Although a wonderful gift, working and performing in the West is not always easy. Contemporary dance in the West has a strong history and expectations are defined by this history, especially the expectation of what is “new” and what is not “new”. Russian contemporary dance doesn’t have this history, but Russia is no longer a country which is shut off from the West: Russian artists use elements of Western tradition, but they often don’t use the Western “rules”. Olga Pona’s work is Russian contemporary dance, defined by Russian necessity, which is the necessity to deal with a society which is no longer “Russian” in a Russian traditional sense and no longer “Russian” in a Western sense either. Olga Pona’s work will probably develop along these lines, taking the freedom to use any information, Russian or Western, in order to create a contemporary Russian artistic identity.
The advantage of the current situation is that the Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theater is a permanent company and that Olga Pona has been able to work with her dancers for a long time. This enabled her to create and share a specific movement and choreographic language and to keep older pieces in the company’s repertory. At this point, several of the dancers have started to create their own work and Chelyabinsk has become one of the important centers for contemporary dance in Russia.
The Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theater has performed Olga Pona’s work in festivals and theaters in:
Russia (Vladivostok, Severuralsk, Saransk, Nojabrsk, Novosibirsk, Moscow, St-Petersburg, Chelyabinsk, Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Yaroslavl, Krasnojarsk, Kaliningrad, Ufa, Chita, Perm, Khanty-Mansiysk, Samara, Surgut, Ozyrsk, Omsk, Kazan, Divnogorsk, Berezniki, Serov, Kurgan, Zelenogorsk, Satka), Belarus (Vitebsk), Poland (Gdansk, Bytom, Kalisz, Lublin), Kazakhstan (Almaty), Lithuania (Vilnius, Klaipede), Latvia (Riga, Jelgava, Jekabpils), The Netherlands (Rotterdam, Arnhem, Groningen), Germany (Düsseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt, München, Hamburg, Bremen, Hagen, Oldenburg, Münster, Bremerhafen, Herne, Landsberg, Aschaffenburg), Korea (Seoul, Daigu, Busan), France (Nice, Paris, Aix en Provence, Grenoble, Chalon, Lyon), Italy (Rome, Civitanova, Rovereto, Torino), Norway (Oslo), Tunisia (Tunis), Gr.Britain (London), Belgium (Antwerpen), USA (Durham, New Haven, Hebron), Spain (Salamanca), Cszech Republic (Prague), Slovenia (Ljubljana).
Some of the festivals and theaters where Olga Pona’s work has been performed are:
Golden Mask Festival, Moscow / St. Petersburg – TSEH Festival, Moscow – Global Dance 2002, Düsseldorf – Vitebsk International Dance Festival – Tanz Bremen – Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis / Bagnolet / Paris – Isadorah Festival, Krasnojarsk – New Baltic Dance, Vilnius – American Dance Festival, Durham – Laokoon Festival, Kampnagel, Hamburg – Confrontations, Lublin – Tanz Hagen – Russian Culture Festival, Italy (Auditorium, Rome) – Festival InTransit, Berlin. – Tanztage Oldenburg – Tanz im August, Berlin – Festval of Arts and Ideas, New Haven – Tanic Praha, Prague – International Arts Festival, Salamanca – Festival Nagrama, Ekterinburg – Festival Teatro a Corte, Torino – Flurstücke Festival, Münster – Open Look Festival, Saint Petersburg