Dance and the Carpet

For quite a while, I was thinking of creating a piece integrating textile and dance, two passions of mine.

Textile. I was into needlework since I was a child – knitting, sewing, embroidery; later moving into professional studies of textile, its design, technologies, history and mythology. Later still, all this evolved into the broader concept of textile and its culture, based on researching deep traditions and technology innovations, and the quest for new inter-disciplinary means of expression. As art critic Virginija Vitkienė puts it, textile is a culture that provides endless sources for artistic concepts and manifestations.

Dance. I used to go to dance classes since I was a child. My longest effort to learn dancing was at the Valentina and Adomas Gineitis studio. To me, dance always was more than just the sum of movements. Dance is about personal experiences, history, emotions, an adventure… I was never too fond of Argentine tango which, being based on rather simple patterns of primary elements, consists of following the man, listening and adjusting to him, providing improvised replies to questions that his body asks. This dance crushes one’s pride because it demands giving up one’s wishes and requires listening with your body. One is supposed to be flexible, humble, shrewd, wise, mildly provoking – and yet getting where you want to get, with your understated feminine agenda. Indeed, the two years of Argentine tango classes provided not just the grasp of tango – by default, they developed skills required for teamwork.

Carpet. I chose classical patterns and colours of the carpet, while the size was determined by the space allocated for the performance, the hall of the Panemune castle (the project took place in the framework of the international symposium ‘Felt 2014,’ the theme being ‘Dynamic textile: from the local context to inter-disciplinary explorations’). I spent two weeks assembling the carpet out of died wool fibres, and its soft transitions of colourful patterns radiated with luxury and elegance. Once the carpet was finished, I danced tango on it with Kęstutis Litvinas, my Argentine tango instructor, thus destroying the aesthetics of the wool puzzle and harmonious image. The dance has added the final pattern for the carpet – unpredictable, irregular, with a touch of vitality, just like the life is meant to be.