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Ciurlionis Academy – Christmas performance

Ciurlionis Academy of Art – Dance Section, Christmas performance 2012.

Review by Henning Høholt.

Happy ballet girls from the Ciurlionis Academy, Vilnius in Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené´s ballet The Seasons to the music of Vivaldis The Seasons, here SPRING. Costumes by Ruta Biliunaite

VILNIUS: Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené has choreographed an interesting and beautifully ballet for the dance students of all age from the Ciurlionis Academy of Arts in Vilnius, presented before Christmas in the large and well functioning theatre at the Ciurlionis Academy. It is a fortune for the academy to have their own theatre, “SOKIO TEATRAS”  where they can work as much as they want on the “own” stage, and not have to place them self in to a stage  at a very short time. This gives the students and leaders the possibility to work for a long good time with the students and with their production, and it is in the end showing a very good result, as that one we enjoyed at the theatre on these few performances before Christmas 2012.

Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené, foto Henning Høholt (2012)

To the musically basic of Antonio Vivaldis famous composition The Seasons, Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené has choreographed a very interesting long piece. With her own basic in contemporary dance, she has created a choreography, who is contemporary, but in a very elegant way including classical terms, steps, and even pointed toe shoes for the grown of the young female dancers, with contemporary lifts and movements, and with classical lifts and movements. And most important, it seems normal. In this production, which starts without music with a single contemporary solo by one dancer in the cold “Lithuanian” Winter, deliciously lightened – all the way through the ballet.

Students from the Ciurlionis Academy, Vilnius in Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené´s ballet The Seasons to the music of Vivaldis The Seasons, here SPRING.

Then the winter music is starting, and we are finding us in front of Mont Saint Michel Iceland in Normandy in France, perfect for the choreography and the white color ending up with a light green little girl bringing us to the next part The Spring, with all the participant in green costumes, not complicated created, but effect full. In this the choreographer is using students from all ages at the Academy, this continues through the Summer and Autumn only with the grown students, but giving them many good possibilities to show how much they have learned during the school years, and how well they have developed their talents. Then Winter comes for full, with all small an big students, and it all ends up with the little green girl back in the middle to show that after a long Winter comes a beautiful  Spring.

Sokio Teatre, Ciurlionis Academy, foto Henning Høholt

To my professional point of view. I see that this choreography is also usefully for a cooperation with the Lithuanian National Ballet, as this performance could go in to the repertoire where the National Ballet is inviting the choreographer to create the many leading roles in the four parts of The Seasons for its professional dancers, and then inviting all the dance students at the academy to dance all their beautiful corps des ballet parts. As we all know, for the students it would be a big lift for their understanding of how an eventual future as a professional dancer could be, if they choose to continue that way. On the other hand, it would be a great door opener for the large audience, who would love to go to the ballet (and opera) theatre house to enjoy The Seasons as a part of the program
. The choreography that Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené has made is first class, with great variations, and can work well in such a combination. The costumes worked well, – Ruta Biliunaite. It was a pleasure to enjoy so many well trained and well functioning students on stage.

Ballet students from the Ciurlionis Academy, Vilnius in Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené´s ballet The Seasons to the music of Vivaldis The Seasons, here AUTUMN.

For me it is important to give the students the possibility to be a part of a professional production, which is of the greatest importance. A very good example from Norway is their Nutcracker (Spragtukas) by the famous former Danish  ballet chief , – and Bournonville expert,  in Oslo, Dinna Bjørn, which has been programmed, as here in Vilnius nearly every  year, the last many years at the Opera and Ballet house in Oslo, and lately also filmed and shown on 45 cinemas around in Norway

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. Where up to 65 dance students from the Norwegian National Ballets Ballet School is participating and growing their dance interest by getting small solo roles, such as Little Clara and Fritz, Sergeant of the mouse’s and Sergeant of the soldiers.  This sincere cooperation between the leading national ballet company, and the leading academy of dance in a country is a good example to follow.

The first part of this evenings program was a “galla” part presenting many smaller and bigger classical ballet parts, solos, pas de deux and groups presented by dance students from 5-13 class, form the folloving ballets Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle, Talisman, Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Il Corsaire.  Music by Tsjaikovsky, Adam, Minkus and Drigo.

Ballet students from the Ciurlionis Academy, Vilnius in Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené´s ballet The Seasons to the music of Vivaldis The Seasons, here SUMMER.

Interesting was the framing of it, where two boys and a girl, is using a magic push button to diverse between the different numbers. A good idea, and well performed by the small sweet students, where even one boy of them had a good solo. This part opened with a pas de deux part from Le Corsaire danced by Eimante Seskute and Jonas Laucius. The a male solo from Don Quixote by Tomas Kratatskis, then a deliciouse solo from Tuscias Assar danced by Julia Stankeviciene, then back to Le Corsaire, where Jonas Laucius again entered the podium for one of the famouse  male solo´s, The the famouse solo from Paris in Flames danced by Edvinas Jakonis, and then the opening parts  from the pas de deux from Flowerfestival in Genzano (Bournonville) danced by Neringa Ceserityte and Karolis Semeta.

Regi of this part was by Tadas Montrimas. Choreography by Giedré Zascizinskaite in addition to the original choreographies. Costumes Marius Apanskas.

Ballet students from the Ciurlionis Academy, Vilnius in Lina Puodziukaité-Lanauskiené´s ballet The Seasons to the music of Vivaldis The Seasons, here WINTER.

As mentioned earlier. The standard of the Dance section of the Ciurlionis Academy is high, and I do understand, that this is a good background for some of the biggest talents later to enter the Lithuanian National Ballet or other professional companies around in the ballet world.

Ciurlionis Academy, Main building (central part). Photo: Henning Høholt

Information from Wikipedia regarding the Ciurlionis Academy: Founded in 1945. It is the only such school in Lithuania, spanning the entire 12 year learning cycle. After the twelfth grade, having successfully passed final examinations in general and art subjects, pupils receive a school certificate. Learning is free of charge for Lithuanian pupils, but not for foreigners. Gifted children above 6-7 years old are allowed to join the school if their qualities match certain criteria of the correspondent speciality. The school also organizes training courses and seminars for students abroad.

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Bust of Ciurlionis by the Academy. Foto: Henning Høholt

From the homepage of the school:

With over 900 students, aged from 7 to 19, The National M.K.Čiurlionis School of Art is one of the largest music and fine art specialist school and the only professional ballet school in the Republic of Lithuania.

Founded by the Ministry of Education and Science the School is to satisfy nation-wide artistically gifted learners’ needs. The mission of The School is to provide artistic and comprehensive education for children so that they may pursue their future carriers as professional musicians, ballet dancers or artists.

Students selected solely on their artistic (musical, art or ballet) potential come from all over Lithuania. Situated in the heart of Vilnius, the School offers elaborate educational programme whilst our lively city centre location complements a dynamic cultural programme. We regularly collaborate with the city’s various cultural venues on a range of projects and initiatives, to present exciting opportunities both for our students and teachers.

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