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Press Coverage

Adevarul, Saved by dancing – The Firebird


Josef did not just train the bodies of 100 young people, but also their will, which sometimes proved more difficult than the physical training. “Like stones, don’t move!” Josef would tell the children to stand still. But they would bustle, pull each other’s clothes, whisper. He would raise his voice to calm them down and to speak about respect, for the thousand of times. “You will not be respected if you don’t respect the others. One must learn respect in life.”

“The most interesting part about this group is how heterogeneous it is”, Josef explained. I don’t want to work with children, I want to treat them as professional dancers”. The philosophy of community dance is, as seen by Maldoom, “dance with anybody, anywhere, anytime”. And the purpose, for those involved in such projects, is to discover their own potential, to change mentalities and destroy prejudices.

For Monique Gruber, the one who initiated the Firebird  project, the biggest one she has been involved in so far, community dance is a competition where everybody wins. And the award is priceless: the belief that you can make all your dreams come true, no matter how bold they are.

“I thought I could do it all on my own, but that was insane”, she confessed. And even more insane was to ask for sponsorship in times of crisis, yet she succeeded after convincing Alexandra Arnautu, who was just setting up her own event organizing company, to coordinate the project locally.

“The key is not to surrender” Alexandra explained. And nobody did so far, even if there have been some tensioned moments, there has been yelling, crying and apologizing. Tomorrow, over 100 dancers will have their first performance on “the most important stage in the country”, as they call it, in the greatest artistic event in the country, “George Enescu” International Festival. Josef is convinced that they will be “wonderful”, but mentions that even more important than the show itself is “the experience of being on stage, of discovering and exploring movements of the body, the movements of the soul.” […]

Ana Maria Veres (17 years old) is form Medias, she studies acting in a High school in Sibiu, says she is already living her dream and wouldn’t want to wake up. She has been chosen for the main part in The Firebird production […].

Respect and responsibility

Cornel Cimpoeru (19), who has the part of Prince Ivan […] comes from the Gulliver Centre in Sibiu, where he has four more brothers. Two of them, Ciprian and Maria, will dance along with him on the National Theatre’s stage. He admits that what he learned here will be very useful for him: to focus and assume responsibility for what he does.
To conclude, to each participant, The Firebird has a different meaning. For the younger ones, it’s like a game, for the ones in shelters, the chance to do something else, to enjoy exercising and learn what respect means and, last but not least, to make friends.

Also, the five pupils in the special school for hearing disabilities made friends, they had long sign conversations with those who do not know sign language. But generally, they need the help of an interpreter to understand the requests from the choreographer.

Games, tears and dancing

[…] There has been a lot of crying even the day when they succeeded to dance the whole show for the first time, without any indications from the choreographers. It was a Wednesday, three and a half weeks after the beginning of the rehearsals. Josef called Alexandra Arnautu, who couldn’t make it to the rehearsals that day, and said only one word to her: “amazing.”

Tedy (Tudor) Necula, student and filmmaker, who suffers from tetra paresis, directs and produces the documentary of The Firebird project. His team took mini-interviews with the participants, seeking to catch the interesting moments, “a quarrel, an accident, an insane moment”, leaving the evenings for montage. The movie will be about the young people in this project, their dreams and values, about the firebird in each one of them.


Author: Sandra Scarlat