Without Oleg Danovski But Nevertheless With Him

The stature of a personality can also be measured through the achievements that outlive it. Besides the shows he created, the ballet company he founded and the dancers he formed, this year's fifth edition of the "Oleg Danovski" National Ballet Contest in Constanţa stands proof of the master's great personality, who left us only physically the autumn of last year. His face, with the shadow of a smile in the corner of his eyes, continued to watch over the contest he initiated, not from the hall, as in past years, but from a huge photograph in the background of the stage where the youngest and the most talented dancers in the country performed. The ballet contest in Constanţa gathered this year over 120 students of the Choreography high schools in Bucharest and Cluj, as well as from the choreography sections of the Art high schools in Constanţa, Iaşi, Timişoara, Galaţi and Sibiu, and young professional dancers under 27. As a symbol of our relatedness through art, the way Oleg Danovski wanted it from the start, and the way this happened in all previous editions, young dancers from Chişinău also took part in the contest this year. The continuation of this important dancing event in Romania is to due to this year's director of the National Ballet Contest, Mrs. Ana Gabriela Danovski, who devotedly and competently carries on her husband's achievement, as well as to this edition's producer and at the same time main sponsor, Constantin Duţu, who contributed substantially, together with the subvention granted by the state and with other supporters, like firms, banks, associations, newspapers and radio stations, to the contest's progress in good financial conditions. The contest, as well as the text of its elegant programme were preceded by the kind words sent by the Minister of Culture, Ion Caramitru and by the impressive artistic testament left to us by Oleg Danovski; the presence of important Romanian dancers, choreographers and educators in the jury, like Ileana Iliescu, Ioan Tugearu, Francisc Valkay, Adrian Mureşan and Constantin Marinescu, was completed by international guests, namely Mihai Ion Kaftanat from Chişinău, Hikmet Mehmedov from Sofia and Vitali Vladikin from Moskow, honorary president being Emil Dimitrov, director of the "Foundation of the International Ballet Contest in Varna". Besides those mentioned, the contest also had a guest from England, Mr. Robert D. Moore, cultural manager. To these names we should add the contribution of the contest's technical manager, Ioan Todoran, and the quality of the soundtrack, due to Alexandru Istrate. What made this edition of the "Oleg Danovski" National Ballet Contest special, however, were the competitors. Their numbers this year show the importance that this artistic contest has gradually gained. The participation of students from the Art Schools in Iaşi, Galaţi and Sibiu proves the widening of the geographic area where young dancers are nowadays being educated, even if at the moment the Choreography high schools in Bucharest and Cluj are still at the top, while the Art School in Timişoara has made a substantial leap forward through its well-prepared students this year. Worth noting, as a continuation of the last two editions, is the way the forms of modern and contemporary dance outbalance the classical one. The latter shines pre-eminently within the ChişinăuSchool of solid Russian classical tradition, but also in Bucharest, Cluj and, beginning with this year, Timişoara. The heavyweight of modern and contemporary dance remains, however, Bucharest, followed by Constanţa and Cluj. Significant is, for example, the fact that the jury prize and the highest grade of the contest were given to dancer Ciprian Câmpianu from the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest, for performing a modern choreography created by Alexa Mezincescu for Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy, while the great "Oleg Danovski" prize was awarded, like in preceding editions, for classical dance, namely to the young ballerina Anastasia Homitcaia from Chişinău, interpreter of the Blue Bird from the ballet Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky. A mark of this edition was the fact that value-wise it was dominated by men, which secured admiration from the representatives of foreign schools in the jury. In fact, one should remark that several dancers from Bucharest and Cluj, some of them still schoolchildren or very young professionals, most of them participants and prize-winners at the Constanţa contest, had previously been selected by international juries who awarded them academic scholarships in Paris (Ion Dumitrescu), Hamburg (Eduard Ţăranu, Beniamin Boar and Adrian Robos) and Monte Carlo (Bogdan Nicula). An absolute novelty of this year's edition was the fact that there were prizes awarded not only for choreographic interpretation, but also for creation, where both neoclassical-modern and contemporary dance were the most illustrative in Bucharest, through choreographers like Alexa Mezincescu, Mihaela Santo and Florin Fieroiu, already known and distinguished, but also through the surprise that prima ballerina Corina Dumitrescu springed on us with her first appearance as a choreographer. We need to emphasize her side-splittingly humorous creation Lenuţa all the more, since the contemporary dance of folkloric inspiration is a path that hardly anyone takes on anymore nowadays. We also want to stress that the contemporary dance section was dominated by two extremely interesting young creators, the already mentioned dancer, choreograph and educator Florin Fieroiu, and by Daniel Szalassi, formed in Cluj, laureate of last year's contest and now author of several creations interpreted by dancers from Iaşi and Cluj. The elegance of interpretation, the purity of line and the technical brilliance brought classical dance first prizes at various age categories to Alexandra Nicolescu, Irina Şerban, Irina Ganea and Nadejda Coteţ, as well as to Eugen Dobrescu, Remus Sucheana, Milonas Vladislav and to Alexandru Fotescu, whereas contemporary dance first prizes for the quality of interpretation went to Loredana Salaoru, Ana Maria Baroncea and Eduard Ţăranu, very many other second and third prizes being awarded to other competitors. One should also remember that although the Constanţa Contest has not become an International Contest yet, the way master Danovski wanted so badly, there were, however, foreign dancers, too, among the participants, some of them getting prizes or commendations, like the Italian Sara Marchetti, the humorous interpreter of the dance Lenuţa, because our ballet schools and companies have started to be attended and therefore appreciated by students and dancers from other countries. However, in order for the prestige of the National Ballet Contest to remain intact, it is necessary that firm rules of functioning be respected, like for instance that any person or institution may offer a prize for the contest, specifying also what qualities it requires, but that only the jury has the necessary competence to choose the person who is to be awarded the prize. Guarded by the gaze from beyond time of the initiator of this important Romanian artistic confrontation, but also guided by his existence and love for dance, we were without Oleg Danovski at the fifth edition of the National Ballet Contest bearing his name, but at the same time nevertheless with him.

by Liana Tugearu