In January and February 2018 two choreographers, dancers and graduates of the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz in Berlin, Grėtė Šmitaitė (Germany / Lithuania) and Hanna Kritten Tangsoo (Germany / Estonia) are in residency at the Kaunas Artists’ House. Here they develop the research part of their upcoming performance “Limitation Piece”, while regularly meeting their mentor – philosopher Dr. Jurga Jonutytė in Kaunas.
“Limitation Piece” will premiere at Tanzfabrik Uferstudios in Berlin on 21 and 22 July, 2018 with dancers Johanna Ackva, Camille Chapon, Jacques-André Dupont, Ewa Dziarnowska, Ivan Ekemark, Forough Fami, Anna Fitoussi, Magdalena Meindl, Julia Plawgo, Lyllie Rouviere, Sunayana Shetty, Alistair Watts.
During the residency, the choreographers play with the ideas of joy and energy which grow from dance as a form of communication. Here is a short interview with both the choreographers:
Grėtė and Hanna, how often do you work as a duo?
Grėtė and Hanna Kritten: We studied together in Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin, in the BA program “Dance, Context, Choreography”, from 2014 to 2017. In April 2017 we presented our first collaboration as choreographers in the HZT BA Festival, after which we were invited by Tanzfabrik Berlin to premiere a new piece in July 2018. This will be the first choreographic work that we do together outside of the frame of the university.
Both of you are based in Berlin now. How did you come up with the idea to participate in the residency at Kaunas Artists’ House?
Grėtė: I am from Kaunas. I took my first dance classes with choreographers/dancers Marijanas Staniulėnas, Birutė Letukaitė, Linutė Puodžiukaitė, Marius Pinigis and other local professionals. After my graduation from Kaunas University of Technology Gymnasium I went to study choreography in Berlin. This is my first year after graduating from the university. For now I want to make work and live in places where I find something artistically interesting. I would love to find ways to come back to work and live in Lithuania without impeding my artistic interests and ambitions. I am excited and looking forward to work together with Hanna Kritten at the Kaunas Artists’ House. It allows us to continue researching for our current work, to try out different creative methods with the Kaunas’ audience, to show our research to them and see their reactions to what we do.
Hanna Kritten: This is my first visit to Lithuania. During my and Grėtė’s studies in Berlin, we discovered similar interests, which we traced back to the shared history and the way of living in the Baltic countries. This led us further to look for opportunities to develop work in the Baltics. The residency at Kaunas Artists’ House is our first step in this direction. We will have our next residency for the Limitation Piece with the full cast in June 2018 az the Arts Printing House Vilnius.
Is the change of context important for you and “Limitation piece”?
Grėtė and Hanna Kritten: The change of context is not the focus of this work, but it definitely plays a role in the thinking process. Its influence will become clearer as more time passes. For now, our priority was to choose a place that would provide us with the space and support we need to develop this piece. Kaunas Artists’ House had a suitable offer and we were very happy to accept it.
Could you tell us more about the different stages of your research and what will be the difference between your working processes during your stay in Kaunas in January and February? Why are both stages of this residency important? What new input do you think it would provide to your colleagues in Berlin?
Grėtė and Hanna Kritten: The residency at Kaunas Artists’ House is the first step in the overall development of “Limitation piece”. Here we discuss and elaborate on different ideas for the piece and opened this stage of the work for group try-outs with people from Kaunas.
In January we started to work with dance as communication between dancing bodies, as well as between dancers and the audience. We aim to understand the possibilities and ways of sharing energy. In February we will continue working with the structure and dramaturgy of the work. It was important for us to have a break between the two stages so that the ideas we develop could settle.
Your new work is called “Limitation Piece”, what exact limitations do you have in mind?
Grėtė and Hanna Kritten: It is “Limitation Piece” because the conditions we found ourselves working seemed rather limited.
Which exact conditions?
Grėtė and Hanna Kritten:
Not having the endless eternity of everything.
We were interested in things that we can do and we cannot do.
We started to think what is this limit between what is possible and not.
And, then, we started to play with the idea of how much a limit is something defined by the mind, how much is it a formulation and how much is it just about perception.
How do you relate to the audience? Is the fact that this work is seen important for you?
Grėtė and Hanna Kritten: We choreograph in order to relate to the audience.
Which contemporary dancers and their working methods are influential for your work?
We are really influenced by each other and our dancers. We cannot deny the influence of Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin and the whole Berlin environment, where we have spent the last years.
13-14.01.2018 12.00-16.00 at Kaunas Artists’ House, Lithuania
Research showing: 23.02.2018 19.00 at Kaunas Artists’ House, Lithuania
Research showing #2: June 2018 at the Arts Printing House, Vilnius, Lithuania
Premiere of “Limitation Piece”: 21.07.2018 and 22.07.2018 July at Tanzfabrik Uferstudios Berlin, Germany
Photos: Inga Navickaitė