From parquet of Actor’s House to ballet floor of Musa Dzhalil Theatre
Five years of Oleg Ivenko's Festival #StagePlatforma
The fifth festival of modern choreography #StagePlatforma has finally taken shape: a stable guest list, attention to the younger generation, a minimum of Kazan guests who did not come from the world of classical ballet. Contemporary dance in Kazan is developing as if in the world of bureaucracy, when several institutions are responsible for the same process, not interacting with each other.
It's early for the theare, let's start with the Actor's House
#StagePlatforma began in 2018 with several events at the Actor's House. Then the initiator of the project, Oleg Ivenko, was asked how safe it was for professionals to dance on the parquet. Colleagues from the opera and ballet theatre appeared with him at the festival — Alessandro Kaggeji, Koya Okawa, Midori Terada, Anton Polodyuk. At the same time, flamenco dancer Anna Fedorova and adherents of free style Marcel and Maria Nurievs joined the project, since then traditionally representing the Kazan part of the festival on behalf of non-ballet dancers. Master classes were also held in the studio of Ivenko BalletRoom. The first festival is always a test: for example, here, in addition to dancing, they taught acting and artistic photography.
The experiments continued in the summer, when the festival was held in the Black Lake Park, on the Kaban Embankment and in the Kremlin near the Kul Sharif Mosque, with lessons in contemporary, ballet stretching and yoga.
At the third festival of 2019, a native for Ivenko and many participants of the Tatar Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Dzhalil appeared in its schedule, where rehearsals and a gala concert took place. A small budget appeared with the support of the Ministry of Culture.
Due to the pandemic, the fourth festival, with the theatre as the main point, was held in November 2021, with incomplete seating, but a settled composition. One of the concerts was programmatically called Ivenko&Friends and showed how ballet professionals dance — rarely seen classics, such as adagio from “Shurale” and pas de deux from “Esmeralda” and “sovremennka”.
And the next day the guests danced, with education and experiments. Among them — Alexander Mogilev, the winner of Tantsuy show and one of the choreographers of the Dancing on TNT project, a graduate of the choreographic department of the Karelian School of Culture and Arts, the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts and the European Ballet Conservatory. Also — Vladimir Varnava, in the past — ballet dancer at the Musical Theatre of the Republic of Karelia, who moved to St. Petersburg and has since been working with both the Mariinsky and the Russian Engineering Theatre “AHE”. Soloist of the Boris Eifman Ballet Theatre, Oleg Gabyshev.
Then Alessandro Kaggeji noticed that “so far there are not so many projects in Kazan that promote modern choreography. The thing is that we do not have a school and a good troupe that would directly deal with modern plastics.”
At the same time, a regional competition of choreographers was organised within the framework of the festival, its winner Aigul Buzayeva performed on the stage of the opera and ballet theater with a number based on the biography of Edith Piaf. You may have seen her in Tantsy show. She wasn't in the programme this year.
Best is for children
In 2022, the festival is being implemented with the support of the Presidential Foundation for Cultural Initiatives. And the main innovation is that within its framework a regional children's and youth competition of performers of modern choreography was organised, in groups of 7-12 and 13-6 years. Therefore, during the November holidays, there were a lot of teenagers at the MOÑ theatre site at the master classes of Alexander Mogilev, Vladimir Varnava, Oleg Gabyshev, Alessandro Kaggeji, Marsel and Maria Nurievs, Nurbek Batulla, Ivenko himself.
So, on the one hand, the festival is growing. But it remains the brainchild of Ivenko, who has become even busier: this year he has even showed at #StagePlatforma a performance of “Milligan Personalities” to the music of Elmir Nizamov with choreography by Oleg Gabyshev. The production suddenly interested Kazan parents, who, after reading online about who Milligan was, but without watching the premiere itself, bombarded the Ministry of Culture with letters demanding that it be banned. As a result, the performance with the age limit of 18 + was held under a thunder of applause, and its theme was in tune with the concerns of the protesters: it's about how one boy was disliked by his parents, as a result, a mess started in his head, and he directed all his rigidity at his father.
The gala concert with 12 premieres was full of the marks “premiere” and “premiere in Kazan”. It is impossible not to notice, however, that for 5 years in his excellent programme, the number of local artists not from ballet has not increased.
“I think there's not much to brag about, we don't have our own modern dance theater or school yet, so that we can talk about full-fledged development, but still we are moving in the right direction," Ivenko pointed out to Realnoe Vremya.
There's not much to brag about
Interestingly, there are two more similar festivals in Kazan. The first is the international festival of dance performance “Telovision”, which has been in existence since 2008. It is conducted by Nail Ibragimov, the head of the Panther Chamber Ballet. In 2020, he was nominated for the Golden Mask in the categories “Best Performance in Modern Dance”, “Best Work of a choreographer-balletmaster”. Literally in September, “Panther” gave a concert at the Kariev Theatre.
There is a younger, but no less noticeable festival “Freedom Square”. In November 2021, it was held for the seventh time. By the way, at the same MOÑ site — with a lecture, a public talk, a laboratory and performances, which, in particular, were shown by the same Nurievs and Batulla. Marsel, Maria and Nurbek were lucky in a sense. They are involved in both contemporary and classical. Nuriev is a graduate of the theater department of the Kazan State Institute of Culture, studied at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. Batulla studied at the Kazan Choreographic School, worked as a ballet dancer at the Tatar Academic State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after M. Dzhalil, and also went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory for 2 years to study ballet master-choreographer, until he left for the Institute of Performing Arts to study drama and cinema actor.
At the same time, Ildar Alekbayev, the organiser of the Netantsy project, a teacher in a private kindergarten, choreographer, participant in the show “New Dances” on TNT, and Venera Galimova, a teacher of the choreography studio, are doing “Freedom Square”.
Probably, all these people know at least a little about each other. Why don't they “visit”? It turns out that there are several worlds of Kazan dance that do not particularly intersect. The professionals who earn their bread with classics, but constantly try themselves in contemporary. People without academic training, doing the same thing and not knowing how to do batman tandu. “Weirdos” who don't know any limits.
On the other hand, can you imagine contact improvisation or total improvisation on the stage of the Musa Dzhalil Theatre? And does such a dance need a ramp, spotlights and a dress circle? Maybe they should go back to the Actor's House?
But as the experience of the Context festival shows. Diana Vishneva, who started with near-ballet productions, and now hosts a variety of choreographers, such an event needs time. If only this time would be enough for Oleg Ivenko's enthusiasm.
The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.