is not able to touch the deeper layers of consciousness. Ballet conflicts and the richness of characters, found in libretto, seem to be a pretentious holding forth. Nikas Kazantzaki's narrative, rich of different psychological nuances, was transformed into a schematic story about a village of archaic mentality, an American tourist and intellectual John, a widow Marina, a jealous her loving Jorg, a stranger Greek (but not Gypsy) Zorba, a faded beauty Madam Hortense. All the intricate literary material of the play is expressed in some words: "Life is nothing, dance is everything". It does not matter that John and Marina's love has a tragic end, that Hortense dies - sirtakis helps to forget all punishments and disasters of life. The dance in theatre programme is identified with "the synonym of freedom and Dionysia dizziness", but it is quite difficult to feel it in the play. Dramatic episodes of "Zorba the Greek" do not shake the audience- they are quite primitive with illustrative speech of gestures and too dense emotions. The pictorial stylistics is quite abstract, "nameless Greek village" has not naive references to place and time, but contacts of personages sometimes end in naturalistic and vulgar claps on the shoulder.
The choreography of Lorca Massine is not exceptional: the dancers constantly repeat stylised sirtakis steps, knees down, the plastic of expressively twisted hands with wide spread fingers. This is not a refined play of original, aesthetically valuable motion - here the repeatable motion, combinations of them, effective by dancers' passion, musical group dances, provoking applause, but insipid in the sense of plastics, are more important.