AURA Dance Theatre

“Aura” Dance Theatre now exists for more than a quarter of century. It is the oldest dance theatre of such kind, which accumulated the largest and most consistent experience of contemporary dance in Lithuania.

“Aura” represented contemporary dance in many international dance events. “Aura” performed in foreign countries, participated in 180 festivals. Since 1991, “Aura” has collaborated with foreign choreographers and teachers (the theater was visited by 35 choreographers from 15 different countries). It as well take part in joint projects with sound and visual artists (Festival “Aura and Other Demons”)

“Aura” – it’s not just a theater, but home to Lithuania’s best contemporary dancers. Current and former dancers enchant the audiences not only with sophisticated performance culture, but also with their sincerity and passionate dedication to dance.

The dancers demonstrated strong technique.  … “Aura” delivered a performance that was a VIDF highlight. Lithuanian dancers fascinated everyone…

The Georgia Straight, Canada

Creative activity of “Aura” has earned 49 city, national and international awards, theatre received excellent feedbacks from both domestic and foreign press.

Aura founder, choreographer and artistic director Birute Letukaite was awarded with The Government Arts and Culture Prize for her artistic achievements in 2008.

www.aura.lt

Birutė Letukaitė

Birute Letukaite – dancer, choreographer, pedagogue. She came to the dance world from the world of free calisthenics. Ten years B. Letukaite had danced in expression dance company “Sonata” (direct. Kira Daujotaite). She gained her experience while educated in many workshops in foreign countries, for example she had been in Palucca dance school in Dresden for 6 times.

In 1980 B. Letukaite established a dance studio, which has grown into professional, internationally acknowledged Dance Theatre “Aura”. From 1990, even before Lithuania got back Independency, she started for the first time, to invite choreographers, pedagogues from abroad, organize dance workshops, projects with artists from different art fields, pensioners, people with physical ir vision disability. For the first time in Lithuania dancers from abroad started to dance in dance company “Aura”. Along with “Aura” B. Letukaite established studio-school, where best dancers in Lithuania are educated (her student Virgis Puodziunas already for many years is dancing in Sasha Waltz company).

In 1989 for the first time she organized Kaunas first International Modern Dance Festival in Lithuania. Kaunas is the city, which is the cradle of modern dance in Lithuania, where in 1939 Danute Nasvytete established first dance school after she had come back from Germany. Festival, organized every year, become traditional and important event of Kaunas and Lithuania cultural life.

Artistic-educational activity of B. Letukaite is very wide. She had worked as a choreographer in sport and theatre schools, held Dance philosophy lectures in Academy of Physical Education, for many years she has taught Dance history in Vytautas Magnus University, she had been a member of commissions in many local and international dance competitions. B. Letukaite holds a deep interest in different aspects and problematic fields related to dance. She develops creative activity not only creating for “Aura” Dance Theatre, but also enthusiastically joining creative initiatives, different projects with local or foreign artists. In cooperation with the representatives of drama genre, she has created choreography for 6 drama performances and lots of choreographic compositions for various events.

Her performances “Extremum mobile” and “Aseptic Zone or Lithuanian Songs” for “Aura” Dance Theatre has been performed in more than 20 foreign countries and won first prizes in Vitebsk (Belarus), Kalisz (Poland) international competitions.

Among the numerous international, government and city awards: “Golden Stage Cross” – for best choreography, “III grade Santaka Honor Award” for merits to Kaunas city, “Kaunas region Honor Award” for life merits, “Kaunas Spirit Knight” for merits to culture and The Government Arts and Culture Prize for contribution to Lithuanian culture and art.

With the persistence of choreographers like these (B.Letukaite), who have continued to experiment against all odds, the coming years should bring fresh political and artistic energy to the Baltic states.

Bonie Sue Stein, Dance Magazine, 1990 No.9

 

Evaldas Jansas

Evaldas Jansas (Lithuania) is a graduate of Vilnius Accademy of Fine arts Department of Painting, however mosty works in the field of performance and video art. Currently lives in Vilnius. As an anthropologist, documentalist and (auto)biographer he records routine of his own and the others. Farce, transgressive critique of social norms and accepted lifestyles is the common strategy in his works.

One of the authors for CAC TV. His works have been shown in festivals in Tel Aviv, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, etc. He is the author of more than 12 personal exhibitionas and participant of 40 group exhibitions, author of the book “Ode to routine” (2000). In the year 1999 he was awarded with the grant of Soros Contemporary Art Centre. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania awarded him with the grant in the years 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2009.

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Vita Gelūnienė

Vita Geluniene (Lithuania) is an artist, educator, international artistic project coordinator. She graduated from Vilnius Art Academy, Kaunas Art Institute, where she earned her textile-specialty. She has taught at VDA KDI, Dubli National Academy of Art and Design, Galway Mayo University of Technology Faculty of Fine Arts. She is a member of European Textile Network, Textile Artists Guild, the Lithuanian Artist’s Union. In her works she is using the classical tapestry weaving techniques. Communicating through representations of a human body the artist discusses the topics of performative identity, routine, a place of male and female in the society, man and women relations.

She was main organizer of Kaunas Biennial from 2004 to 2007, in 2009 and 2010 she was a borad member. Vita Geluniene was awarded Lithuanian Artists’ Association Gold Badge No.18 , her works have been awarded diplomas at international exhibitions “Soft World” and “Line”. Art critic Virginia Vitkiene, describes Vita’s work: “From the outset, the main Vita Geluniene artistic eloquence “tool” has become the human body, the first works it is unfolding for the perceiver as the post-structural text (which communicates interactively and is based on the play of connotations between body and environmental relationships), and in the last tapestries – as the body without internal organs, postbody”.

www.tdg.lt/edit/editfiles/file/Dailininkai/v_geluniene.pdf

 

Silja Puranen

Silja Puranen (Finland) is a textile artist based in Tuusula, Finland. She received her education from Kuopio Institute of Art and Design and later studied aesthetics in University of Helsinki. The author of more than 20 personal exhibitions and participant of more than 100 group exhibitions at home and abroad, in her works she focuses on the unforeseen process of life and the contrast between reality and the commonly accepted ideals in life. “What do we (or others) expect our life to be and what are the chances of those who do not meet the norms? What happens when we lose control?” – these are the central questions of Silja Puranen’s work. Her works combine contemporary technology with traditional slow handicraft.

Silja is a honorary member of World Crafts Council in Europe and a member of Finnish Association of Textile Artists (TEXO), Artists O and Finish Painters Association. She has been a jury member in Kaunas Art Biennial, WCC Europe Contemporary Craft Award, Northen Fibre among others. In 2009 Silja Puranen was awarded with the biggest prize in the Nordic countries, The Nordic Award in Textiles. The Jury stated: “She processes her carefully chosen textile materials in combinations of old and new expressions and techniques which gives a distinctive “Puranenish” intimacy and unquestionable might to her artistic voice.”

www.elisanet.fi/silja.puranen

Anne-Linn Akselsen

Anne-Linn Akselsen (Norway) is a Norwegian dance artist, based in Brussels. She is a graduate from the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) in Brussels, under the direction of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. As a dancer, she worked with internationally renown choreographers such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker/ Rosas, Jean Luc Ducourt, Salva Sanchis and Heine Røsdal Avdal and she has danced and toured works by William Forsythe and Trisha Brown. As a choreographer she has created several works, among which her solo ”Sing me, for your life, in a Portuguese folia, the reason for your happiness” (2008) won 1st prize at the Baltic Movement Contest in 2010. In 2009 she co-founded the company “Human Works” with the theatre artist Adrián Minkowicz, and they have since premiered three performances together, notably “Dry Act Corpse Aroma” as the first part of the “Dry Act Trilogy”. Anne-Linn is a sought after teacher and workshop-holder in her field. She is a recipient of the Norwegian Governments Artists Grant.

Adrián Minkowicz

Adrián Minkowicz (Argentina) is a multifaceted artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a director, playwright and actor. Adrián founded in 2009, together with Anne-Linn Akselsen, the company “Human Works” which premiered it’s first performance “Dry Act #1: Corpse Aroma” in Brussels. As an actor he has studied at the “Bova Actors Workshop” and the “Lee Strasberg Institute” in New York and has been directed by renowned directors in Buenos Aires. Adrián has written several theatre and dance- theatre plays and has directed some of them. He has also written comedy scripts for radio and newspapers. He is a professional tango dancer and has been dancing and teaching for several years in Buenos Aires and in cities around Europe. He is also a lawyer and he holds a Master in “Law & Economics”. Currently Adrián is touring the second production of his company in Europe. He is also touring a one man comedy show of his own creation in cities like Madrid, New York and Buenos Aires.

Patricija Gilytė

The visual repertoire of Germany based Lithuanian artist Patricija Gilyte (Lithuania-Germany) includes performative sculpture, video art and installation. She explores these medias while mixing and interlacing, creating cross-relations between them. She graduated with Master of Arts degree from Lithuania Art Academy, Kaunas Art Institute in 2001, and moved to Germany to continue her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

In her works she handles the topics of nature, landscape, human body and its connection to surroundings. Exploring the metaphor of “home” in her work she aims to evoke a binding feeling of place, which essentially always remains utopian. She has the strong identification with the North. Patricija Gilyte is playing with references from numerous sources, including Lithuanian poetry and literary sources from the XIX century, landscape, geography, cultural traditions and its boundaries, ancient culture myths. Her work utilizes these different cultural phenomena in an open approach that embraces their relationships to each other. As a symbol of deep attachment to Lithuania, she intensifies, in her complex installations, the experience of a natural habitat and the process of detachment that arises from migration. The viewer is allowed to participate in her experience. Patricija Gilyte often points out the importance of video medium, because it is an excellent mean of storing and transporting information between different places or cultures.

2005 PG video performance “Heed 360°“ got excellence award in the category of “concept“ by Kaunas art Biennial textile05. PG work has been shown in various exhibitions and video festivals, was supported by grants and developed during the residencies and collaborative projects in Germany and other countries (Poland, Turkey, Lithuania and Greece).

www.patricija-gilyte.net

 

Né Barros

Né Barros (Portugal) is a choreographer and dancer. She has been developing her artistic work in connection with her scientific studies and research focusing on the contemporary dance and performance. Doctorate in Dance (FMH, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa), Master of Arts in Dance Studies (Laban Centre, City University, London). Since 2010 she is a researcher at the Institute of Philosphy in the group “Aesthetic, Politics and Art” (University of Porto). She began her training in classical dance and later worked in contemporary dance and choreographic composition in the United States, Smith College. She studied sciences at the University of Porto and achieved a

B.A. degree in theatre (ESAP). She has presented most of her performances with company balleteatro since the beginning of the nineties and also worked with the National Dance Company (awarded Best Choreography) and with Ballet Gulbenkian. As an actress, has worked on cinema and theatre. In 2006 and 2007 she was a member of the board of selection in the Festival of short films of Vila do Conde. Invited teacher at ESAP, FMH, ESD, ESE. Collaborator at Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo where, from 2006 to 2009, was leader of the research group of Arts History, Theory and Criticism. From 2005 to 2007 was a researcher at IHA- Estudos de Arte Contemporânea. Has several published articles and in 2009, published two books: “Da materialidade na dança” (transl. “On the materiality of dance”) and “Story Case” print, this one in co-authoring.

She is a member of the Direction of balleteatro of which she was a founder.

www.balleteatro.pt

 

OsGêmeos

Os Gêmeos (Brazil) are twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, Os Gêmeos means twins in Portuguese. They were born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and been actively involved in local graffiti scene since they were 12. Spray paint was not easily accessible for graffiti artists, so in the beginning they used latex pain. As a part of Brazilian graffiti tradition, they still use latex paint as well as spray paint and other medias creating their murals, objects and paintings.

In their works brothers share the imagery of their mutual dream world. Sincere and naive, it goes by the name of “Tritrez”. What is noticeable in these paintings is Brazilian folk, characters from “Tritrez” and personages depicting family members of Os Gêmeos.. Yellow people as well as yellow colour are the distinctive character of their work.

Their huge murals are located all over the world, including New York, Sao Paulo, Lisbo, Berlin, Moscow, Athens, Krakow and other places. In 2002 one of their works was commissioned to Olympic Games, in 2007 they coloured Kelburn castle in Scotland, in 2008 they drew a huge mural on TATE Modern in London.

Os Gêmeos visited Kaunas in 2007 and 2010, some of the works that are still present in Kaunas are located on the wall of Kaunas Picture Gallery, in gallery “101”, in the inner yard of closed cinema “Romuva”.

In 2011 twins Os Gêmeos are back in Kaunas to present other side of their art. Starting in September, installation will be gradually built in Kaunas Picture Gallery. The work will tell the emigration history of their family of Italian and Lithuanian descent. The story will evolve on old furniture and little building filled with eccentric pictures inside.

Margarida Leda Kanciukaitis (Brazil) is the mother of two, Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo. Veronica Tognoli (Brazil) is her sister. They both are textile artists, Veronica also paints. Their hand-work is commissioned as a part of this project. They were born in Brazil in a family of Brazilian and Lithuanian. In 2007 Margarida and her sons were invited to Kaunas Biennial by curator Fernando Marques Penteado, who at the time searched evidences of contemporary textile art in Brazil. Margarida Leda Kanciukaitis and Veronica Tognoly are mostly inspired by the life, family traditions, Brazilian folk and Naif art, and sometimes they both collaborate with Margarida’s sons, Os Gêmeos.

http://osgemeos.com.br/

 

Johannes Wieland

Johannes Wieland (Germany) received his early dance training under Ellys Gregor in Berlin, the ballet academy of the Deutsche Opera Berlin, with John Neumeier at the Hamburg State Opera and the Amsterdam School of the Arts where he earned his BFA. His dance career took him back to Germany, the State Theatre of Brunswick, Germany, followed by the Berlin State Opera. Here he worked with numerous guest choreographers, among them Roland Petit and Maurice Béjart. He then joined the Béjart Ballet Lausanne as a principle dancer and also toured extensively with the company. Ready for a radical change, Wieland next moved to New York City, where he was awarded a scholarship to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, earning his MFA in Contemporary Dance and Choreography in 2002. His company, “johannes wieland”, was founded that same year and debuted with his original work “tomorrow” at the Joyce SoHo theater. Praised as ‘a spectacular exploration of relationships’, by Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times, this was one in the body of the startlingly powerful, terse strange pieces Wieland began creating for his company, prompting “Dance Magazine” to cite him as one of the 25 to Watch, 2003. In addition to heading his own company, Wieland is artistic director and choreographer of the resident dance company of the State Theater of Kassel in Germany. He was also associate artistic director of “Paradigm” in New York and is a guest choreographer and teacher in schools and companies in Europe and North America. He is a permanent resident of the United States and divides his time between New York and Germany.

www.johanneswieland.org

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Külli Roosna

Külli Roosna (Estonia) is a dancer, choreographer and teacher. She graduated Tallinn University in 2005 as a choreographer/dancer and continued her studies in Rotterdam Dance Academy in Netherlands. After obtaining her second bachelor degree (2007) Külli started working internationally with different choreographers. Since 2010 she is following the master program in choreography in Tallinn University. Currently she is working together with Norwegian choreographer Kenneth Flak under the name of “Kompanii Kuri Koer”. She worked in several dance performances lead by American/Dutch choreographer Dylan Newcomb and participated in research project about the connection between dance and Spiral Dynamics theory (2007). She has also worked with choreographers as Aida Redza, Amy Raymond, Ezequiel Sanucci, Teet Kask, Katrin Essenson and others. In Estonia Külli has frequently worked for “Fine5 Dance Theater” and Tallinn University, giving dance technique and improvisation classes. Also as a dancer and choreographer she worked in different projects. Her solo performance “Circle Through” was awarded the First Prize at the International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk, Belarus. Külli has performed her own and other choreographer’s works in different festivals in Japan, South-Korea, Germany, England, Russia, Belarus, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Netherlands and Estonia.

kulliroosna.com

Kenneth Flak

Kenneth Flak (Norway) was born 1975 in Kristiansand, Norway. He freelances internationally as a dancer, choreographer and composer. He has danced in the works of, amongst others, André Gingras (Netherlands/Canada), Dansdesign (Norway), Preeti Vasudevan (India/USA) and Richard Siegal (France/USA). Kenneth is educated at the Stage Direction department of the National Academy of Dramatic Arts, Norway; the Mime Department and Modern Dance Department of the Amsterdam Arts School. In 2007 he received a Bessie Performer’s Award in New York for his interpretation of Gingras’ solo “CYP17”; in 2010 he was nominated for the BNG Award in Amsterdam for “Of Gods and Driftwood”. He received the Norwegian Government Grant for Young Artists 2004 and 2008-9. Currently he is collaborating with choreographer and dancer Külli Roosna (Estonia) on several projects under the name “Kompanii Kuri Koer”. Flak is a regular guest teacher at universities and professional workshops around the world. A self-taught composer, he frequently writes the music for his own choreographies, as well as those of Charlotta Öfverholm, Wilfried Seethaler, Kosmas Kosmpoulos, Yael Gaathon and others.

blog.kennethflak.com

Inga Likšaitė

Inga Likšaitė (Lithuania-Germany) is a textile designer and visual artist. In her creative practice Inga works as a solo artist or takes part in collaboration with artists, architects, interior designers. Her textiles, mainly stitched, come as wall canvases, 3 dimensional objects or moving pictures.

In her recent works Inga takes images from her previous creations and remakes them. Every object has prototype and becomes a prototype for the next one, therefore time consuming processes are inevitable in her stitched work. Periodically she collaborates with animation artist Claudia Rohrmoser. Their skills and ideas converge in the projects, where stitches go moving or moving pictures are being catched by a needle. Awarded two-year scholarship from Lithuanian Republic Ministry Of Culture and received excellence award in Kaunas Biennial Textile 05 in 2005. Received Grand Prize in Pfaff Challenge in London, 2007 and Grand Prize in “Art of the Stich” international exhibition in Birmingham UK.

www.liksaite.com

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Almyra Bartkevičiūtė-Weigel

Almyra Bartkeviciute-Weigel (Lithuania-Germany) – is a textile, visual artist and curator. Was educated in Vilinius Academy of Arts, Kaunas Institute of Arts, later she taught there. Since 2001 Almyra lives in Berlin.

Almyra extensively employs non-traditional materials in her artworks. The signature attribute of her work is development and usage of hot glue technique. She is an artist in the field of experimental textiles. In her recent projects, employing contemporary topics an techniques, she aims to connect to cultural and social tradition, by accepting, reflecting and developing traditional form, content and stereotypes. In the core of this reflection lies human body and the clothes covering it.

Participant of many exhibitions in Germany, Check Republic, Latvia, Austria, Hungary and Lithuania.

Curator of exhibition “Modern Textile from The Baltics” in fair “Creativa” in Dortmund and of “Lithuanian textile art” in Bonn Women’s Museum in Germany.

She is a Merit Prize winner of “Global Intrigue”, 3rd European Textile and Fibre Art Triennial, Riga, Latvia in 2007 and the holder of The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania artist grant for the years 2006 and 2007.

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