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  • Writer's pictureZanda Zilgalve

Ekspresintervija ar Kuldīgas Jauno skatuves mākslinieku rezidences dalībnieci Guntu Liepiņu-Milleri

Foto: Armands Jakovels


1. What is your professional background? Which professional art event you consider your most successful in the last few years.

I am a professional dancer, choreographer, and dance educator. I have danced in contemporary ballet, contemporary dance companies in Latvia and Los Angeles and I have also done commercial work such as danced on TV shows The X Factor, YOur Face Sounds Familiar. My students have performed in festivals and competitions in China, Italy, Lithuania, Bulgarian, USA - Youth American Grand Prix, etc. One of the recent works that I am proud of is being one of the two choreographers for reimagined Nutcracker Story About Clara and the Nutcracker for TS Dance Academy. We were nominated for the Latvian Dance Awards as the best production for the youth audience and also got the audience vote award.

2. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get inspiration from music, nature, people, and other choreographers. I love finding new music, so I spend many hours a day just to save interesting music I would love to use for choreographies. Nature and people in their everyday life are a good inspiration as well. Dance and movement are everywhere, it's a long year's practice to notice what movement from nature or everyday life might be useful for me. 3. When you think of residency for professional artists (in general or stage artists)? What are your expectations? Why do you need that kind of experience?

Residency is something every artist needs to experience once in a while. I expect to unplug from daily life and just devote my time and energy to my personal growth. Either it's a choreography residency or a dance technique, it is a place to learn something new without everyday distractions and return to a daily routine charged and fresh.

4. Is there anything you want to bring to Latvian professional stage artists from your experience? Is there anything you want to learn from Latvian professional artists/stage artists?

I would like the Latvian dance community to be more open, more friendly, and more accepting of each other. This residency hopefully will be not only a workshop but also grow into a performance platform for young artists to present their work in a non-judgemental environment.

The Los Angeles dance community is very professional in the way they organize and arrange events. I think we could learn punctuality from them. As a Latvian dance artist living in Los Angeles myself, it is interesting to compare the benefits from both: European and American dance schools of thought. Latvian dance artists are very creative, deep thinkers and explorers.

Americans are doers - the dancers have any possible technique in their bodies, so they love to do and use their technique instead of thinking and researching new possibilities. The pace of life and projects is fast, so there is no time for long thinking, the deadline is always tomorrow. I think beauty is somewhere in between - in my opinion it is important to have a body that has been trained in many techniques and is capable of executing shapes, steps, etc. But it is also important to keep researching new possibilities, new options that a body can do, what dance is in this century.

I would love to bring my friend Jessica Harper from Los Angeles for some workshops. She has a broad knowledge of different contemporary dance forms and a charming personality. I would also love to introduce the Latvian dance community with Active Space and different ways dance can interfere with technology and what are the possibilities in the 21st century.

5. Is the audience important to you? If yes, what methods do you use to build the audience?

This Artist residency is unique in the way that we bring fresh knowledge to the young Latvian artists from our professional experience working in Europe and the United States. We will pass our knowledge to them, then we will show different techniques and collaboration projects that can be interdisciplinary and we will also mentor and guide them to create their own projects. This is an opportunity to learn, to use the new knowledge, and to synthesize it into new projects! These young artists then are involved in the performance arts and become valued customers. Regarding audience building, social media is a wonderful tool to introduce events and ideas to people. 6. Anything you want to say about the need for such residencies for stage artists, especially after the previous year?

This year is going to be very special in the sense that up until now the whole season artists have been practicing via zoom or outdoors. For the whole season, there has not been professional dance/singing training in a regular studio. We are excited to see some familiar faces again, use the opportunity to have a professional environment to practice, and also make this residency about human relationships, new friendships, and interacting with each other in a real human way!

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