Cutting-Edge Contemporary Dance Comes to Belarus

by The Associated Press, November 29, 2016

VITEBSK, Belarus (AP) — Cutting-edge contemporary dance has shaken up the sleepy city of Vitebsk in the eastern European nation of Belarus.

Vitebsk, the birthplace of avant-garde artist Marc Chagall, is better known in the former Soviet Union as the host city of an annual festival of pop music that attracts washed-up Russian celebrities.

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Yet last week Vitebsk hosted the International Festival of Contemporary Choreography, which dates back to the 1987 festival of Soviet counterculture. Thirty dance companies and individual dancers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Moldova and China performed at the festival.

A Belarusian dance company won First Prize for a dance about refugees while a Chinese dancer who performed an autobiographical dance won the festival's Grand Prix prize.

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