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About the project

The first community dance performance in Romania, Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird”, was presented to the public in Bucharest and Sibiu, as part of the International Festival “George Enescu”, in September 2009.

The Association “Jungen Rumänen eine Chance!”, presided by Monique Gruber, wife of former Ambassador of Germany in Romania, introduced this new artistic and social concept into our country.

The project was implemented and promoted through the services of If Magic.

One hundred young people between 11 and 22 of age, with no background in dancing or specific physical abilities, came together in a spectacular contemporary dance performance to Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird” composition. The participants come from very different backgrounds. There were orphans as well as children from prosperous families, children with special needs as well as high achievers, who had been selected from a variety of institutions (NGOs, Schools and High-Schools) in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu and Ploiesti. The only selection criterion was their motivation and desire to take part in the project.

The youngsters were trained by reputed choreographers Royston Maldoom (UK) and Josef Eder (Germany), assisted by Marta Hincapié (Columbia). Romanian choreographer and dancer Irina Roncea and junior assistant Oana Rotariu were part of the team. On the basis of their experience with Community Dance techniques, they will carry forward the concept at regional level, adapting it to local needs and expectations and preparing future performances of the kind.

The intensive rehearsals and the performances gave the participating youngsters a unique chance to explore their creative potential and to discover the value of self-discipline and collective effort. Most of them acknowledged that taking part in this project was a unique experience in their lives and affected profoundly their self-perception and their attitude towards their peers and fellow human beings.

The realization of the "Firebird" project would not have been possible without the support of both Romanian and German companies and NGOs and national public institutions that have understood the value of this project and the benefits of its impact on Romanian society. Their generous contributions helped us raise the project’s budget of over 170.000 Euros.

The audiences received the performances with standing and long, enthusiastic applause.

Romanian and German media reported widely on the "Firebird", commending the project as a successful demonstration of how young people from underprivileged backgrounds can be trained and motivated to achieve an impressive collective performance and to attain a high professional standard. There were over 70 mentions regarding the show (articles, pieces of news, interviews, comments) in the national and regional media.

Several Romanian public figures supported the project: Their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Margarita and Princess Helen of Romania, His Excellency Mr Alexander Nixon, Dana Deac, Andreea Marin Banica, Carmen Tanase, Horia Brenciu, Adrian Paduraru. The show was also honoured by the presence of Ion Caramitru, Director of the National Theatre Bucharest and former Minister of Culture (who said he had never seen so many spectators leaving his theatre in tears), Klaus Johannis, Mayor of Sibiu, Martin Bottesch, President of the County Council of Sibiu, German Consul, conductor Horia Andreescu, representatives of the diplomatic corps, public institutions, NGOs and personalities from the press.

The performance will be followed by a documentary film, which is in preparation. The film, made by Tedy Necula, a young and talented Romanian director with physical disabilities, will provide a vivid, complex testimonial of the work methods used and the evolution of the participants. It will also contribute to making Romanian educators and public institutions aware of the value of this concept and motivate them to explore its potential to integrate marginalized young people into society.

On the long term, the Firebird opens new perspectives for the artistic and social practices in Romania. The concept can be carried forward by individuals and organizations in all fields, as an unconventional form of art, social therapy, team building, personal development, creative action, to the benefit of various groups:  youngsters, employees, seniors, people with disabilities, employment seekers, etc. Up

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