“Kaunas has its own aura and “Aura”. Kaunas is one of a kind. The modern dance which was born in the temporary capital, endured the Soviet times, today makes the city famous. The “Aura” dance theatre is traveling the world and spreading the message about Kaunas and the ongoing “Aura” international dance festival. I am glad that I was born and grew up in this city and that, together with “Aura”, I came to the modern capital, Kaunas. I am proud that we are a significant part of the city aura.” – Birutė Letukaitė
A dancer, a choreographer and a teacher, Birutė Letukaitė came into the dance world from artistic gymnastics. For 10 years, she danced in the expression dance group, “Sonata” (director Kira Daujotaitė) and gained even more knowledge while studying at various dance workshops abroad.
The “Aura” dance studio that was created and nurtured at the initiative of Birutė Letukaitė in 1980, was registered in 1995 as the Kaunas Theatre, which is still managed by the famous choreographer. Even before the country had regained its independence, B. Letukaitė was the first in Lithuania to invite foreign choreographers and dance teachers to Lithuania and to organize dance seminars, including projects with various artists, seniors and physically disabled people. “Aura” created and shaped the face of Lithuanian modern dance and trained a number of professional dancers who contributed to the world dance arena (one of them is Virgis Puodžiūnas, who has been dancing in the Sasha Waltz Dance Theatre in Germany for many years).
In 1989, “Aura” held the first modern dance festival in Lithuania in Kaunas, and this festival is still held every fall. Kaunas is called the cradle of modern dance for a reason. Here, Danutė Nasvytytė founded the first expressive dance school in 1939, when she returned to Kaunas after finishing her studies in Germany.
Birutė Letukaitė carries out artistic and pedagogical activities: she worked as a choreographer in a Kaunas children’s sports school, as a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts of Vytautas Magnus University, in the Higher theatrical school of the Kaunas State Drama Theatre, and she is also a jury member of many Lithuanian and foreign dance competitions. The creative activities of B. Letukaitė are not limited to the responsibilities of being the artistic director and choreographer of the “Aura” Kaunas Dance Theatre, she enthusiastically participates in various creative initiatives and projects involving Lithuanian and foreign artists.
Birutė Letukaitė also enthusiastically accepts invitations to creatively collaborate in organizing cultural events in the city. She actively consults with students specializing in the history of art and culture management who not only write papers about “Aura”, but also about the entire modern dance history of Lithuania.
Among the most important awards that Birute Letukaite has received, there are two “Golden Stage Crosses” for the choreography of the play “Aseptic Zone or Lithuanian Glees” (2006) and for her long-term contribution to the Lithuanian modern dance art (2013), the “The Knight of the Kaunas Spirit 2016” government culture and art prize, Santaka Medal of Honour, Silver-plated Medal of J. Vileišis, Kaunas city mayor, five “Fortūna” statuettes received from the Kaunas Branch of the Lithuanian Theatre Union, and many others.