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Easy: A Dance in the Making

17 May 2023–9 Apr 2024
Age restrictions


Anastasia ProshutinskayaGES-2 dance programme curator.

A series of performances of unfinished choreographic works inspires a discussion between creators and the audience, and provide the opportunity to view works in the process of creation.


In this new GES-2 project, a wide variety of choreographers will show performances which can best be defined as works in progress. These pre-performances, first versions, and sketches of future works are presented in the most natural, informal context: not on stage, but at the central platform, where all visitors to GES-2 can view them, and then discuss them with the authors and GES-2 mediators.

All illustrations: Anton Bundenko

A sketch may differ considerably from a finished work. It is often a collection of separate fragments of materials found by chance at rehearsals, which remains to be assembled into a performance. By calling this series Easy, we invite both choreographers and viewers to regard the performance as a situation for live observation and discussion., What problems and ideas do contemporary dance artists in Moscow and elsewhere currently explore? What images and communication methods do they find to discuss the topics that interest them?

The project also features collages by artist Anton Budnenko created especially for each performance, using a neural network. Anton takes ideas, associations, photographs and other pictures provided by the choreographer as the basis for the collages, adding a further rich visual layer to the performance.

Tatyana Kritskaya, Rafael Timerbakov

Date: 25 Oct 2022
Time: 19:00

Tatyana Kritskaya and Rafael Timerbakov are dancers at the Chelyabinsk Theatre of Contemporary Dance, founded by choreographer Olga Pona. The artists at this theatre not only take part in major collective performances, but also create their own chamber works, which may also join the repertoire. This is how the duo of Tatyana and Rafael came into being. You can learn more about the Chelyabinsk Theatre of Contemporary Theatre at the Proscenium exhibition at GES-2.

In creating a duo, Tanya and I decided to be as open as possible to new things. The theme is born in the process. It is not “what” that is important for us, but “how.” How do we move? How do we interact? Dance has been our daily job for over 15 years. In a sense, we are hostages of our performance experience. How can we feel once more that we are really creating movement? How do we find a new method of dancing together? Time itself suggests the intonation: without efforts, without affectations, without deliberate demonstration of technique and virtuosity. We do not want use our dance to shout.

—Rafael Timerbakov

GES-2 mediators Katerina Lyainen and Tatyana Melnikova lead the discussion with the audience.

Tatyana Kritskaya is a dancer and choreographer. She graduated from the choreography faculty at the Chelyabinsk State Academy of Culture and Arts. She was twice nominated for a Golden Mask prize—as part of the Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theatre troupe and for best female role in the mono-production Tom Thumb created in collaboration with Olga Pona. Participant of a residency at the Stantsia art platform (Kostroma, 2018), and the DialogueLab workshop of physical theatre and performance (Ruza, 2022). Frequent participant of the Open Look (St. Petersburg), Tochka (Omsk), and On the Verge (Ekaterinburg) contemporary film festivals.

Rafael Timerbakov is a choreographer, educator, and dancer. Graduated from the choreography faculty of the Chelyabinsk State Academy of Culture and Arts. Nominee of a Golden Mask prize for ballet and choreography for the production Cardboard (2019). Participant of the contemporary dance festivals On the Verge, Small Format, Contour (Ekaterinburg), Tochka (Omsk), Stage (Chelyabinsk), Freedom Square (Kazan), Open Look (St. Petersburg), ZDVIG (Kirov) and the Diversion International festival of contemporary dance duos (Kostroma). Creator of the Ploshchadka independent education project in the field of contemporary dance (with Dmitry Chegodar).

Choreography and performance
Tatyana Kritskaya, Rafael Timerbakov

Elizaveta Nevolina

Elena Ermakovishna

Tatyana Chizhikova

Date: 17 May 2023
Time: 19:00–20:20

Choreographer and performer Tatyana Chizhikova opens the Easy: A Dance in the Making series. Her works are always laconic in form and full of complex emotions, speaking directly with the viewer and creating a shared, urgent emotional experience. In the new solo performance, special attention is given to details of movement and work with the subject.

As a partner I chose a dry stick—a long branch taken from a dead tree. This is a metaphor of my thoughts about roots and separation from them. Initially, I bowed before the ability of the tree to sink its roots into the earth and grow there. But in the process of this practice, an opposite thought also struck me: the dry stick would never again be filled with life. I felt its fragility, its inflexibility: with its whole essence it declared that any force would break it. In my partnership with it, I felt that I was the one who was alive, I realised my ability to change, to feel, to see, to choose. I am the root from which shoots will grow.

—Tatyana Chizhikova

GES-2 mediators Nastya Bylinkina and Katerina Lyainen lead the discussion with the audience.

Tatyana Chizhikova is a dancer, choreographer and educator of contemporary dance. Graduate of the Moscow choreography lyceum, where she studied ballet art, and the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, where she studied choreographic art. Participant of the SOTA education programme. Winner of the [8:tension] competition at the ImPulsTanz festival (Vienna, 2019), with her performance From Time to Time. Winner of a Golden Mask prize (2020) for the production The Drummer. Lives and works in Moscow.

Anastasia Rebkalo

Date: 21 Jun 2023
Time: 19:00–20:30

Dance artist Anastasia Rebkalo is interested in the choreography of the text and even the choreography of humour. She studies them through modern forms of social interaction—for example exchanging memes, repeating movements on TikTok, and standup. In the new performance Anastasia tries out the role of an orator, a preacher of Contemporary Dance, where she involves her entire body in her speech, and expects the same response from the audience.

People think that speaking is for the theatre, not for dance. But I work a great deal with words in my practice! I started a Telegram channel in 2020—a space for memes about contemporary dance. In my performance Standup-stand-art-practice I move into the genre of standup, in order to investigate deep-seated beliefs about contemporary choreography. Speaking in public is very much a bodily act, requiring attention to your pose, stance and gestures. But a text can also be understood as a dance. In the new project I want to investigate my interest in the corporeality of speaking and the performativity of contact with the audience—and try to create a shared dance that is as open as possible through the text.

—Anastasia Rebkalo

GES-2 mediators Vera Zamyslova and Karina Chernysheva lead the discussion with the audience.

Anastasia Rebkalo is a dance artist, dance dramatist, performer and choreographer. She graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet majoring in Ballet Master art, and also the Artistic Practices of Contemporary Dance workshop programme. Author of a research project on contemporary dance and art @perfpaket on Telegram. Participant of a residency at the House of Radio (St. Petersburg) and the Stantsia art platform (Kostroma). Her works have been presented on the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the Sdvig performing arts studio (St. Petersburg), the MOÑ theatre space (Kazan), the Zdvig laboratory festival (Kirov) etc. Lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Nikita Chumakov

Date: 4 Jul 2023
Time: 19:00–20:00

Choreographer Nikita Chumakov invited the composer and artists from the dance troupe of the Voronezh Chamber Theatre to take part in his project. Together they ask whether it is possible to discuss complex themes that concern contemporary society through dance alone—so that dance remains dance and nothing else, and when unprepared viewers see the work, they would immediately say, “Yes, these people are definitely dancing.”

We decided to turn to historical dances, which were already separate from folklore and acquired their own form, but still retained their spiritual life. These dances changed and became more complex, and ultimately evolved into ballet—but if the historical dance had continued to develop independently, what would it look like today? This question inspired us to create a performance suite which included a sarabande, allemande, courant, gig, menuet, and experimental dance aria. We tried to elaborate and develop these dances, based on contemporary experience.

— Nikita Chumakov

GES-2 mediators Vasya Elenkin and Katerina Lyainen lead the discussion with the audience.

Nikita Chumakov is a choreographer, performer. Graduated from the Voronezh State Choreography Academy and the P.A.R.T.S. School for Contemporary Dance (Brussels). Participated in projects by the choreographers Cindy van Acker, Xavier le Roi and Mårten Spångberg. As a choreographer and producer he worked at Yury Muravitsky’s course at the Moscow School of New Cinema. Author of the performance ObryadRave at the Osten-Saken Off-Stage Festival (Nemeshaevo, Ukraine, 2017) and the production Antigone (Nuremberg, 2017). Choreographer of the productions Parasomnia (2019) at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, Twelfth Night, or What you Will (2020) and Secret Views of Mount Fuji (2021) at the Nikitinsky Theatre (Voronezh). His miniature The Boy in the Tram in the production We Dance Mandelshtam (2020) at the Voronezh Chamber Theatre was included on the long list for the Golden Mask prize. Lives and works in Voronezh.

Ulyana Chepurina, Nikolai Gavrilin, Ksenia Nikolaeva, Igor Prudskoi, Olga Ryzhkova, Vitaly Shilov

Yaroslav Borisov

Alexander Kozin

Date: 29 Aug 2023
Time: 19:00

Choreographer Alexander Kozin has chosen the practice of contact improvisation as the main tool of his research, where two people move together, in contact, maintaining a spontaneous bodily dialogue. Contact improvisation features athleticism, risk-taking and animality, but also subtlety and sensitivity in partnership. Participating with him in the project are Andrei Zelenov, who combines improvisation skills with techniques from martial arts, and two musicians, electric guitarist Ilya Egorov and Alexander Leonov, performer of songs of the Russian North.

It may seem that the two dancers are lunging at each other, furiously and recklessly. But we notice that they are smiling and enjoy the interaction, skilfully recovering from an unexpected situation. This is their means of communication—to find a balance, to feel their own weight and their partner’s weight, a common point of support, a point of contact. Invented in the 1970s by choreographer Steve Paxton and based on martial arts, contact improvisation is actually a dance. Through this practice I find it interesting to address the manifestation of masculinity in dance, in movement, in physical interaction. How does this manifestation change the space? What answer does it inspire in the audience? Can we observe this today without horror, without anxiety about possible consequences? Can we find a more profound and viable support for this than established ideas about the gender of force and rivalry?

—Alexander Kozin

GES-2 mediators Nastya Bylinkina and Vasya Elenkin lead the discussion with the audience.

Alexander Kozin is a dancer, choreographer, performer, educator of contact improvisation and contemporary dance, and a theatre producer. He lives and works in Petrozavodsk. He began his education in the field of movement in an athletics group, and continued to study traditional dances at the Kruuga folklore theatre (Petrozavodsk), and also studied in Poland, Germany and the USA. In 2012 he turned to contemporary dance. As a choreographer and director of movement he took part in creating over 20 productions in theatres in Russia and abroad. Organiser of laboratories, master classes, contemporary dance shows in Petrozavodsk featuring European and Russian choreographers.

Alexander Kozin, Andrei Zelenov

Alexander Leonov, Ilya Egorov

Andrei Petrushenkov, Laran, Semyon Dadonov

Date: 26 Sept 2023
Time: 19:00

Three dancers display their solo works on one stage at the same time: Andrei Petrushenkov, Laran and Semyon Dadonov. They prepared the works independently of one another, and how these solos will come together remains a surprise for them.

We wanted to create a work together—about the connections between us, about the transfer and preservation of common energy, about methods of finding a common language. But in the end, all we managed to agree on was the time and place of the meeting, where we could show in parallel what each of us finds interesting at the moment. In modern life, many things happen at once, different things require attention at the same time, it is difficult to separate them, and everyone is happy if they can do three things at once. I think that something similar may happen at our “meeting place.” And we hope that in this convenient isolation, there may be moments of unification, creating connections and collective energy.

—Andrei Petrushenkov

GES-2 moderators Vasya Elenkin and Tatyana Melnikova will lead the discussion with the audience.

Andrei Petrushenkov is a choreographer, dancer, performer and educator of contemporary dance. He is an artist, choreographer and composer for the projects of the “Context. Diana Vishneva” festival. From 2018 to 2022 he worked at Gogol Centre in Kirill Serebrennikov’s productions Baroque, Mueller Machine, Outside and The Black Monk. He participated in the productions The Island and Worker and Kolkhoz Woman by Evgeny Kulagin and Ivan Estegneev. Author of music for the contemporary dance productions Reality by Anna Shchekleina, Tuberpat by Ksenia Burmistrova, Manifestation by Galina Gracheva and Ivan Sachkov, etc.

Laran is a performer, choreographer, and music producer. Participant of the Farfor dance company. Winner of the Best Fashion Dance prize at the La Jolla international festival of fashion cinema (USA, 2020). Participant of the international choreography competition in Hannover, Germany, and the festivals MasDanza24 and Danzad, Danzad Malditos (Spain). Performed in Kirill Serebrennikov’s production of the Black Monk (2022).

Semyon Dadonov is a choreographer, performer, dancer of experimental and contemporary dance. Participant of the experimental dance festivals Keys (2018, 2020, 2021) and Poezda (2023).

Choreography and performance
Andrei Petrushenkov, Laran, Semyon Dadonov

Laran, Andrei Petrushenkov

Olga Vasilieva

Date: 27 Nov 2023
Time: 19:00

Olga Vasilieva is primarily known as a choreographer and production designer. Working with a large group or with a duo, she always creates a complex virtuosic dance. In her new project, Olga has done many things that are new to her. The impressive technique and broad gestures are replaced small, simple movements. The sound does not so much create the environment and lead the dance, but rather comments on its individual moments. In her solo performance Olga explores the theme of warmth and openness.

I want to be in a state of warmth, to expand the space of warmth. I want to move and perceive the environment gently, opening myself up to it and trusting it. I have noticed that at happy moments, we have the feeling that something is beginning. This solo performance for me is an attempt to capture and share with the audience the feeling that everything will be fine. That everything can be fine. This may seem naive to some, impossible to others, but my trust in space and life encourages me to try again and again. It’s like waking up, seeing beautiful, pure white snow and wishing that you could spend the day just as beautifully. Usually this means just being happy.

—Olga Vasilieva

GES-2 mediators Vasya Elenkin and Tatyana Melnikova will lead the discussion with the audience

Olga Vasilieva is a choreographer and dancer. Art director of the VASILEVADANCECO contemporary dance project. Graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, studying to be a ballet master. Winner of the grand prize of the Context. Diana Vishneva festival of contemporary choreography (2016). Studied at the Maslool professional dance programme (Israel), and her competition production The Room was selected for the Holland Dance Festival (Netherlands). Finalist of the Mind and Movement education programme of the Context. Diana Vishneva festival and the Studio Wayne McGregor dance company. Participant of choreography laboratories at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre (MAMT). Nominated for a Golden Mask award (2018, 2022).

Darya Anzherskaya

Olga Tsvetkova

Date: 2 Dec 2023
Time: 15:00

This new major project by choreographer Olga Tsvetkova is created in co-authorship with composer Sergei Akhunov. For several years Akhunov has been working on the music for the ballet Liturgy, an early 20th century production by choreographer Leonid Myasin and composer Igor Stravinsky that was never realized. Akhunov combines allusions to Stravinsky’s music with elements of Old Russian line hymnody, and this combination is very much in line with Olga Tsvetkova’s interests—avant-garde experimentation on the one hand, and the experience of the sublime on the other. Olga turns to fixed choreography, unusual for herself, to work with the Cannon Dance theatre to master the large concert stage. The project was supported by the Zaryadye Concert Hall, where the premiere will take place on December 13. At GES-2, the audience will see one of the fragments of the production and will be able to discuss with Olga the ideas and issues behind her dance.

In working on this ballet, I feel like a transcendental seamstress making a carpet from different patches and threads. One may find many details and micro-quotations in it referencing the early works of Vaslav Nijinsky, Leonid Myasin, Georgy Gurdjieff and other choreographers that mean a lot to me. The images I work with flicker between the recognizable, like a bird or death, and the completely abstract. I am interested in the collision of different realities and times, in a multi-layered structure of choreography. I see my task as connecting all of this eclectic material into a very clear and transparent pattern. The most important thing is to capture a sense of beauty and loftiness of spirit, so that the viewer becomes immediately involved in the sensory experience. This flash of recognition is different for everyone.

—Olga Tsvetkova

GES-2 mediators Vasya Elenkin and Katerina Lyainen lead the discussion with the audience.

Olga Tsvetkova is a choreographer and director. Artistic head of the New Dance Academy project. Studied at the School for New Dance Development (SNDO, Netherlands) at the choreography faculty, graduated from the master’s programme for direction at DAS Theatre in at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Participant of the festival Spring Forward (2014, Sweden), stipend holder of the danceWEB programme (2017, Austria). Author of the production Moments (2014, in collaboration with Vladimir Gorlinsky and Mikhail Durnenkov, Meyerhold Centre), the contemporary ballet A Shout About Silence. Tao te Ching (2019, in collaboration with composer Anton Svetlichny), the production Human After All (2019, for the Norrdans dance company, Sweden), the dance performance Soulwhirl to the music of Vangelino Currentzis (2022, Dom Radio, St. Petersburg), and the ballet initiation Requiem. Solo to the music of Yannis Xenakis and Pyotr Glavatskikh (2022, Alexandrinsky Theatre New Stage. St. Petersburg), and other works. Curator of the contemporary dance programme at GES-2 (2018–2022).

Sergei Akhunov is a composer. Graduated from the Kiev Conservatory where he studied the oboe. Has worked in various genres including electronic music and rock music. In 2005 he turned to academic music, starting with chamber works and film composing. Author and co-author of albums released on the labels Fancymusic, Alfa Classics, Onyx, Glossa and others. The work Sketches (2017), a collaborative effort with Polina Osetinskaya and Ilya Gofman, was nominated for the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA). He also contributed to the disks In Schubert’s Company by Maxim Rysanov (2017) and Piazzolla Reflections by Ksenia Sidorova (2021), which were included on the critics’ choice of Gramophone magazine. Winner of the Pure sound prize for the albums Hugo’s Blank Page (2019) and White Balance (2021).

Olga Tsvetkova

Sergei Akhunov

Adelina Alchinova, Vladislav Borisov, Anna Chirkina, Pavel Gasimov, Eduard Gladunov, Alexey Moroz, Olga Ogorodnikova, Olga Perminova, Daria Piterova, Irina Pozdeeva, Kristina Vasilchikova, Jie Fu Wang

Lyubov Savchuk, Alexandra Stolyarova

Date: 18 Feb
Time: 16:00

Lyubov and Alexandra met when they were working at the theatre Provincial Dances. They shared an interest in physical experience, perception and action, and the concept of the “thinking body.” After working on several projects together, they found themselves far apart: Lyubov now works in Moscow, while Alexandra studies in Zurich. Their new project is prepared at a distance, without direct physical contact in the rehearsal studio, which is so important for both of them. The impossibility of nearness has become both a theme and a real fact that inspire them to find new methods of creating a dance together.

The idea is to explore one’s own solitudes and share them. We found the form of the performance in the repetition of a certain choreographic statement on the same musical theme: two people telling the same story, presenting solos to the audience that are identical in terms of movement and music. These solos differ only in the situation in which they are performed: one creates this situation for the other, transforming the space and bringing additional meanings and ideas to the dance.

—Lyubov Savchuk, Alexandra Stolyarova

GES-2 mediator Vasya Elenkin leads the discussion with the audience.

Lyubov Savchuk is a performer and choreographer. Artist of the “Context. Diana Vishneva” dance troupe. She has worked at the theatres Provincial Dances (Ekaterinburg), Cannon Dance (Petersburg) and the Chamber Theatre (Voronezh). With Alexandra Stolyarova, she prepared the site-specific project Open Doors in the space of the former Kolizei cinema as part of an evening for the Provincial Dances theatre (2022), and the production Reservoir, included on the long list for the Golden Mask prize (2024).

Alexandra Stolyarova is a dancer, performer and choreographer. She is currently studying for an MA in Choreography at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). She has worked at the Provincial Dances theatre and in the Okoem company. As a performer and choreographer, she creates projects in Russia and Switzerland. Besides works with Lyubov Savchuk, Alexandra also has her own solo project, Essence (2021), which was awarded the Bravo prize by the Urals Theatre Association.

Choreography, performance
Lyubov Savchuk, Alexandra Stolyarova

Oleg Stepanov

Alexander Lyubashin, Andrei Gorlachev

Date: 27 Mar
Time: 19:00

Alexander Lyubashin teaches dance in different contexts, including bachelor’s and master’s programmes. In his own artistic project, he also approaches contemporary dance as a researcher. The choreographer asks basic questions about this practice, studying its transformation in time and through the changing generations, as technologies develop and become widely used in everyday life. He is joined in this project by media artist Andrei Gorlachev, who shares his interest in technology and also enters into a critical and ironic dialogue with it. Their performance is an attempt to find the anthropomorphic and corporeal in places where its presence would seem impossible by definition: in artificial intelligence.

In past decades, dance has already interacted with generative art—graphics, music and texts. Now it enters into a dialogue with artificial intelligence and generative meanings. Our ideas are always connected with a physical body in one way or another, but what corporeality does AI generate its meanings from? How can we understand this body, and how does AI itself understand it? We ask textual neural networks these questions, dance with AI and reconsider our own corporeality—as it relates to codes and algorithms, and to the concept of the standard as numerous forms and variations.

—Alexander Lyubashin, Andrei Gorlachev

GES-2 mediator Tatyana Melnikova will lead the discussion with the audience.

Conception, performance
Alexander Lyubashin, Andrei Gorlachev

Alexander Lyubashin is as dance artist and choreographer. Graduate of the ballet master faculty of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Lecturer and co-curator of the artistic practices of contemporary dance master’s programme at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. An author and curator of the contemporary dance art bachelor’s programme at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Graduate of the School of the Theatre Leader. Worked as an artistic director of the House of Dance at the ZIL Culture Centre (2012–2013). Artistic director of the international project DK-more culture.

Andrei Gorlachev is a media artist, director. Co-founder of the SHUM multimedia art studio. Worked on over 40 productions at theatres in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaluga, Kazan, Mirny, Vladivostok and other cities of Russia, and also in group and solo exhibitions. His works are held in the collection of the State Russian Museum and in private collections in Russia and Europe.

Veronika Tikhonova

Date: 9 Apr
Time: 19:00–20:30

Veronika Tikhonova, who is already familiar to GES-2 visitors as a participant of the production Hold me, hold me, hold, presents her first solo work Horse Maintenance (2023), where she shows an interest in post-Internet dance, in which the performer resembles an avatar, a character of the digital medium. In her new work, she continues to develop qualities of movement which could allow us to imagine the body in the post-humanistic perspective. She is interested in movement which begins but does not end, and leads to nothing. It becomes a metaphor of emptiness, the post-apocalyptic world, and the consumer society taken to extremes, in which human relations become impossible.

The philosopher and psychoanalyst Julie Reshe proposes to understand emptiness not as a lack or absence of a certain thing, but as the inner basis of the human being. In this context, relations between subjects only become possible as relations between each emptiness. In the film The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos creates an anti-utopia where it is illegal to be alone, and loners are expelled from society. People who insist on staying single are turned into animals and must live in forests, forbidden to make contact with others. I love silent discos, where outcasts dance in headphones. They share the space with one another, but not the music, and this creates an image of emptiness. In my practice I also look for methods of depicting emptiness.

—Veronika Tikhonova

GES-2 mediator Katerina Lyainen leads the audience discussion.

Concept, performance
Veronika Tikhonova

Costume designer
Tatyana Aleshko

Salvado Marino

Veronika Tikhonova is a media artist and performer. Graduated from the choreography faculty of the St. Petersburg Humanities University of Trade Unions, and studied media art in the New Media Laboratory programme at the Alexandrinsky Theatre. As a dancer, she worked with the companies Neopost Foofwa and Cannon Dance, and the choreographers Alina Belyagina and Anna Abalikhina. Worked in inclusive projects with the Anton’s Right Here Centre, the 9 AM Dance Company and the InForm platform (Georgia). Nominated for a Golden Mask prize (2024) as the choreographer and performer of the solo show Horse Maintenance.

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