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Henry M. Robert

A modern choreography center to be founded in the capital

9 September, 2013 - 17:05

Ukraine’s Minister of Culture has offered to Radu Poklitaru to estab­lish a center of modern choreo­graphy, “Kyiv Modern Ballet.” Leonid No­vo­khatko asked the head of KMDA Oleksandr Popov to assist in development of the art of modern choreography and sup­port the activity of Kyiv Modern Ballet, which is Ukraine’s leading theater in this sphere, the press service of the Ministry of Culture reports.

“The Minister of Culture of Ukraine requests to consider the question of creation on the basis of Kyiv Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theater for Children and Youth a modern choreo­graphy center ‘Kyiv Modern Ballet’ with a separate subaccount,” reads the letter signed by the minister.

It will be recalled that Kyiv Modern Ballet Theater is Ukraine’s only theater of modern dance, which is worthily re­pre­senting our country at prestigious theater festivals over the world. The theater’s productions are always expe­rimental, offering a daring interpretation of the world-known theater plots, enriched with modern dance forms.

The theater has staged a range of productions including Pictures at an Exhibition to Mussorgsky’s music, The Rite of Spring and The Fairy’s Kiss by Stravinsky, Carmen Suite by Bizet-Shchedrin, Bolero. La Valse to Ravel’s music, Ward no. 6 to Paert’s music, Othello’s Birthday to Prokofiev’s music, etc. The plays have aroused interest of the public and critics.

The festivals Golden Mask and New Horizon held by Valery Gergiev at the Mariinsky Theater, Diaghilev Theater Seasons, Time to Love is far from full list of the significant forums of modern art where Ukrainian actors of this theater have taken part.

The Kyiv Modern Ballet Theater is headed by well-known choreographer Radu Poklitaru who is also the artistic director of Kyiv Municipal Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet for Children and Youth.

The Day has already reported that before the closing of the season Poklitaru called a press conference where he asked the journalists for help, since the theater was facing a shutdown, because part of the actors were going to leave because of low salaries, and the premiere of Swan Lake. Modern Version could become the last performance of Kyiv Modern Ballet.

It will be reminded that the theater, which was founded in 2005 and became the ground for experiments of talented choreographer Radu Poklitaru, was sponsored by businessman Volodymyr Filippov. But after the 2008 crisis the patron was no longer able to maintain the theater, and it was attached to the Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for Children and Youth (an unprecedented incident for our country when the state provided “registration” for a private company).

In June, after nine people resigned, the artistic director Poklitaru was fa­cing the question: will the Kyiv Modern Ballet Theater exist or not? The actors started to look for new jobs, and Radu got an offer to stage choreographic numbers in Tannhaeuser, an opera by Richard Wagner at Moscow-based Sta­ni­slavsky and Nemirovich-Dan­chen­ko Music Theater, and ballet Hamlet to Dmitry Shos­ta­kovich’s music at Bolshoi Theater (Russia).

Finally, the SOS signal of the theater was heard. The minimum task, to preserve the theater, has been fulfilled and even more than that. The modern cho­reo­graphy center, which was created on the basis of Kyiv Modern Ballet, envisages broader functions: holding master classes, schools, festivals, experience exchange and, of course, creation of new and original productions, for which this young, but talented team is famous. Radu POKLITARU told The Day how he sees the future of the Center:

“The modern choreography center ‘Kyiv Modern Ballet’ will become the basis for the development of modern cho­reo­graphy in our country. Presently, the genre of modern dance is in terrible condition. And founding the Center was a burn­ing issue. Time has long come to get this question moving, so that not only the actors of our theater received support, but also all talented initiatives that appear in Ukraine. We will be involved not only in theater activity, which is the basis of the repertoire team, but also in creation and supporting of creative experiments in modern dance and ballet. Already now, before all documents at the Ministry of Culture of practical creation of the Center are signed, we can announce that on September 16, a show game will take place on the Small Stage of Ukraina Palace. It will be a presentation of works of young choreo­graphers from difference dance styles. And the audience will see interesting numbers staged by not only Kyivites, but also residents of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk… This will be the ‘first swallow’ that will outline the direction the center of modern choreography ‘Kyiv Modern Ballet’ is going to follow.”

Currently you are the head of Kyiv Modern Ballet and at the same time you are artistic director of the Kyiv Municipal Academic Opera and Dance Theater for Children and Youth. Will you keep both positions after creation of the Center, or will you focus only on the work with Kyiv Modern Ballet?

“At the moment I am not ready to discuss this question. Different variants are possible. It will depend on how soon the documents will be signed and our Center will be created.”

Your latest production, Swan Lake. Modern Version to Tchaikovsky’s music, evoked broad response among ballet lovers. You have interpreted the romantic plot in your own way, turning the fairytale into a philosophic parable, contemplation about the impossibility to live false to your real nature. A little swan, once forced to become a boy, became your main character. Your target audience is adults. Will the billboard mention that children under 16 are not allowed to see the play?

“I don’t see anything rebellious in this production. Today on all TV channels children can see lots of things, to know and see which is too early for them. In my production I wanted to tell about things that concern people in our society, about good and evil, therefore I don’t think any age restrictions should be used for this ballet.”

The performers of Kyiv Modern Ballet differ from other theaters, because they are non-professional dancers, who never graduated from any choreography schools. Have you changed your position concerning this question?

“Let’s make it clear what a non-professional dancer is. One can graduate from a choreography school and fail to become a professional artiste, and such examples abound. In our theater every actor has a diploma of education (special, often higher education). Speaking about classical dance, Kyiv Modern Ballet does not perform it. We have actors who are professionals in modern dance. The theater staff includes 21 persons. Currently we are holding a casting for seven vacancies.”

The TV shows “Dances with the Stars” and “Everybody Dance!” have aroused a wave of interest among the audience not only for dances, but ballet as well. Will you continue to take part in this kind of shows? Will any of former participants of the shows perform in your theater?

“As a jury member, I am already taking part in the TV show ‘Everybody Dance! 6.’ As a choreographer I will pro­bably stage the numbers of this season’s contestants, but only a few of them, because I am hugely involved in other artistic pro­jects. At the moment one dancer is already performing with Kyiv Modern Ballet (Artem Shoshyn, the participant of “Everybody Dance! 5”). Hopefully, he will be successful. You know, for some reason former participants of TV shows could not strike root in our theater. The thing is that people who come from TV are not ready to make their way from corps de ballet to soloists, but want to become stars at once, and this is a rare thing in theater.”

Will your Moscow pro­jects Tannhaeuser and Hamlet premiere?

“Yes. Wagner’s opera Tann­haeuser at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theater will premiere on September 27. A production group from Latvia was invited to work on the play: director Andrejs Zagars, set designer Andris Freibergs, costume designer Kristina Pasternaka, video artist Ineta Sipunova. French conductor Fabrice Bollon is the music director of the production. I have staged the choreography scenes. They make the beginning of this opera production. I have invited for cooperation the performers of the modern dance theater ‘Ballet Moscow.’ Currently we are rehearsing Hamlet at Bolshoi Theater. There are plenty of artistic initiatives in Kyiv, too.”

Will you uncover the mystery about the Kyiv pro­ject When Fern Blossoms to Yev­hen Stankovych’s music?

“I am very glad that Kyiv Modern Ballet will remain on the theater map of our capital, and that we will show our productions not only touring across our country, but abroad as well. In March we plan the large-scale premiere of the folk opera When Fern Blossoms, which I will direct, on the stage of the Ukraina Palace. Not only the performers of Kyiv Modern Ballet will take part in it, but the Veriov­ka Choir as well, and musicians of the Symphony Orchest­ra. Probably, we will co-produce it with foreign partners. I think the result will definitely cause a stir. As you can see, we have many plans.”

By Tetiana POLISHCHUK, The Day