The beginning of our Dance Festival and Kaunas Biennial every second year overlaps. We tried to adjust the dates, until finally the idea of a creative attempt to combine both events and artists from both fields crossed my mind.

Organizers of Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE and artists met this idea very enthusiastically. This is the story, how interdisciplinary program for artistic collaboration PLAY was born.

Kaunas Biennial suggested visual artists and we suggested the choreographers. The project started with the brainstorm in virtual space, then the first meeting was held. Ideas begun to turn into flesh, when dancers joined the meetings in Porto, Berlin and Kaunas. Out of six projects, five collaborate with AURA dancers, hoping that these works will last longer than the exhibition.

In this idea of the merging arts I see a possibility for a fresh start. We would like dance audience to open up and to get to know, perhaps, unfamiliar world of contemporary textile art, which has nothing to do with the traditional perception of textiles. At the same time we would like Kaunas Biennial visitors to get interested in contemporary dance.

As this idea has aroused great interest among artists, we hope that this is not only first steps, but the beginning of great discoveries, new fantasies and possibilities.

Birutė Letukaitė
Head of the AURA Dance Festival

Last year choreographer Birutė Letukaitė suggested to join the programs of the two festivals that are taking place at the same time in Kaunas. Thus from the very birth of the initiative (the beginning of 2010), the PLAY program has been coordinated by the Aura Dance Theatre of Kaunas. The re-telling of stories is reflected both in the TEXTILE’11 exhibitions and the PLAY (in Lithuanian – Moving Textile) section, which is a joint endeavor of the AURA’21 and Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE’11 festivals. The joint PLAY program is devoted to the conceptual synthesis of two disciplines – contemporary dance and the visual arts, as well as an interactive artistic process, which will result in an artistic performance that will be provided to visitors. Aura initiated six interdisciplinary and international cooperation projects where an artist using textile and a choreographer putting on shows worked together so a unique project uniting movement and visual art would be created in the synthesis of their joint work.

Some of the artists invited by the biennial enthusiastically agreed to be a part of this program, offering their works for an installation adapted for non-traditional choreography, scenography or dance. Thus in this way, the artists became people who offered ideas, further developed during the collaboration. Working with choreographers and other artists (video artists, directors and soloists were even invited to be a part of some projects), they expanded their visual and conceptual meaning of 3-D works and allowed furious movement, tension, risk and emotions expressed through a dancer’s body into their usual piece. For most of the artists, it was a new experience. For the choreographers as well. They shared the power they usually have to make individual decisions with the artists and dancers who they had never worked with earlier (members of the teams often were from three or four different European countries), they had to rehearse at residencies with a very limited amount of days and hours, coordinate their decisions with a number of people, and adapt to the conceptual and financial conditions of the project. We congratulate each participant and all the audience of this project!

All the most positive emotions!

Virginija Vitkienė
Head of Kaunas Biennial