Six cities, twelve performances, three festivals and two theatres. Dance performance „Colourful games“ for children of 0-3 years was presented in Ireland on 6-15 July. Dancer Giedrė Subotinaitė and choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė met young spectators in Ennis Street Arts Festival, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, Earagail Arts Festival in Dunfanagy and Letterkenny as well as in Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire and Garter Lane Theatre in Waterford. This tour was supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
After starting 2018 tours in Czech Republic, United States, India and Hong Kong, Dansema has visited Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Singapore and Palestine. This year's Dansema harvest includes performances in 10 countries, 18 cities, 9 international festivals (Festival Solove, IPAY, WeDance, HOOG, Safari Kids Theater Festival, Act3International, KRoki, Prapremier Festival, BIPAF). In total, 59 performances have been shown, which were seen by nearly 4000 spectators. Special visits were in Shanghai and Palestine, where we not only showed performances, but, along with local children, we implemented creative and educational dance projects "Creation of the World". We have shown this performance with 100 students from Shanghai Shangde Experimental School at the Shanghai Children's Art Theater. In Hebron and Jerusalem 40 local children, who had no previous dance experience and live in a tense political situation, participated in the project. This project was organized and supported by the Lithuanian office in Ramallah. Tours in foreign countries were not limited to showing performances. In Estonia, Ukraine, China and Singapore we conducted dance lessons for 8-14 months babies according to the methodology of Dansema artistic director, choreographer, doctor of social sciences Birutė Banevičiūtė, which impressed not only children's parents, but also professionals working with children. As a result, Ukrainian choreographers and dance educators developed the idea of publishing the methodology for the early dance development of B. Banevičiūtė in Ukrainian. This project in Ukraine was very successful and received support from newly established Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. Following the methodology of Birutė, Ukrainian artists presented their first self-created dance performance for children.
Dansema did not forget the small spectators in Lithuania, too. Performances were shown 52 times in Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai, Marijampolė. We attended the International Jėga/ Cool Festival of ASSITEJ Lithuania in Šiauliai. We had dance lessons for babies, with performances we visited Vilnius residence of infants with developmental delays. We have started a new cooperation with Kaunas European Capital of Culture. So we are looking forward for 2019 full of new trips and performances.
Dansema international tours are funded by the Lithuanian Culture Council.
Dansema, the pioneer of dance performances for babies in Lithuania, is finishing its season with one more premiere in Lithuania - performance of musical action "Watchmaker". Usually premiering in the capital, this time Dansema invites everyone to their see their newest piece in Kaunas. The performance for babies 5 to 20 months old was inspired by the sounds of the watch mechanism - arrows, gears and alarm.
Little spectators will be greeted by fun movement and sound surprises popping out of the dancer's costume, created by the artist Medilė Šiaulytytė. Babies will be able to become participants of the performance, co-authors of movement and music, created by composer Jurgita Mieželytė as well as to create a collective musical accompaniment for the performance by exploring musical instruments. This is the first performance of this form for babies in Lithuania, also unique because it is a solo performed by a male dancer. Well known contemporary dance performers Mantas Stabačinskas and Marius Pinigis will take turns in creating musical "Watchmaker" action together with babies.
According to Dansema artistic director and choreographer “Watchmaker” Birutė Banevičiūtė, this performance was started to create in the autumn of last year, with the initiative of Kaunas 2022. The team of the European Capital of Culture was seeking to make Kaunas audience more familiar with performing arts for babies, and, together with Dansema, developed creative movement laboratories for babies and their parents. “During our tours, the tickets in Kaunas get sold out very quickly, so we decided to give Kaunas community the joy of the premiere this time. This will be our first premiere outside of Vilnius” - Dansema's choreographer speaks about traveling to the little spectators. The “Watchmaker” will premiere at Kaunas City Chamber Theater on April 14, 11:00, 15:00 and 17:00. Tickets can be purchased via Tiketa. Sponsors of the performance are Kaunas 2022, Vilnius and Kaunas City Municipalities.
Dance theatre Dansema is getting ready for a tour in China for the fifth time. Choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė and dancers Giedrė Subotinaitė, Indrė Bacevičiūtė and Mantas Stabačinskas will be visiting Shanghai on 4-20 May.
For five years, Dansema has been collaborating with the Shanghai Children Arts Theater where they will have 16 performances the famous Puzzle this year. Five years ago this particular performance was a starting point for Dansema’s collaboration with China, when in 2014 it became a first company ever to perform for babies in China. Together with the two Shanghai schools, Dansema dancers will also carry out a creative-educational project Creation of the World during which dancers with children without any dance experience will create a dance performance within 3 days. The result of the creative process will be the dance performance, in which the children appear together with the dancers, publicly presented on the stage. The project will involve 160 students from Shanghai Shangde International School, to which Dansema has been invited for the second time and 120 pupils from Changyi Elementary Public School.
Dansema team will also have baby dance workshops for babies of 8-14 months, based on the method of early dance education, developed by Birutė Banevičiūtė – pedagogue, choreographer and the artistic director of Dansema
For many years now, summer is not the end of the season and the start of holidays for Dansema, but hard work on world-wide tours. This time the team visited China and South Korea in May, while in July and August they will spend a month in Japan. Even though this kind of summer sounds exotic, dancers say there is no time to be tourists - the schedule in Asia is packed with over fifty performances and educational activities.
On May 4-20, Dansema visited China. This is already their fifth visit in this country, so dancers are happy to see not only new, but already familiar spectators, who wait for the performances of Dansema every year. Sixteen Puzzle performances for 0-3 year old children were shown at Shanghai Children's Art Theater and five baby dance workshops for 8-14 months were held. The results of the creative-educational dance project “Creation of the World” (choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė, composer Rasa Dikčienė) with two Shanghai schools were also presented there. During the project more than 130 primary school students without prior dance experience after three days of creative laboratories danced on a professional theater stage together with Dansema dancers Giedre Subotinaite, Indre Bacevičiūtė, Mantas Stabačinskas. This is the third time this kind of project is done in Shanghai and it seems to be very successful, as more and more schools are willing to participate. Shanghai Children's Art Theater director Liang Xiao Xia and project manager Zhao Yajing, celebrating the high artistic value of Dansema's performances and creative activities, are pleased with the long-term cooperation with Dansema and are already making new plans for the future.
Right after the tour in China, Dansema traveled on tour to South Korea, organized thanks to new contacts from PAMS (Performing Arts Market in Seoul) which was visited by Dansema international tour producer Gintare Masteikaitė. Having appeared in five cities in the country, Dansema has become the first Lithuanian company to bring dance performances for children in South Korea. In the Ansan-Art Center, Seongnam Art Center, Hwasung Art Hall and Jeju Arts Center, nine performances of Puzzle were shown, and two baby dance workshops were held in Seoul, followed by seminars for dancers, choreographers and dance educators on a methodology for early dance education and performance for babies, developed by Birutė Banevičiūtė, the artistic director of Dansema. For the well-known South Korean dance producer Jang Kwangryul, who organized the tour, dance performances for babies seemed as a challenge at first, as there were no such performances in their country. However, after receiving a number of excellent reviews from the audience, as well as from the local dance professionals and theater critics, Dansema has received invitations to return and continue to collaborate. Dansema dancers Indrė Bacevičiūtė, Mantas Stabačinskas and Marius Pinigis not only danced for children in South Korea, but also improvised at the Jeju International Dance Forum and Jeju International Improvisation Dance Festival together with local musicians at Jeju Sculpture Park and Light Festival Light Art Flash.
Dansema dancers will be packing their suitcases again soon - the Asian tour financed by the Lithuanian Culture Council will end with a month in Japan. From 17thof July till 15thof August Dansema will perform "Puzzle" for children of 0-3 years in five cities in Japan. Twenty performances are planned in Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Shizuoka, Kyoto and Okinawa. This tour in Japan was initiated by the organizers of the International Children's Theaters Festival Ricca Ricca Festa after Dansema participated in this festival in 2017.
After spending the summer on tours from Ireland and Poland to China, Korea and Japan, Dansema Dance Theater is launching a new season with a special project funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius and Kaunas City Municipalities and Culture Bridges and i-Portunus - double interpretation of a single performance. The Lithuanian version of the performance The Clockmaker and the Ukrainian version “TikTak” will presented on October 5 at the Arts Printing House. The Clockmaker was born in Kaunas in cooperation with Kaunas2022 and was first shown at the Kaunas City Chamber Theater in April. It's a new form of performance for babies, a musical action performance based on the idea of moving objects that make sounds, much like the various parts of a watch - arrows, bell, gears. Choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė, dancers Mantas Stabačinskas and Marius Pinigis, composer Jurgita Mieželytė, artist Medilė Šiaulytytė and light artist Aurelijus Davidavičius participated in the creation of the Lithuanian version. Dansema artistic director Birutė Banevičiūtė is currently developing a TikTak version with local artists - actresses Iryna Zapolska and Tetiana Bielousova, as well as composer and musician Mykhailo Syromlia. The performance is language free so it will be well understood by the children audience of Lithuania. On October 6, TikTak will be shown at Kaunas Culture Center.
The 12th season of Dansema will continue in the usual rhythm - the project “Dissemination of Contemporary Dance Performances for Children in Lithuania” sponsored by the Lithuanian Council for Culture will show the popular performances of babies Colourful Games, Meadow, Puzzle and Twinkles in Kaunas, Panevėžys and other Lithuanian cities. In 2020, the theater is planning another premiere - a dance project for babies by choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė and former dance theater Aura dancer currently living and working in Germany, Raimonda Gudavičiūtė-Haun. In February, Birutė Banevičiūtė together with Kaunas Puppet Theaterswill also present a mutual project - an interactive puppet performance for babies.
The new season would not be complete without tours abroad - Dansema will be performing in Poland, Denmark, Estonia and the United Arab Emirates. The tour to Dubai, the capital of the latter country, are special – despite the fact that it is an extremely rich country, Dansema will be the first in this country to show dance performances for a baby audience.
More information on Dansema's performances, repertoire and tours can be found at www.dansema.lt.
The year of 2019 reaffirmed the worldwide demand for Dansema dance theater performances for children: significant tours abroad, repeated invitations to festivals and to countries that were not visited before, visits to Lithuanian towns, and fresh premieres for babies.
Dance Performances for babies of Lithuania and the World
As a part of the Lithuanian Culture Council-funded project "Dance Spreads for Babies Abroad", Dansema visited 10 countries this year, with performances for young audiences up to 3 years “Twinkles”, “Puzzle” “Colourful Games” and “Meadow” shown 76 times in total. 9 international festivals were visited during the international tour - Clonmel Junction Arts Festival, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival and Earagail Arts Festival in Ireland, Ricca Ricca Festa in Japan, Pozytyvka, Prapremier and Take Part in Art in Poland, NAKS festival in Estonia, Dans Baby Dans in Denmark.
“We are extremely excited about the new destinanions in our tours, which are results of consistent long-term and distribution of our performances abroad. It is Korea, United Arab Emirates, Denmark. We have been to other countries we visited this year, so it is great that we are invited to come back and show our performances in Ireland, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, China and Japan ” - says Birutė Banevičiūtė, artistic director and choreographer of Dansema.
In many of the tour countries, Dansema has not only shown performances, but has also hosted baby dance classes and workshops for dance professionals interested and eager to start performing for children. During the lectures and meetings, Birute Banevičiūtė, Dansema choreographer and a doctor of social sciences, introduced the methodology of the creative dance experience at an early age, which is successfully applied not only in Lithuania but also in foreign countries.
Dansema did not forget the Lithuanian audience. 72 performances were shown this year in 17 Lithuanian towns as part of another project funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Dissemination of Contemporary Dance Performances for Children in Lithuania. In addition to the major cities of the country, Dansema performances for babies were shown in smaller towns around Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevėžys, as well as Biržai, Jonava, Kelmė, Alytus, Kretinga and Mažeikiai.
At the end of the year, a unique project was carried out in Jonava, in cooperation with the Center for Comprehensive Education of Children and Youth. The residents of Jonava retirement home became spectators of the performance "Colourful Games", which is originally for babies. So the performance was watched by a joint audience of seniors who are 80 and under, and babies up to 3 years of age. According to older viewers, this performance and being together with the children in one artistic space provided unforgettable excitment and made it possible to remember their childhood.
Results of New International Cooperation
This year, two premieres of Dansema have been presented – performances new in their form "Meadow" and "The Watchmaker". "Meadow" is a performance-installation for babies up to 18 months old, where they can explore dance and the environment without limiting the time needed for the little ones to get involved. The special nature of this performance caught the attention of foreign festival producers right after the premiere in February. Dansema was invited to two international children's theater festivals in Poland and Estonia in the fall.
The Watchmaker is a musical action performance based on the idea of moving objects that emit sounds, much like the various parts of the watch – arrows, bell, gears. The performance is special because two versions of it were created – Lithuanian and Ukrainian. The initiative of the project originated from cooperation with Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022 programme, therefore the performance was created with the help of young future spectators of Kaunas city and district. This project was also supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius and Kaunas city municipalities. After the premiere in Lithuania, another version of this performance was shown in Ukraine, together with local artists Iryna Zapolska and Tetiana Bielousova, as well as composer and musician Mykhailo Syromlia. This performance has complemented not only the range of Lithuanian theater performances for children, but also significantly contributed to the development of a culture of performances for babies in Ukraine.
2020 was full of challenges for Dansema - we postponed planned tours in eight countries, the premiere of a new performance for babies "Forest" took place in March only at the Gallus Theater in Frankfurt, but could not be presented for Lithuanian young audiences. However, this year also brought new ideas and projects, which were generously supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. One of them is an interactive dance performance-research for children with visual impairments "World without Eyes". This is a special dance event in which from the very beginning we have involved families raising children with visual impairments. Thanks to them, we have developed a special methodology for experiencing and perceiving dance, which allows blind and partially sighted children to understand dance. The success of the process of creating this performance was ensured by the competent team of Dansema creators: the author of the idea and choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė, dancers Giedrė Subotinaitė and Mantas Stabačinskas, set and costume designer Medile Šiaulytytė, composer Valerio Camporini Faggioni. The whole creative research process was captured by video operator Vilius Vaitiekūnas and photographer Laura Vansevičienė.
On 19th March at 15.00 we invite everyone interested in the theater for children and youth to join the national conference organized by the ASSITEJ Lithuania and Dansema dance theater, where the artistic director of Dansema Birutė Banevičiūtė will also give a presentation on early dance perception and quality of performances for babies.
15.00-15.15 Opening of the conference and presentation “ASITEŽAS over 20 years” Violeta Podolskaitė (President of ASITEŽAS)
The conference is finansed by the Vilnius City Municipality.
Partners: Alytus City Theater, Kaunas City Chamber Theater, “Labaiteatras”, “No Shoes” Theater, Table Theater
The week of 24-30th May is declared by UNESCO as the International Arts Education Week. Dansema contributes its events to the World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) campaign.
May 28 10.30 Educational dance performance "Creation of the World" in the yard of Vilnius kindergarten "Taškius"
May 29 11.00 Dance performance "Colorful Games" for children of 6-36 months at the Arts Printing House
May 30 15.00 Educational dance performance " Miracles" together with the students of Vilnius Šilo School at the Arts Printing House
May 31 11.00 Educational dance performance "Creation of the World" in the yard of Vilnius kindergarten "Taškius" in Bajorai
Financed by the Lithuanian Culture for Council
On the 1st June the International Children's Day Dansema participated in the national campaign "Back to the Live Theater!" organized by the Association of Theaters for Children and Youth ASSITEJ Lithuania and showed dance performance "Colorful Games" at the New Vilnius Cultural Center free of charge. During the campaign over ten events of various content and form for children and youth were presented in seven regions of Lithuania. Dansema, in cooperation with Vilnius City Municipality and Naujoji Vilnia Culture Center, gave the young audience of Naujoji Vilnia the opportunity to see a dance performance for the first time. The dissemination of Dansema performances in Lithuania is financed by the Lithuanian Culture Council.
Dansema, since 2007 has been creating dance performances for children, for the last decade concentrated in creating dance performances for babies of 0-3 years. Their parents expressed their wish to continue raising their children with Dansema performances. Therefore, the theater has taken into account the wishes of audience and offers a special premiere for the beginning of the season - a dance circus performance for children of 3-6 years "Inside the Seasons".
Dansema will start the 14th season with the premiere of dance circus performance "Inside the Seasons" on the 25 September in Arts Printing House in Vilnius. The performance, the creation of which was funded by the Lithuanian Culture Council and Vilnius City Municipality, using elements of dance and circus, tells in the attractive and playful way for preschool children how the seasons in nature change. The choice of the idea of the performance is based on the peculiarities of children's psychological development and responds to cognitive topics relevant to 3-6 year olds as they learn to notice and understand changes in nature, when frozen icicles melt in spring, how flowers bloom in summer and drop their leaves in autumn, how everything calms down and freeze again when winter comes. "In search of new forms of expression, in addition to dance, we chose one of the circus disciplines - air silk acrobatics" says author of the performance idea and choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė. Paying attention to the high dance technique and experience of gymnastics of the co-chorewographer and dancer Giedrė Subotinaitė, Birutė says that they still had a lot of time to master the new artistic discipline. However, the creators are happy with the result, as complex acrobatic tricks caught the attention of young viewers during the creative process and the first showing. The transforming elements of the scenography and costumes of the performance, created by Medilė Šiaulytytė, are thought out in such a way as to stimulate the imagination and creative thinking of the young audience. The music created especially for the performance by the composer Jurgita Mieželytė conveys the mood of each season of the year and invites children to feel the emotions caused by various nature phenomena. “The performance acquires an educational aspect, because through metaphors created by movement, objects and sounds, it encourages preschool children to think, get to know, feel and connect their experiences with the images of the environment. Therefore, we plan to transform this performance into an educational project, which we will show in kindergartens, libraries, other non-traditional theater spaces, suitable for education” says Birutė Banevičiūtė.
Dansema Dance Theater, celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year, has launched the new year of 2022 with inspiring and changing projects for different children - "Creating the World with Children" presented at the International Theater Festival for Children and Youth KITOKS'22 and "Inclusive Dance for Young Audiences", funded by the Creative mobility program i-Portunus Houses.
At the KITOKS'22 festival, organized by the Arts Printing House for the eleventh time, Dansema presented a dance-educational project "Creating the World with Children" and held a three-day creative dance workshop for autistic children and children with Down syndrome. Dansema dancers Giedrė Subotinaitė, Indrė Bacevičiūtė, Elmyra Ragimova, Mantas Stabačinskas and Marius Pinigis, who led these classes, applied the method of the choreographer, dance educator and artisitc director of Dansema dr. Birutė Banevičiūtė, who led the process of the creative workshop. The essence of the methodology is the joint creative dance activities of professional dancers and children with a variety of development and behavior. During it the dancers together with children with no prior dance experience, improvise and convey the story of the creation of the world by movements: from the big bang and stars in space, Sun and Earth, night and day to clouds in the sky and rain, fish at sea and birds, animals and people.
Dansema has implemented this project, originally created in 2008 by the choreographer B. Banevičiūtė together with the composer Rasa Dikčienė and the children of the Vilnius-based Arts Studio Diemedis, in Vilnius (2013), Brussels (2012, 2013, 2015), Ramallah and Bethlehem (2014), Jerusalem and Hebron (2018), Kiev (2015), Shanghai (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). With children characterized by a variety of development and behavior Dansema implemented this project for the first time in 2016 with Vilnius Šilo School, initiated by the school's director Egidija Urbanavičienė. Later, it was repeated with the students of Vilnius Special Education Center "Aidas" in 2017 at the Arts Printing House as part of Dansema 's tenth anniversary program. In 2022, the project was attended by the families of the Association Vilnius "Lietaus vaikai" raising autistic children and the students and teachers of Vilnius Šilo School.
The project "Creating the World with Children", which does not teach movement or dance steps, but is based on joint improvisation according to a pre-designed structure, also encourages parents and teachers to actively participate in activities and dance with children, as such joint creative activities bring children and adults closer together, gives them new experiences, allows them to rediscover each other. Particularly important the aspect of B. Banevičiūtė's methodology is that no oral instructions are given during the session. Each participant, child or adult, has the right and opportunity to interpret the proposed dance ideas in their own way. There are no performers in the process, there are co-authors, there is no right execution, there is a unique performance, there are no evaluations, there is acceptance and respect for otherness. Therefore, children not only experience artistic experiences and the world of dance, but also improve their physical and emotional state. The obvious positive changes are seen after only a few minutes of activity - children start smiling, relaxing excessive muscle tension or developing muscle tone where it is needed to move. Parents of children involved in the project tell how watching their children dance, seeing them as personalities in completely different aspects, revealing themselves and doing things they don’t do at home or at school. This is also noted by the teachers and educators of these children who work with them at school.
The project “Inclusive Dance for Young Audiences” was initiated by Dansema choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė and Ukrainian actress, director, theater teacher and theatrologist Iryna Zapolska and choreographer and dancer Nadiia Matsiuk and received financial support of i-Portunus Houses creative mobility grant. Iryna is also the head of the NGO ArtDim (House of Art) and the initiator and coordinator of the proejct "Persha vystava" (First performance). This project was born in 2018, when Iryna invited B. Banevičiūtė to restage the performance of Dansema "Colorful Games" for children aged 0-3 years. It was the first performance for babies in Ukraine. Later in 2019, with the support of the Lithuanian Culture Council, two versions of Dansema performance for babies of 8-18 months were created - Lithuanian "Watchmaker" and Ukrainian "Tik Tak ", in which Iryna also performed with musician Mikhailo Syromlia (stage name Mika Chuev). Nadia Matsiuk joined Iryna in 2019, when she started dancing in the performance "Colorful Games". Since then two artists have been actively collaborating and disseminating new ideas in the field of theater for children and youth in Ukraine, focusing mainly on performances for babies.
A new direction of activity for Iryna and Nadia was born when they saw Dansema projects for children who have a different perception of the environment and reaction to it. They set the goal of bringing such new approach to Ukraine and break down barriers that prevent all children, regardless of their mental and physical characteristics and abilities, from experiencing the theater actively and fully. The main idea of the project “Inclusive Dance for Young Audiences”, to which Dansema also contributed, was to share experiences between Lithuanian and Ukrainian artists, develop ideas for dramaturgy, explore ways of expressing movement and construct a new version adapted for children audiences with mental and physical characteristics (autism , Down syndrome, etc.) of an interactive movement performance created by Iryna and Nadia in 2021 for 6-24 months babes "Sand and water".
During the project, I. Zapolska and N. Matsiuk participated in the creative dance workshop of Dansema "Creating the World with Children", during which they got acquainted with B. Banevičiūtė's methodology and experienced how to communicate with such children and understand their reactions to movement material, how to improvise and still maintain the structure of a dance performance. Later, they presented an updated version of the performance “Sand and Water” to the participants of the creative workshops and the students of Vilnius Šilo. At the Vilnius Šilo School the artists met with teachers and discussed the ideas of the performance and the children's reactions. Already in Ukraine , Iryna and Nadia are holding meetings with the local theater community, who are interested in and working in the field of performing arts for children and youth, and share their experience they obtained in Vilnius.
Dansema Dance Theater returned from Poland, Germany and Denmark, where eleven times performed the dance performance “World without Eyes” for blind and partially sighted children of 1-6 years, and held three seminars for local dance and inclusive arts community. These tours are part of the partnership "Making Waves" in which culture organizations from Poland, Germany, Denmark, Romania, Italy, the United Kingdom and Cyprus participate together with Dansema.
This partnership is one of 19 winning projects funded by the EU Creative Europe project Perform Europe , which aims to rethink the international presentation of the performing arts in Europe with a view to making it more sustainable, inclusive and balanced. Project Perform Europe involves an 18-month process consisting of a research phase, the launch of a digital platform, the testing of a support scheme and the development of policy recommendations. In 2021, out of 1320 applications submitted from all over Europe, 500 applications were selected for the second stage, including two Dansema applications - the presentation of the performances “World without Eyes” and "Meadow". During the second phase, the selected participants had to find partners with whom they could further develop their application and seek funding. Of the 120 partnership applications submitted for the second phase, only 19 were funded, including "Making Waves" project with Dansema performances. An important requirement of the second stage was that there had to be at least three partners from different countries to present the selected performance. As many as six countries were interested in Dansema's performances . The partnership was initiated by the International Network on Inclusive Art Inclusive Arts Network (IIAN), which is part of the International Theater and Youth Theater Association (ASSITEJ) and resides in Denmark. It was joined by the Fundacja Theater 21 (Poland), Segni d'Infanzia Associazone Culturale (Italy), Teatro 4Garoupas (Germany), Assitej Cyprus (Cyprus), AREAL- Space for choreographic development (Romania). The troupe from the UK Mind is also involved in the partnership the Gap with a performance-film "Small Places", in which young people with neuro-diversity act and dance .
In organizing the partnership, Dansema 's tours were divided into two parts, North and South, in order to optimize travel in terms of financial, human resources and ecological sustainability. Therefore, the first northern part of the tour “World without Eyes” was shown in Warsaw, later in four German cities (Aachen, Soest , Martfeld and Bruchhausen Vilsen) and Esbjerg in Denmark as part of the International Theater Festival for Children and Youth Aprilfestival, organized by the Teatercentrum together with the Danish national ASSITEJ Center. Aprilfestival also hosted the IIAN World Congress "Catch the Wave" to analyze and discuss the relationship between performing arts and disability through the prism of participation, representation and accessibility. Dansema's performance “World without Eyes” was one of the main events of this congress, bringing together a large number of members of the international community interested in the situation and opportunities of inclusive art.
In Poland and Germany Birutė Banevičiūtė, Dansema 's artistic director and choreographer, doctor of social sciences and dance educator together with dancers and teachers Giedre Subotinaite and Agne Ramanauskaite gave seminar to local professionals, who later joined Lithuanian dancers and participated in performances. The aim of these workshops was to share with colleagues the knowledge and experience that Dansema has gained in creating performances for babies and children with different abilities. In Denmark the Dansema team conducted a seminar for congress and Aprilfestival participants live and online on methods and challenges for creating inclusive dance performances.
The idea for the performance “World without Eyes” for choreographer Birute Banevičiūtė came during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, when the performance and tours of the performances were suspended due to quarantine restrictions. The generous funding provided by the Lithuanian Culture Council for this project allowed Dansema's creative team, which together with B. Banevičiūtė was formed by the stage designer Medilė Šiaulytytė, dancer Giedrė Subotinaitė and composer Valerio Camporini Faggioni to carry out in-depth theoretical and practical artistic research to find the most appropriate forms and content of expression for a dance performance that can be experienced by blind and partially sighted children. "It took a long time to find families with blind and partially sighted children who want to participate in our project and are open to our ideas," B. Banevičiūtė recalls. According to the choreographer, not all the families contacted were willing to come to Dansema's creative rehearsals, although all the security measures required by the quarantine were provided. But it was not the pandemic that was of greatest concern to parents, more often the isolation they experienced from raising blind children and the negative attitude of society. "We encountered a similar situation when we invited families of blind children to our performance in other countries with our touring partners. The fact that it was the hardest to find spectators in Denmark surprised me the most,” says B. Banevičiūtė. Discussions with audience during the project showed that, in Germany, for example, some family members were not even aware that their children attended specialized schools for children with various disabilities. Discussions arose as to whether this was related to the stigmatization of families due to children with different needs than neurotyped children, or to the experiences of fear, frustration, or other causes of negative attitudes in society.
"We are very grateful to those families, school teachers and administration who responded to our invitations in Lithuania and other countries and participated in our performance, as the artistic experiences of the children's audience in the “World without Eyes” revealed new, unprecedented characteristics of those children" says B. Banevičiūtė. Dancers Giedrė Subotinaitė and Agnė Ramanauskaitė noted that the greatest joy includes the sense of meaningfulness of activities, when mothers, parents, teachers come after the performance and tell them that their child has never done anything - did not participate in joint activities, did not interact with other children, but ,here in the peformance he researched, touched, danced, smiled, applauded.
The form and content of the dance performance discovered by Dansema's creative team paid off, as there was a long discussion with the choreographer and the dancers after the performances, as the audience wanted to know and understand the basic principles behind the performance. There was a lot of interest from performing arts professionals - "incredible, brilliant, I cried the whole performance, such sensitivity for children, professional performance, impressive scenography, wise costumes, delicate music", these are just a few reviews from foreign colleagues. "I created the “World without Eyes” based on the principle that I want to convey dance as a non-verbal way of communication and cognition non-verbally, not to explain to the audience what is happening in communication with blind people, but to allow them to experience it through the movement vibrations of the air and the floor, according to which the blind can feel the movement of people around them ”- shares choreographer Birutė Banevičiūtė. The scenography constructed by Medilė Šiaulytytė is a carpet consisting of materials and objects of various temperatures and textures, which emit sound according to the intensity of movement when they are moved. The special design of the costumes created by Medilė also contributes , which allows to transform the costume and cover the nose and mouth when masks are required, or to maintain the distance between the dancers and the children of the audience who participate in the performance. The dramaturgy of the performance was based on the dynamic expression of the essential elements of the dance (space, time, energy), but did not seek metaphorical meanings. In this respect, the performance is similar to those created by B. Banevičiūtė for 0-2 year old babies who do not yet think metaphorically, but are well aware of abstract shapes, colors and movements, even if they do not know their names.
The cozy, safe, relaxing atmosphere of the performance allowed the blind and partially sighted children and the small spectators with neuro-diversity to feel the dance and get involved in the action in the time and in the way that suits them. This aspect was most highlighted by relatives and teachers of children with signs of autism syndrome.
After a successful tour of the first phase of the project, Dansema is preparing for the second southern phase in June, which will take place in Romania, Italy and Cyprus.
More information about the project can be found at https://performeurope.eu/
Dansema dance theater
Žalgirio str. 88a -1, Vilnius LT-09303, Lithuania
Registration code 301152505
bank AB Swedbank
SWIFT code: HABALT22
IBAN: LT27 7300 0101 0411 8594