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1945–1967: The First Post-War Decades
Audronė Žiūraitytė
Vita Mozūraitė
Helmutas Šabasevičius
Post-war challenges on the ballet stage
In the first years after World War Two, the center of Lithuanian ballet was in Kaunas. The pre-war Valstybės (State) Theatre was disbanded, replaced by the newly created Kaunas State Drama Theatre and the Lithuanian SSR State Opera and Ballet Theatre, which performed for the next three years on the stage of the former State Theatre. The chaos that plagued the arts in the immediate post-war period curbed the enthusiasm of many artists. Rehearsals and dance performances took place in unheated halls, and many veteran ballet dancers still recall how they sometimes forgot to take off sweaters or leg warmers before appearing on stage.
The Lithuanian ballet company essentially lost its corps de ballet after many artists were forced to flee Lithuania due to the onset of the second Soviet occupation. A shortage of performers meant taking on new, physically capable amateur dancers, and working with a semi-professional company presented its challenges for senior choreographer Bronius Kelbauskas Bronius KelbauskasBronius Kelbauskas (December 25, 1904, Liepāja, Latvia – June 9, 1975, Vilnius) was the first professional Lithuanian ballet dancer and choreographer.

Kelbauskas trained at a ballet studio in Kharkov, Russia, before returning with his family to live in Kaunas, where he continued his studies with Olga Dubeneckienė. Kelbauskas danced in productions at the Lithuanian State Theatre, where he became a soloist in 1925. In 1934, he traveled to Paris to continue his training at the studio of Matilda Kshesinskaya. In 1937–1940, Kelbauskas directed and taught at the Ballet Studio of the Lithuanian State Theatre. He choreographed and directed numerous productions, including Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1937, Boris Asafiev’s The Fountain of Bakhchisarai and The Prisoner of the Caucusus in 1938, Reinhold Glière’s Red Poppy in 1940, Juozas Pakalnis’ Sužadėtinė (The Fiancée) in 1943, and Juozas Gruodis’ Jūratė and Kastytis in 1965. Kelbauskas also choreographed productions for Lithuanian Television, among them Pavasaris ir Mados (Spring and Fashion) and Žvejo nuotykis (The Fisherman’s Adventure) in 1970.  
 (1904–1975). The heaviest artistic burden fell on the more senior soloists—Jadvyga Jovaišaitė, Marija Juozapaitytė, and Kelbauskas himself—as well dancers who had debuted on stage on the eve of the war, such as Tamara Sventickaitė, Genovaitė Sabaliauskaitė, Marija Galočkinaitė, Aliodija Ruzgaitė, Regina Jamontaitė, Henrikas Jagminas, and Petras Baravykas.
In the initial years, the company performed ballets first mounted before the war, as well as the only ballet to premiere during the war itself—Juozas Pakalnis’ Sužadėtinė Sužadėtinė (The Fiancée)The main characters in the realistic five-tableau production were Petras Vargelis’ daughter Marytė and her fiancée Antanas Danaitis. At their engagement ceremony, Antanas and Marytė “pledge their eternal love for one another” (according to the program for the 1946-1947 production of the ballet), but the overseer of the manor, Pūstapėdis, puts an end to their celebration and takes a group of young women to work on the Veblevksy estate, where a banquet is taking place.

Veblevsky begins fawning over Marytė, but Antanas soon arrives with his men. Marytė fails to escape from the estate and is locked away in a room inside the manor where, at midnight, Veblevsky visits her “to express his passion for her.” Antanas tries to save Marytė but is assaulted by manor servants and is forced to flee. In keeping with dramaturgical traditions of romantic ballets, the production also included a tableau portraying Marytė’s dream in which she—”tired, poor and homeless”—cradles her baby.

A strong wind arises and she leaps into a lake, but is saved by fairies, who frolic and transform Marytė into one of their own, until suddenly a carriage arrives, pulled by Antanas. Marytė liberates him and “they both remember their own fate and suffering”. When Veblevksy appears in the dream, Marytė becomes frightened and awakens. The final tableau portrays the people gathering in the Vargelis family's village after learning of the end of serfdom. Marytė returns from the estate and her uncle Trimpas arrives bearing a printed manifesto, which he reads to the assembled people and then hangs on a nearby tree. The people rejoice and later “disperse, singing.” Marytė’s and Antanas’ dream comes true.  When the production was restaged in Vilnius, the libretto was adjusted to emphasize social disparities and conflict (with the serfs setting fire to the manor house). Later still, the ballet was again rewritten into a social and political allegory, expanding the fourth and sixth acts, and was renamed Aušta aušrelė (“Sužadėtinė“) (Dawn Breaks—The Fiancée).

The new production focused principally on the conflict between Antanas and Daugėla (formerly Veblevsky). New features included a revolver that Daugėla uses to shoot Antanas, a necklace used to tempt Marytė, and a whip to beat Marytė’s father. The rewritten libretto sought to display the “rapidly developing social awareness” of the ballet’s characters and their rise to fight their oppressors. The premiere of this version of the ballet took place at the Vilnius Opera and Ballet Theatre on November 23, 1952.  
(The Fiancée). The ballet’s libretto was constantly being rewritten, introducing an ever-increasing number of social and political elements, while the name of the first libretto’s author, Stasys Santvaras, who had emigrated to the West, disappeared entirely from the program.
The company’s creative spirit was lifted by revisiting classical ballets: Adolphe Adam’s Giselle, Leo Delibes’ Coppélia, Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus, and Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, all mounted using the choreography composed for pre-war productions at the State Theatre by Nikolai Zverev and Aleksandra Fiodorova and the same sets and costumes from these earlier performances. In later years, the company continued to focus on a classical repertoire, which, while affording an opportunity to present a less than literal representation of the new Soviet reality, nevertheless transformed the ballet over time into a “museum piece” within the realm of the theatrical arts and continued to impede the search for new means of expression.
The aesthetics of Soviet Russian classical ballet gained a significant foothold in Lithuania through the production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The Lithuanian production was initially led by Kelbauskas, but in the end it was completed and mounted by Fyodor Lopukhov Fyodor LopukhovFyodor Lopukhov (October 20, 1886, Saint Petersburg – March 28, 1973, Leningrad) was a Russian ballet performer, choreographer, and educator.

Lopukhov graduated from the Imperial Theatre School, and from 1905 to 1922 danced with the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He toured Europe and the United States in 1910–1911. Lopukhov served three terms as director of the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Opera and Ballet Theatre’s ballet company (1922–1931, 1944–1946, 1955–1956), and staged more than 20 ballets. In 1962, Lopukhov founded a Choreography Department at the Leningrad Conservatory, whose graduates include Konstantin Boyarsky, Nikolai Boyarchikov, and Giorgi Aleksidze, all of whom mounted productions on Lithuanian stages, as well as Lithuanian choreographers Elegijus Bukaitis and Alfredas Kondratavičius.  
(1886–1973), specially invited from Soviet Russia for this purpose. Lopukhov was a renowned dancer and choreographer who had toured Vilnius with concert performances in the early 20th century. Lopukhov made slight rewrites to the ballet’s libretto (striking the ball dances of the first act and doing away with the roles of the Joker and the Tutor) and adjusted Marius Petipa’s directorial and choreographic choices to adapt them to the ballet company’s capabilities. Sets and costumes for the ballet were designed by set designer Vytautas Palaima—his first project for a ballet production.
By the time the Lithuanian SSR State Opera and Ballet Theatre was moved to Vilnius, the small ballet company had become quite professional. The company took up residence in the largest theatre then existing in the capital, on J. Basanavičiaus Street (now home to the Russian Drama Theatre), and remained there until 1974. The theatre itself was refurbished and rehearsal halls and storage rooms for props and costumes were enlarged.
A fondness for the Soviet Russian ballet style within Lithuanian ballet circles was already clearly evident in the early 1930s. Returning from a visit to Moscow, Bronius Kelbauskas mounted two ballets by Boris Asafiev, The Fountain of Bakhchisarai and The Prisoner of the Caucasus, while the first premiere after the ballet company’s relocation to Vilnius was also linked to this school of choreography: Kelbauskas’ 1949 remounting of Reinhold Glière’s Red Poppy (first staged in Kaunas during the first Soviet occupation). Red Poppy portrays a love story between a Soviet captain and a Chinese tea dancer, a reflection of Soviet cultural propaganda in an era dominated by expanding ties with China and the promotion of the struggle against capitalism as one of the Soviet Union’s main ideological exports. Overall, ideological themes were less evident in the ballet company’s repertoire than on the stage of the drama theatre, but even classical ballets often emphasized motifs associated with social inequality. In 1952, Kelbauskas remounted Pakalnis’ ballet The Fiancée, with corresponding changes to the libretto and under a new title: Aušta aušrelė (Dawn Breaks).
Changes in the 1950s
New changes manifested themselves in Lithuanian ballet after the appointment of the company’s first fully accredited choreographer, Vytautas Grivickas Vytautas GrivickasVytautas Grivickas (November 5, 1925, Beinorava, Lithuania – November 22, 1990, Vilnius) was a Lithuanian ballet performer, choreographer, director, educator, and ballet historian.

Grivickas trained at the Lithuanian State Theatre’s Ballet Studio in Kaunas from 1940 to 1944, and performed with the ballet company of the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre from 1944 to 1947. In 1947–1952, Grivickas studied at the Lunacharsky State Institute for Theatre Arts (GITIS) in Moscow. He helped found the ballet division of the Vilnius ten-year music school in 1952, where he taught until 1954. From 1954 to 1971, Grivickas served as Senior Choreographer for the Lithuanian State Opera and Ballet Theatre. He directed a number of ballets in Lithuania, and also mounted productions on stages in Bulgaria, Egypt, Estonia, Latvia, and Turkmenistan. Grivickas choreographed the first ballet film in Lithuania— Eglė žalčių karalienė (Eglė Queen of the Serpents)—in 1965.  
(1925–1990), a graduate of the State Institute for Theatre Arts (GITIS) in Moscow. Grivickas’ work, from an ideological as well as artistic perspective, brought Lithuanian ballet closer in line with prevailing cultural trends, emphasizing the use of “national forms” to “express socialist content”.
In March, 1954, the Lithuanian SSR “Decade of Literature and Art” in Moscow came to symbolize the official stamp of approval of a new, Sovietized, Lithuanian culture. No effort was spared in preparation for the show, and resources in Russia were called upon for assistance. Lithuanian choreography history also benefitted: the event featured the first compositional work by a Lithuanian completed in the second half of the 20th century—Julius Juzeliūnas’ ballet Ant marių kranto Ant marių kranto (On the Seashore)The ballet Ant marių kranto (On the Seashore) portrays the brisk life of a fishing village in post-war Lithuania: the cleanup of ruins, repairing of war-damaged launches and boats, and the mending of “collectively owned nets” (as they were referred to in the productions’ program) by a brigade of village women.

Jonis, “an outstanding fisherman and brigade leader”, seeks the love of brigade member Kastė, but “Kastė is in love with another and cannot love Jonis.” The kulak (rich peasant) Krezas, meanwhile, hoards fish and also hides his relative Gustas, a former Gestapo officer. Kastė finds the hidden fish in a suspicious bag, and is soon pursued by the newly arrived Marius, a soldier released from the demobilizing Soviet armed forces who “breathes the refreshing seaside air and leans against a pine tree, […] and is overjoyed by the repair of the boats”. The duet between Kastė and Marius “portrays great love, feelings of loyalty toward the Fatherland, and a drive toward a brighter future.” Jealous of Marius, Jonis refuses to go to sea with him to fish, meanwhile Gustas and Krezas sabotage the lighthouse and later murder Jonis, to whom “the fisherman’s conscience had spoken” and who succeeds in lighting the lighthouse before dying.

The third act opens with the village celebrating the opening of the harbor together with guests visiting “from fraternal republics”. Later, the crime committed by Gustas and Krezas is discovered. The scoundrels are driven away as Marius “declares that nothing can prevent their march to a bright, great future.”

The ballet premiered on May 10, 1953—shortly after the death of Josef Stalin.  
(On the Seashore). Juzeliūnas composed the music for the ballet while living on the Lithuanian coast and the libretto was written by Vytautas Grivickas. Though essentially a love story, On the Seashore was nevertheless steeped in references to post-war class struggles, while at the same embracing pantomime, stylized folk dances and traditions, as well as a classical ballet aesthetic. The productions in Vilnius of the duets between the characters Kastė and Marius were presented by Russian Jewish choreographer Asaf Messerer in keeping with this classical style. A wealth of stylized folk art details (equally present in the ballet’s score, choreography and set design), coupled with the ballet’s joyful enthusiasm places the production squarely in the category of the “festival style” characteristic of the cultural trends of the 1950s. The production was a great success in Moscow, setting a new standard for contemporary Soviet ballet, and soon became part of the performance repertoire elsewhere in the Soviet Union, with productions mounted in neighboring Latvia and Estonia. While the Soviet Lithuanian arts festival was still underway in Moscow, USSR Cultural Minister Yekaterina Furtseva promised to approve the construction of a new opera and ballet theatre in Lithuania.
Before World War Two, ballet dancers were trained in a studio operated by the Lithuanian State Theatre. After the war, instruction was less systematic, and training and development were taken over by individual, experienced ballet performers. In this way, Lithuania’s prima ballerinas cultivated suitable dance partners from among young male candidates who had never before formally studied ballet: Tamara Sventickaitė trained and danced with Henrikas Kunavičius, and Genovaitė Sabaliauskaitė with Henrikas Banys.
A more systematic approach to the training of new dancers soon followed with the founding of a Choreography Division at the ten-year music school in Vilnius. Instructors there included Kunavičius and Sabaliauskaitė, and in 1954 several children were sent for training at the choreography school in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). After returning to Lithuania in 1959, these students reinforced the capabilities of existing ballet companies since principal soloists were already advancing in age and the majority of corps de ballet dancers still lacked comprehensive classical ballet training.
A process of modernization in Soviet ballet began in the late 1950s, encouraged by the work of Soviet choreographers Konstantin Boyarsky (1915–1974), Igor Belsky (1925–1999), and Yuri Grigorovich (b. 1927). Choreography began to be “symphonized”: new ballet-symphonies were composed that contrasted with the dramatic ballet style that dominated Soviet art from 1930 to 1950.
Trends in European and world ballet, meanwhile, were proceeding along more dynamic trajectories.
The language of ballet during the "Thaw"
The Lithuanian ballet repertoire in the 1950s and 1960s was largely determined by the principles of a planned economy. Each season was meant to include one classical, one Soviet and one “national” (regional or local) production. Artistic plans were drafted, but not always implemented, but the balance between classical and regional works was, for the most part, consistently maintained.
The most active artist in this field, Vytautas Grivickas, debuted with the 1951 production of Svetlana, a dramatic ballet on Soviet themes by Dmitri Klebanov. Grivickas also mounted productions based on classical as well as newly composed Lithuanian ballets. In the case of the former, Grivickas sought to [give] his productions an original choreographic approach. He expanded Adam’s Giselle to three acts, for example, and renamed Esmeralda by Cesare Pugni as Paryžiaus katedra (The French Cathedral), associating it more closely with Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In his production of Minkus’ Don Quixote, Grivickas emphasized elements from Miguel de Cervantes’ novel of the same name.
Unlike in other cultural fields, where new aspects of formal artistic language were beginning to develop during the post-Stalinist “thaw” period, the repertoire, direction and choreography of ballet was still dominated by a romantic approach—experimentation was avoided and capacity were still lacking for real conceptual change. Attention remained focused on pantomime, acting, and expressive movement skills over dance technique. This romantic trend was most evident in Vytautas Grivickas’ production of Juozas Indra’s ballet Audronė, AudronėThe theme of the ballet Audronė, sharing much in common with the subject matter of the opera Gražina by Jurgis Kamavičius, was a significant effort at the time toward the preservation of Lithuania’s national identity.

The ballet tells the tragic love story of Audronė and Ugnius, set against the backdrop of Lithuania’s unification under Mindaugas, its first and only king. Audronė, to whom Ugnius has proposed, becomes the object of the affections of Prince Kunotas. The prince tells Audronė that Ugnius has been killed in a battle with the Crusaders, and the heroine’s father betroths her, against Audronė’s will, to Kunotas. Ugnius, considered among the bravest of warriors, soon arrives at Kunotas’ castle to see Audronė dressed in royal garb. Perėjūnas, a spy for the Crusaders, encourages Ugnius to take his revenge on Kunotas, who receives a delegation from the Crusaders bearing a proposal to baptize the prince into the Christian faith and “offering a king’s crown from the Pope”.

The Lithuanian princes and Audronė “condemn Kunotas’ behavior” (according to the production’s program), and Ugnius, having forced his way into the main hall of the castle, kills Prince Kunotas. He soon realizes, however, that he has opened the way into the castle for pursuing Crusaders. Audronė rejects Ugnius, who realizes that he has “lost both his beloved and his Homeland”. Audronė lights a bonfire atop the castle tower, which is quickly taken over by the Crusaders. Ugnius, attempting to save her, “dies at the hands of the Crusaders”, while Audronė is pierced by an enemy arrow even as a joint army of the Lithuanian nobles arrives to liberate the castle.

Audronė premiered on May 19, 1957.
the story of Lithuania’s historic battles against the Northern Crusades, the betrayal of the warrior Ugnius, and the character Audronė’s heroic rescue of her countrymen. As in other productions directed by Grivickas, this ballet also featured a considerable amount of pantomime, avoiding any pure dance scenes.
Choreographers also turned to Lithuanian folk tales for inspiration. Composer Eduardas Balsys wrote a libretto in 1960 for the ballet Eglė žalčių karalienė (Eglė, Queen of the Serpents) based on a famous poem by Salomėja Neris. Vytautas Grivickas incorporated folk dances and traditional games into his choreography for the ballet, later using these a basis for a film and ballet with the same title, in which his choreography was eclipsed by other visual elements, chiefly sets designed by Petras Ilgūnas and costumes by Dalia Mataitienė.
Bronius Kelbauskas also perpetuated the romantic ballet tradition in the 1950s and 1960s, re-staging several earlier works from his pre-war repertoire, and producing Adolphe Adam’s ballet Corsaire. Kelbauskas based his production of Mikhail Chulaki’s The Sham Bridegroom on the principles of commedia dell’arte, and closed his career as a choreographer with a staging of Juozas Gruodis’ romantic ballet Jūratė and Kastytis. Together with conductor Haim Potashinsky, Kelbauskas created a production of three acts by adding new compositional work to the original one-act ballet.
Another artistic center for ballet, albeit small, was the Kaunas Musical Theatre, which staged several ballet productions in the 1960s. In addition to special guest choreographers from Moscow, Kaunas productions were also directed by Lithuanians Vaclovas Germanavičius (1907–1970) and Alfredas Kondratavičius (b. 1944).
There were few examples of choreographic experimentation by ballet performers directing productions in Vilnius. Soloist Genovaitė Sabaliauskaitė (b. 1923) stayed true to a romantic approach in her staging of Tchaikovsky’s one-act ballet Francesca da Rimini, while soloist Česlovas Žebrauskas (b. 1930) directed a modernist ballet by Andrei Petrov, The Shore of Hope. The Shore of Hope (Берег Надежды - Bereg Nadezdhy)The libretto for The Shore of Hope was written by Soviet Russian ballet historian and critic Yuri Slonimsky.

The ballet tells the story of “Soviet man’s power and courage, his loyalty to the homeland and to his beloved. A storm takes a young fisherman out to sea where he lands on a foreign shore. The man is captured by enemies who demand that he renounce his homeland. They offer him riches, glory, and various delights, but he is not persuaded. The fisherman conjures up thoughts of his homeland, his beloved, and his friends, calling out to him to return. The man escapes from his captors and sets out to return to his homeland.” (Citation from the production program).

The Shore of Hope premiered in Lithuania on May 13, 1967.  
Though the production did away with illustrative Soviet ideological references, incorporating considerably more abstract elements with characters identified simply as the Fisherman, His Lover, the Black Man, or the Patrolman, the staging was not lacking in an overall Cold War atmosphere. Žebrauskas also choreographed several productions for concerts broadcast over Lithuanian state television (as that medium became an increasingly important venue for small-scope choreographic projects). One of his compositions was devoted to the then popular theme of space exploration: a cosmonaut arriving on an unknown planet meets a young girl with whom he performs various folk dances. Television gradually evolved into a new stage for dance, and over time it became a venue for a new and bolder choreographic language. The pursuit of plasticity gave rise to a modern dance tradition rooted in the Lithuanian culture of the late 1930s.
The start of modern dance
The first manifestations of modern dance in Lithuania are associated with Kaunas native Danutė Marija Nasvytytė (1916–1983). Inspired by the renowned German choreographer and expressionist dancer Rudolf von Laban, Nasvytytė took up the study of modern dance in 1936 at the Jutta Klamt School in Berlin, at the time considered the leading German school of expressionist dance. Expressionist danceExpressionist dance (Ausdrucktanz in German), is a style of modern dance that arose in Germany in the early 20th century, pioneered by Rudolf von Laban (1879–1958) and Mary Wigman (1886–1973). Prior to World War II, this dance style and the "free dance" promoted by Isadora Duncan were relatively unknown in Lithuania. At the time, the country's only dance troupe was a classical ballet company performing at the State Theatre in Kaunas. Nasvytytė returned to Lithuania in 1939 and opened a studio for rhythmic gymnastics and expressionist dance in Kaunas, attended by some two hundred girls and women.
Nasvytytė and her students presented their first concert at the Kaunas State Theatre one year later. While audiences, particularly younger viewers, generally welcomed the new art form, ballet professionals found it unacceptable:
I first saw Nasvytytė in 1937 or 1938, at the home of Professor Petras Šalčius. When I heard that she was studying dance in Berlin, I was a bit confused: she seemed a bit portly to me, and her legs were too short. How could I have known at the time that, in modern dance, it wasn't a perfect figure or physical attributes that mattered, but a dancer's individuality and talent. Aliodija Ruzgaitė, Lietuvos naujo šokio projektas: Festivalio programa, Vilnius, 1996, p. 4.
Danutė Nasvytytė visited our ballet studio in the fall and, wanting to show us a new dance system, she performed six dances for us, with costume changes. Most students didn't care for her – they weren't used to seeing a barefoot dancer running around and twirling, performing incomplete lifts (which we called by the Russian word then, "podyoms"). Aliodija Ruzgaitė, Prisiminimų blyksniai, Vilnius: Tyto alba, 2010, p. 45.
Nasvytytė's studio remained open during the first year of Soviet occupation, though some of its students were deported to Siberia in 1941. The studio was also allowed to keep operating by the German occupational regime, which seemed impressed by Nasvytytė's studies in Berlin. Nasvytytė was determined to mount the ballet Jūratė and Kastytis (based on a famous Lithuanian legend), and invited young men to join the production, even securing them dance study certificates exempting them from compulsory work duty (Arbeitsdienst). The studio gave concerts in various Lithuanian cities and towns, showcasing examples of new dance styles and stylized Lithuanian folk dances in the first act, followed in the second act by student performances set to music by various composers. Nasvytytė also joined in these performances.
As the front neared Kaunas in 1944, the studio held its last student performance. Nasvytytė and her family fled advancing Soviet forces, first to Dresden, and then to Australia in 1947. Her mission was continued by Kira Katerina Daujotaitė (b. 1921), who joined the studio in 1939. Immediately following the end of the first Soviet occupation in 1941, Daujotaitė began studying gymnastics at the State Institute for Physical Education while continuing her training at Nasvytytė's studio.
The official view of expressionist dance fundamentally changed at the start of the second Soviet occupation in 1944. Recalling the Soviet regime's attitude toward performances by renowned modern dancer Isadora Duncan, Isadora DuncanIsadora Duncan (1877–1927) was an American dancer, associated with the start of modern dance in Europe.

Modern dance arrived in Europe from the United States at the end of the 19th century. Failing to attract a following at home, Duncan took country after European country by storm. To be sure, she worked hard and long to convince others that a dance which had been previously viewed as yet another form of entertainment was an art form in its own right. Once she succeeded in winning over artists of various genres, regular audiences, and government officials, and after she had opened several free dance schools (Duncan herself called it pure classical dance), the development of modern dance (and from the 1970s, post-modern, or contemporary dance) truly began.
Lithuanian ballet artist and critic Aliodija Ruzgaitė remarked:
How could one forget that, on Isadora Duncan's tour of Russia, Lenin saw her perform the Internationale and the Marseillaise and shouted: 'Encore! Bravo, Miss Duncan!' In 1948, Isadora Duncan's student Irma visited Kaunas with her dance company from Moscow. She performed some dances choreographed by Isadora herself. But in 1949, the Soviet government disbanded the company. Aliodija Ruzgaitė, Prisiminimų blyksniai, Vilnius: Tyto alba, 2010, p. 47.
Expressionist dance, also called "free dance", clearly associated with inner freedom and a dancer's free self-expression, was utterly unacceptable for a totalitarian state that officially permitted only two types of dance: classical ballet and staged folk dancing, which choreographer Juozas Lingys had refined and systematized to a considerable extent. There was no place for any other type of dance, thus the expressionist dance studio was classified as an amateur ensemble and was required to adhere to rules and regulations governing all amateur artistic groups. In 1947, the studio was moved to the Kaunas Labor Union Hall and its repertoire expanded to include compositions based on Lithuanian folk dance and character dance movements as well as works emerging from dancers' improvisations set to classical and Lithuanian music. In 1969, the studio celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding and, in keeping with Soviet traditions of the time, was awarded the title of "exemplary ensemble" and was renamed "Sonata" – the name of one of its dance compositions set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven.


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Sources and links

Lietuvių tarybinis teatras: 1940–1956
Redaktoriai Antanas Vengris, Juozas Gaudrimas, Vilnius: Mintis, 1979
Vytautas Grivickas
Baletmeisterio užrašai
Vilnius: Tyto alba, 2005
Rūta Krugiškytė
Duetas. Baleto solistų Tamaros Sventickaitės ir Henriko Kunavičiaus kūryba
Vilnius: „Krantų“ redakcija, 2012
Lidija Motiejūnaitė
M. Juozapaitytė
Vilnius: Lietuvos teatro draugija, 1969
Aliodija Ruzgaitė
Lietuvių tarybinis teatras, 1940–1956, redaktoriai Antanas Vengris, Juozas Gaudrimas, Vilnius: Mintis, 1979
Aliodija Ruzgaitė,
Lietuviško baleto kelias
Vilnius: Mintis, 1964
Aliodija Ruzgaitė
Prisiminimų blyksniai
Sudarė Alė Šimkienė, Vilnius: Tyto alba, 2010
Lietuvos naujo šokio projektas
Festivalio programa, Vilnius, 1996

Production programs

Spektaklio programa, Kaunas: LTSR valstybinis operos ir baleto teatras, 1946–1947
Ant marių kranto
Spektaklio programa, Vilnius: LTSR valstybinis operos ir baleto teatras, 1953
Spektaklio programa, Vilnius: LTSR valstybinis operos ir baleto teatras, 1957
Vilties krantas
Spektaklio programa, Vilnius: LTSR valstybinis operos ir baleto teatras, 1967
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