Representation of Lithuania in Italy by LSMU Folk Dance Ensemble ‘Ave Vita’

Usually people travel if they want to take rest or relax; however, the journeys of LSMU folk dance ensemble ‘Ave Vita’ often have some different purpose. The ensemble had a sapid journey during the last summer week in sunny Italy. The ensemble members got introduced to the culture of other countries and at the same time they presented the heritage of folk dances of our country abroad.

‘Ave Vita’ invited their friends, folk dances ensemble ‘Kaukas’ of Kaunas College and folk dancers from ‘Santaka’ Gymnasium in Kaunas City, to join them for honourable representation of Lithuania and their university in the annual international festival of folk dances in Bracciano Castle. Therefore, an impressive number of people went to the festival this year: more than 60 dancers, 30 musicians and choir singers, together with almost 10 leaders.

‘Ave Vita’ has participated in the Bracciano event for the second time already; the first time was 6 years ago. Thus the festival’s organizers surprised the Lithuanians a lot, when they gave them CDs with the recorded concert from that last visit of ‘Ave Vita’ in Bracciano as a gift.

Mr. Kazimieras Kondratavičius, the director of the ensemble ‘Ave Vita’, acknowledges that no matter how many countries he visits with the University’s ensemble, the festive parade always remains the most impressive moment. ‘It is a wonderful feeling to march the streets of foreign cities, to have the people watch us and our national costumes, ask us for photos and sometimes specify what country we are from. That is the time when it is so nice to feel Lithuanian’, – ensemble leader shared his nostalgic thoughts.

This year, besides the Lithuanian representatives, the ensembles from Belarus, England, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and some other countries have also participated in the festival. The members of ‘Ave Vita’ were unanimous to say that the Ukrainian performance (although they actually live in Great Britain) with so energetic steps and choreographic figures was really exceptional. Mr. Kondratavičius said that they would try to invite this ensemble to perform on the Lithuanian stage.

Actually, ‘Ave Vita’ always stresses that they represent not only their country but also the school of higher education abroad. ‘We are very grateful to LSMU for support that motivates us to develop and strive for better and better results’, – said the ensemble director.

Though after the journey only the warm memories about Italy remained, the students are already working and making future plans. One of the most serious preparations is for the United States. ‘Ave Vita’ is planning to take part in the festival of folk dances organized by the Lithuanian community in Baltimore (USA) next summer.

Moreover, in April ‘Ave Vita’ is going to commemorate the honourable 70th anniversary; therefore, the dancers, musicians and choir singers are already working on a new artistic programme for the festive concert.