Dancers of contemporary dance that awaken the impressive architecture of Kaunas – this is the treat that awaits the audience of LRT (Lithuanian National broadcaster). It is a joint project of LRT, Lithuania Dance Information Centre (LŠIC) and “Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022”. During it, the usual schedule of LRT will include five different videos by the dancers of Kaunas dance theatre Aura and the author of the video Marius Paplauskas, capturing their interpretation of harmony between architecture and dance.

Attention to the heritage of Kaunas interwar period

One of the authors of the project is Ms. Viltė Migonytė-Petrulienė, curator of “Modernism for the Future” programme of “Kaunas 2022”, who claims that today it is very important to speak more extensively about the heritage, understanding it better and reaching as wide audience as possible: “Currently the interwar architecture of Kaunas engages an increasing part of the audience to discuss about its value for the future and inspires ways to look for appealing ways to tell its story. One of such interpretations includes storylines, created by the team of Aura dance theatre together with a dancer and operator Marius Paplauskas, and filmed in five modernist buildings, thus establishing a new relationship between architecture and the audience, while also creating the aesthetic quality. An unexpected and contemporary scenography includes the ethnic elements in the great hall of Kaunas Garrison Officers’ Club Building, impressive symmetry in the building’s stairway, teraco floor, the iconic circular window at the house of Pranas Gudavičius and Aleksandra Iljinienė and its Moorish alcove, as well as the authentic mechanisms of Žaliakalnis funicular.” V. Migonytė-Petrulienė says that these projects are relevant not only in the local, but international context as well: “One of the key goals of “Interpret Europe” organisation is to encourage the positions of heritage interpretation as unofficial heritage protection in Europe, change the opinion of the society and professionals as well as their perception about heritage research and new forms of education.”

Architecture that inspires dance

Resident of Kaunas city Marius Paplauskas who has shot all the videos tells that one of the most important things creating this series was the interrelation between different relationship of movement and dancers themselves: “I was asking myself how one movement or another can lead to the next scene, dancer or space. I’ve always had my inner story with me, and each audience member will read it in its own way or simply observe the dynamics of movement in a wonderful architecture of Kaunas. The mechanism of Žaliakalnis funicular is like a propeller that stirs the city to life, echoing and ringing philharmonic society with giant columns, Kaunas Garrison Officers’ Club Building and other spaces made to create various short stories and look through the camera from different angles than usual. I guess the biggest challenge was to connect everything in one so that architecture could be disclosed through the help of dance and emphasise the personalities of dancers.”

Lithuanian Dance Information Centre knows how important it is for the contemporary dance to come closer to its viewers. “One of the strategic goals of Lithuanian Dance Information Centre  is to promote the contemporary dance in all possible formats. This project is a unique opportunity to present the dance to the wide Lithuanian audience in the most way convenient: watching it on TV at home. We hope that these videos will encourage interest in the area of contemporary dance and see the things around us in a different light,” says Ms. Gintarė Masteikaitė, head of the Lithuanian Dance Information Centre.

The place of art on the TV

According to Ms. Agnė Biliūnaitė, Culture Editor in Chief at LRT, the national broadcaster seeks encouraging their audience’s interest in as various cultural forms as possible while also looking for new and creative forms of doing it. “Today capturing and maintaining one’s attention is as a difficult task as it gets, so a several-minute-long video with masterful story, spatial atmosphere, visual expression of movement, hints at the history, music, choreography and architectural heritage is like a long-lasting pill of vitamins,” says Ms. Biliūnaitė. She also adds that she would like to implement similar projects in the future: “I believe that these five Kaunasian video pills which in LRT are called Šokis plius Miestas (Dance plus the City) will not be the end of vitaminisation of the audience. I want to create something similar in cooperation with Klaipėda and Vilnius, their dance groups and historians of architecture. I’ve just come back Golden Prague International Television Festival which mostly focused on the rendering of dance, music and theatre on the TV screen. From what I’ve seen there, such dance videos can welcome attention from foreign broadcasters as well.”

Dance videos will be broadcasted on LRT and LRT Plius from November 11.