Grand Prix of the VIII International folk dance festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ is won by the ensemble BATUMI from Georgia

On July 7, 2016, the VIII International Folk Dance Festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ ended  with a concert in Pasta sala (Pasta Island) in Jelgava. The Grand Prix of the festival competition and a cash prize of EUR 1,000 were received by Batumi Culture House State Choreographic Ensemble BATUMI named after Enver Habadze from Georgia. This year, the Dance ensemble contest was included in the programme of the festival for the first time. It was judged by an international jury.

The first place in the contest was won by the Poznan University of Technology Folk Dance Ensemble POLIGRODZIANIE from Poland, the second – by the Dance Ensemble AMBERD of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) from Armenia. The third place in the contest was divided by the Dance Ensemble MUSH from Armenia and Talsi Folk House Dance Group TALSU KURŠI from Latvia.

‘The performances of the contestants of the festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ were very diverse, presenting the richness and character of each cultural heritage, therefore it was quite hard to evaluate these performances – the level of artistic and technical performance of all participants was really high. In future contests I would suggest to separate the performances, which are deeply rooted in tradition and stylisations. For me, while watching some performance, the first criterion of evaluation is emotions – whether the dancers’ performance can captivate and touch your heart. The technical performance is not always the most important, but we can be delighted that the participants of this festival were high quality dance groups that did not disappoint evaluating them from a wide range of aspects. I am convinced that the jury managed to select the best’, says a member of the jury Petri Hoppu, PhD, Adjunct Professor in Dance Studies, University of Tampere, Principal Lecturer of Culture and Arts, Oulu University of Applied Sciences from Finland.

Member of the jury of the contest, ballet master, Associate professor of St. Petersburg State Culture Institute, Head of  Choreography Department, Olga Spesivtseva prizewinner, Zara Liangolf from Russia describes her impressions about the festival ‘Sudmaliņas’: ‘The atmosphere of this festival was particularly pleasant and it was a great pleasure to watch the participants communicate with each other – helping out to each other, becoming friends. And it is a beautiful tradition – to dance the Latvian folk dance ‘Sudmaliņas’ together. I hope the festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ will expand and become even more diverse in future!’

Participants of the VIII International Folk Dance Festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ were dance groups: MUSH (Armenia), dance ensemble of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and AGBU (The Armenian General Benevolent Union) ‘AMBERD’ (Armenia), Republic of Belarus Honoured Group, Culture Centre ‘Vitebsk’ dance ensembleLJAVONIHA’ (Belarus), Batumi Culture House State Choreographic Ensemble BATUMI named after Enver Habadze (Georgia), folk dance ensemble ‘POLIGRODZIANIE’ (Poland), Turkish folk dance ensemble of Çorlu Municipality (Turkey), IDEMM Folklore Centre dance group (Turkey) as well as dance groups from Latvia – Rīga Teika Secondary School and VEF Culture Palace dance group ZALKTIS, Middle-age dance group ZALKTIS, Daugavpils region Culture Centre Folk dance ensemble LĪKSME and Talsi Folk House dance group TALSU KURŠI.

The organisers of the VIII International Folk Dance Festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ would like to express their gratitude to each dancer and dance group leader whose passion for dance helped to create such a rich and colourful festival week!

Photos from the festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ events can be downloaded HERE

The International Folk Dance Festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ is the most ambitious festival in the field of scenic dance in Latvia. It aims at bringing together dancers from Latvia and from different countries of the world, who get to know, creatively explore and inherit folk dance traditions. The Latvian National Centre for Culture has been organising festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ since 1992. The next festival ‘Sudmaliņas’ will take place in Latvia in the summer of 2019 continuing the format of contest that was begun this year.