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Parade plesa - interview: "We are ordinary people with a strong desire to create art and we ..."

Katja Dance Company. We are ordinary people with a strong desire to create art, and we believe that we have created a space and a way for quality and interesting work!

An interview with Katja Vidmar and Albert Podrekar, the driving forces behind the Katja Dance Company, which is a special record holder in the field of performing arts. Their energy is very contagious. You can feel it in Selnica ob Drava as early as October 14!

Dear Katja and Albert, greetings, and you have danced off into the new season. How was the start of the season, what new things have you prepared, how do you design the season program, what do you rely on?

Katja: Hello, Barbra, the start of this year was a little different for us, as we decided to add two new ones in addition to the programs and classes that we have been doing for several years - endurance training, ballroom and jazz fusion - ballet for beginners and solo salsa and bachata, namely with her team, both of which are taught by our dancer Sara Brčvak, and new trainees are enthusiastic about her classes. Also new is the KDC FLEX card, which trainees can use to attend different classes in our studio - they choose and come when they have time, it is not necessarily always the same class, and they can spend ten visits in three months, and it turned out that most this fits very well. Thus, every year we meet new faces and forge new ties. Of course, the rest of the program is tied to our training for our dance performances, we currently have four different active performances and are preparing for guest appearances.

And you are already announcing the first guest appearance with your latest play The Book, which will take place on October 14 at 7:00 PM in Selnica ob Drava. How do you go about a hosting plan, what's the easiest and what's the hardest?

Katja: The planning takes place much earlier, Albert negotiates with the theaters for months, coordinates the dates - so his part now that the play is done and there are rehearsals, is much bigger and more difficult; and I practice with the dancers in the studio, teach new dancers... The most difficult thing is when the number of dancers changes from show to show due to their availability and we have to adjust parts of the choreography and change sides every time - this takes the most time and energy. But in between, we also laugh and talk about improvements. Every time we also think about what kind of stage we are going to - how big it is, where the exits are, where it will be possible to change clothes, if we can take in the whole scene... But the easiest and most beautiful thing is to dance these choreographies, because the body already knows them, and we relive the feelings from the premiere and we enjoy dancing them together.

How open are the providers of cultural centers or for hosting, how soon can you arrange it?

Albert: We will not sweet talk about the actual situation, but perhaps we can clearly say here from our experience of the last seven years that the diversity of action, communication and the level of willingness is very different among cultural centers and institutions in Slovenia. The first common denominator is certainly the people in charge of cultural programs. In more than half of our inquiries, we do not receive a single response, although we address our messages to several persons in the theatre or municipality, if the latter is in charge of managing the cultural content of the homes. After a more detailed view of the cultural offer in these places, we mostly find that the content is specific and somehow we do not belong to the potential selection for hosting, or there is no offer in the field of art at all! In our opinion, this fact can be attributed mostly to the municipal leaders, who do not even include art in their scope of work, or it is not essential. But we meet unique people in the right positions who are aware of their unique mission. There, many years of work bear fruit, and above all there, young people have the opportunity to shape their own image of art and develop an attitude that will serve them in some way in their future and help them shape both their behavior and their intellectual level. We are happy to mention such municipalities - Laško, Jesenice, Postojna, Selnica ob Drava... And not only that they enable us to cooperate. It is also about the goodwill invested, that they support us in the organization of the event, that they help with advertising, ticket sales... For us small productions, all the support we can get is important, and that with a kind word.

In some places, however, we simply do not succeede, even though we have been trying for years to make contact and introduce ourselves to them personally and look for opportunities.

Are they aware of the importance of hosting your group Katja Dance Company in the places where you come and taking care of cultural awareness in the field of dance?

Albert: We try very hard to convince potential hosts of our mission, which is a kind of 'win-win' situation for everyone. It should be known that we ourselves are volunteers who invest our own resources, time and a lot of energy in our performances and our activities. Yes, of course we want to act sustainably, because it is more than obvious that it is not a one-off show, but a group of people who decided together on stage to help those in need by dancing! We have proven this at more than 130 performances, where our performances tell stories and touch on life's themes, which then get some time and space to be talked about, to unite like-minded people and, last but not least, to help financially. Thus, with the help of the dancers and participants and, last but not least, spectators and supporters, we have already paid out more than 50,000 euros to various associations and individuals, who were really happy about our help. And we will continue to try to motivate our team (which is fully aware of who and what we are and also what we are not!) and our partners, stages and others who are an integral part of this train. At the same time, we would also use the opportunity to invite all dance creators who feel inspired to participate in our dance shows and performances to call us. Maybe they have already experienced the stage, maybe they want it and they don't have such opportunities in their environment. We are primarily ordinary people with a strong desire to create art, and we believe that we have created a space and a way for quality and interesting work, where there is also room for you. Maybe we can find some beatiful future path together.

At the announcement of the premiere and the first repetitions of the play Knjiga, I asked you, Katja, how she will catch up with the others in terms of the number of repetitions. Where do you plan to travel, how do your wishes compare to reality?

Katja: Although the Book performance is of high quality and surpasses previous performances in terms of dance, stage, music, and even video production, even the connecting text, it will be difficult to 'catch', for example, the performance Life is a value - this performance has a really special path, it is a phenomenon in all respects and we will dance it for the 40th time on 16th October, which is a record that will be hard to beat. Well, basically, we got a little closer to it with last year's fairy tale Hug the tree, which we still dance and which already has 28 repetitions. In fact, I am proud of the fact that at this moment we are dancing as many as four different shows from our repertoire - Life is a value, The Book, dance fairy tales Think of us and Hug the tree, which is also quite difficult in terms of dance, because sometimes we have to repeat it in the same day in training two or even three of these and also make a leap in your brain. In October, on the 8th with the dancing fairy tale Think of us, we are leaving for Jesenice, a week after that, on Saturday, the 14th of October, with the dance show The Book in Selnica ob Drava, two days after that, on the 16th of October, with dance show Life is a value in Ljubljana, on 11th November we dance the dance show The Book in Krško, and on 25th November the dance fairy tale Hug the Tree in Izola. Then at the end of November (29th November) we will go to Brussels, where we will dance the dance fairy tale Think of us at the Slovenian embassy and in the European school EEB1, and when we return, three more dancing fairy tales of Think of us await us in December (13th and 14th Dec. in Ljubljana at SZŠLJ, and 15th Dec. in Žužemberk) and The Book19th Dec in Nova Gorica. Uh, I hope I haven't forgotten any. We also have already arranged shows for next year and the premiere of a new play about multiple sclerosis.

Which show holds the record so far? Remind us, please.

Katja: Data until the end of 2023:

1. Life is a value - 40 performances

2. Hug the Tree - 28 performances

3. Life is a value - The movie - 12 performances

4. The Book – 10 performances

5. Think about us - 9 performances

6. I am sorry - 9 performances

7. Project X – 7 performances

8. Help - 7 performances

9. Woman – 6 performances

10. Angela Boškin – 5 performances

11. Our world is different - 5 performances

Who will be in the line-up in Selnica ob Drava, and by that I am of course implying that you will still stand on stage, since you recently decided to work more on stage or behind the stage?

Katja: Yes, (laughs) I don't like that behind the stage, especially as long as we dance performances in which I play the main role or have no substitute. We all know how difficult it is to find dancers for projects, especially ones like ours. I would be happy to just choreograph, but if I make a little joke, our Sara (Sara Brčvak) won't let me leave and says that she will dance if I do too. It is with her that we are preparing the next dance performance Why me, which is about our friend Tadeja, who has multiple sclerosis. I will also dance a duet with Peter Capudra in it. I also love to dance in fairy tales for children, and there are quite a few more in my notebook. I know what I can do, and for now I can still dance. So I won't be completely backstage for a while.

In Selnica ob Dravi, Sara Brčvak, Neža Banovec, Ana Mužič, Kristi Kruusmaa, Iva Šantek and Sara Bračun Duhovnik will dance with me on stage, while Matej Šarf and Albert Podrekar will take care of the technique and organization.

Thank you and all the best.

Original article with photos at:

🥰 You are invited this Saturday to Selnica - Arnold Tovornik's Temple of Culture! We are looking forward to it and sincerely thank PARADA PLESA - BARBRA DRNAČ and Barbra Drnač for all the support! You have been with us since the very beginning and are the only platform where we can express our visions, stories and our dance life to the general public. And for that we are grateful!

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