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26 Apr 11

Dance Fest Wows Macedonian Audience

Packed halls and roaring applause were the telling signs that Skopje's seventh annual Dance Fest hit the right notes in Macedonia.

Aneta Risteska

Dance troupes from The Netherlands, Croatia, Russia, Turkey and Kosovo took part in this year's Dance Fest, which was held in the beginning of April.

The Dutch troupe Skapino, a renowned group from Rotterdam, opened the festival with three flawless performances. Skapino seemed to move the boundaries of contemporary dance with its number, and set the stage for more modern dance performances by artists from other parts of the world.

“Don Quixote”, a classical ballet story performed by 60 dancers from the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet, enraptured the Macedonian audience with its glamour and aesthetics. The impressive dancing, the costumes and original choreography by the well-known artist Mehmet Balkan were rewarded with much applause and standing ovations after each scene.

Dance fans were treated to performances of “Synopsis” by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky from St. Petersburg, “Interface” by a Zagreb dance ensemble, and “Love Kills”, a ballet from Kosovo.

Festival-goers also enjoyed the premiere of “A world in between” by the Skopje Dance Theatre. Young dancers on the small stage expressed their talents, vigor, youthful spirit and dedication to dance, led by their teacher and choreographer Risima Risimkin. This show has now received an offer to tour Croatia, and in May a Memorandum on Cooperation between the Skopje Dance Academy and Skapino from The Netherlands will be signed.

The festival's artistic director Risima Risimkin called this year's event the most successful so far.

"The Festival already has its own audience. I am glad we succeeded in offering a diverse and quality programme which has been well-received... The first show of “A world in between” and the establishment of the Skopje Dance Theater, which marked its historic start, both make me extremely happy,” says Risimkin.

For next year's festival, Risimkin said that she expects guest performances by globally renowed dance companies, which will put the Festival and its programme among the most prestigious European festivals.

This year's "Menada" special award, presented by the Dance Fest Council, was given to Samuel Wuersten, artistic director of the Holland Dance Festival, for endorsing the opening of the Dance Academy in Skopje.

The 2011 Menada award for lifetime achievement went to the Macedonian ballet teacher Elisaveta Kusovska, who educated scores of ballerinas during her 36-year career.

Dance Fest, which is supported by Holland, was held not only in Skopje but in Bitola as well.

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