Dancing Through Translation

see below for more information about the project

In fall 2017, Peter Kyle Dance launched a yearlong collaboration with Ukrainian choreographer Anton Ovchinnikov. DANCING THROUGH TRANSLATION is a research and performance project exploring contemporary dance as a vehicle for cross-cultural exchange. The 2017-2018 collaboration was part of a larger celebration of 25 years of bilateral relations between the United States of America and Ukraine. The project was implemented with the support of the Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Anton Ovchinnikov photo: Anton Safonov

Ovchinnikov and Kyle met in 2016 when Kyle was in Ukraine on a Fulbright Specialist grant. Ovchinnikov invited Kyle to teach a two-day workshop for professional dancers and choreographers, and also provided vital logistical support to Kyle as he created a new dance film with local artists in Kiev. It was at this time the two artists had the idea to create a joint project that would be interesting in both the United States and Ukraine.

Peter Kyle photo: Anton Ovchinnikov

DANCING THROUGH TRANSLATION built on Kyle’s earlier choreographic investigations including his 2012 solo, 100 DAYS. It challenged the artists to look with fresh eyes at the wealth of human physicality that surrounds us, and explore questions of how we process movement as language. Over the project year Ovchinnikov and Kyle catalogued, transcribed, and learned borrowed movements from everyday people they encountered in their daily travels on opposite sides of the planet.

Anton Ovchinnikov photo: Dimitrijs Matvejevas

Drawing on the material they collected, Ovchinnikov and Kyle built a new production with a team of eight other Ukrainian artists: composers, dancers, lighting and costume designers, as well as two Ukrainian tour managers. Kyle and Ovchinnikov met in person in the fall of 2017 in New York City, and subsequently in regular videoconferences. In March 2018 Kyle traveled to Kiev to work with the Ukrainian team and do some project outreach with university students. The final phase of the collaboration took place in summer 2018 when Kyle returned to Ukraine for an intensive rehearsal and performance period with the other artists. The completed project toured to four cities across Ukraine including: Kiev, Lviv, Kherson, and Kharkiv.

Peter Kyle photo: Mike Depasquale

An important outreach component of the project expanded on Kyle’s 2016 Fulbright project in Kiev and sought to engage college and university students in several dance departments in the U.S. and Ukraine. Student work groups in both countries were invited to conduct their own movement observations, write detailed transcriptions of the material they observed, and share these with their international peers to create their own choreographic translations inspired by one another’s writings. The students met to share their creative work via videoconference, establishing a foundation for a “culture-bridge” between populations.

DANCING THROUGH TRANSLATION had in its final phase between July 22-August 24, 2018. Having assembled a fantastic team of artists in Kyiv, we generated a culminating evening-length project, “Shirts and Shoes” which had its world premiere performances at the Les’ Kurbas Center, in Kyiv before it went on the road to three other Ukrainian cities. The title comes, in part, from idioms in both English and Ukrainian that charge each of us to develop empathy by putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes (shirts, in Ukrainian).

Below are the dates of our performances and names of our venues (with links to Facebook event pages created for each engagement):

August 14-15, 8pm – Kyiv (Kiev) – Les’ Kurbas Center

August 17, 7pm – Lviv – Pershyy Theatre for Youth (First Theatre for Youth)

August 19, 7pm – Kherson – Kherson Regional Puppet Theatre

August 22 9pm – Kharkiv – Art Area DK

Here is our Shirts and Shoes team:

Peter Kyle – Co-choreographer
Anton Ovchinnikov – Co-choreographer
Mira Matchina – Costume designer
Tetyana Khoroshun, Маria Titova – Composer/Musicians
Elena Chuchko, Iryna Klymenko, Victoria LosYarik Kaynar – Performers
Katte Tiahlo – Stage manager
Stanislava Ovchinnikova – Tour manager
Slava Los – Graphic designer
Alexander Dolovov – Photographer / videographer

Main Information Partner – Ukrainian theater
Production Company – Black Orange Dance Production
Project Organizer – All-Ukrainian Association “platform of modern dance”
Project Partner – Peter Kyle Dance

Dancing Through Translation celebrates 25 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Ukraine, and was made possible with generous support from the Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

DTT was also made possible by the generosity of supporters of Peter Kyle Dance. Thank you!

First day of rehearsal! photo: Stanislava Ovchinnikov

Curtain call for the premiere of "Shirts and Shoes"