This edition of the, let's say, official history of the festival is dated January 2017. Honestly, the desire to roll up my sleeves and write “everything as it was” quickly vanished. As it turned out, the attempt had been doomed from the very beginning, because so much has happened over the past three decades that it would take an unpredictable amount of such scarce time to scrupulously research and describe all events and facts in detail.
It is impossible to give preference to one of the names in the list of choreographers and dancers, because it would be unfair to others. It is impossible to give credit to all sponsors, philanthropists, colleagues, volunteers and all those who consider IFMC to some extent their brainchild. And one more problem: most of the primary sources are lost, and the memory stores only fragmentary and emotional images of past events.
Our team, the people with whom we began to work together on this project in the past millennium, have long gone around the world. Over the years, one after the other, several "generations" of new associates have succeeded one another. No wonder, at all times it is difficult to remain an enthusiast. When it all began, in the great USSR there were very few people who had at least some idea of contemporary dance. Even among the dancing people there were only a few who had already discovered the world of modern dance and dedicated their lives to it.
Therefore, the first version of IFMC History, which appeared in the year 2000, remained practically unchanged for a long time (that page was created in collaboration with Igor Gusakov, the “passionless” photo-chronicler of the festival). This happened partly for the reason mentioned above, and partly because of the desire to avoid accusations of “varnishing” the history of the festival.
Be careful, all the data below are relevant for the year 2000. A more detailed content of the events of the festival, starting from the moment of registration on the Internet, can be found in the "Archive" section. As for the “unofficial” IFMC story, you can get acquainted with it through the collection of articles “Dance Labyrinth. The history of the International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk. 25 years. ”, which was published in 2013. For us, one circumstance gives this book special importance. The fact is that it contains a view “from the side” of those with whom the festival began.

The author of the idea, the founder and director of the festival Marina Romanovskaya:

«Nowadays Vitebsk is often mentioned as the cultural capital of Belarus. It's very nice to hear but we know that back in the early XX century our city was one of the centers of European culture, first of all, due to the avant-garde, which has already become the world classics. With the Festival we contribute to Vitebsk revival as a part in the global creative process. Facing numerous difficulties related to non-commercial character of the project, we could feel the support of the city itself, its mysterious inner aura, hidden from extraneous look. The main property of the IFMC is people who believe that the international language of dance helps us understand each other and ourselves. I'm firmly convinced that flashes of the new talents on the Festival stage are worth of any efforts. We are grateful to all our friends in various countries and we hope to meet more confederates who realize that the best of today's avant-garde will become the classics of XXI century».

The International Festival of modern choreography in Vitebsk takes place annually since 1987. Initially, it was an experiment with the aim of finding among the choreographers and ballet companies those who had been exploring either intuitively or deliberately contemporary forms and techniques of dance. Several years of search made it clear that the undertaking was a success. IFMC grew into the biggest and the most prestigious forum of the contemporary dance in the countries of former USSR. The festival has discovered and made renowned the names of “pioneers”. Among them were “Still life factory” (Vladimir Polyakov, Moscow), “Aura” dance theatre (Berute Lietucaite, Kaunas, Lithuania), Nickolay Ogryzkov’s contemporary dance school (Moscow), dance theater “Provincial dances” (Yekaterinburg), “Fine five dance theater” (Rene Nymmik, Tallinn, Estonia), Natalya Fiksel’s dance theater (Novosibirsk), Elena Bogdanovich’s studio (Moscow), “Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theater (Perm). The outstanding works of the above companies have become a “treasury” of the Festival, whose history is bonded indissolubly with their creative biographies.

The IFMC remains open to the daring projects of young choreographers and dancers. Its main event is the International Competition biennale in two nominations: one-act ballet and choreographic miniature. This is the only competition in the world where the works are estimated as a whole (i.e. neither choreography nor technical skills are judged separately, but the entire creative work). According to the rules, Grand Prix is only awarded for the work, which is performed in Vitebsk for the first time and is considered by the International Jury to be an outstanding piece of art.
Aside from the Competition itself, master-classes by well-known choreographers and teachers, research seminars on the art history as well as performances, photo-exhibitions, video-shows, news conferences and round tables are included into the Festival program. Over 40 prominent ballet troupes and solo dancers from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Poland, USA, Germany, France, Netherlands, Israel, China, Japan have performed at IFMC within recent years.

Among the accredited media were “Culture” weekly (Minsk), “Literature and art” weekly (Minsk), “Beloruskaya delovaya gazeta” weekly (Minsk), “Komsomolskaya Pravda” daily (Moscow), “Ballet” magazine (Moscow), “Moscow tribune” weekly, “Itogi” weekly (Moscow), “Dance Magazine” (USA), “Les Saisons de la Dance” magazine (France), “Ballet Internationale” (Germany), “Dancer’s Path” (Japan), Belarusian National TV Company, Russian State Television, Estonian TV Company etc.

The members of the International Competition Jury:

Valentin Yelizariev - choreographer, professor, artistic director and chief choreographer of the National Academic Bolshoy Theatre Ballet of Belarus
Raza Hammadi – choreographer, artistic director of the “Jazz-art ballet”, France
Alain Bernard – choreographer, the president of the Swiss Association of ballet artists, Switzerland
Benjamin Feliksdal - choreographer, teacher, Netherlands
Pascale Just - art historian, critic, France
Valery Panov - choreographer, artistic director of the “Panov ballet theatre of Israel”
Leonid Kozlov - choreographer, artistic director of the “Dance International Company”,
Kenji Usui - art historian, critic, professor and director of the Russian ballet Academy in Tokyo, Japan
Xiao Suhua - choreographer, professor of Beijing Choreographic Institute, China
Serge Peyrat - art historian, deputy director of the “Theatre de la Ville”, France
Alla Sigalova - choreographer, artistic director of “Independent troupe” theatre, Russia
Mark Heim - choreographer, teacher and ballet master, USA
Evgeny Panfilov - choreographer, artistic director of the State “Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet”
theatre, Russia
Sigrid Gareis - art historian, critic, Germany
Askold Makarov - professor, artistic director and chief choreographer of the State ballet theatre “Choreographic miniature”, Russia
Lorren Barret - art historian, artistic director of the Contemporary dance festival “Choreo-graphique”, France

The participants of the IFMC research seminars:

Guri Baryshev – professor of the University of Culture, Belarus.
Julia Tshurko – doctor of art history, professor, head of the sub-faculty of choreography of the Belarusian Academy of Music, Belarus
Valeria Uralskaya – professor, vice-president of the association of choreographers of Russia, editor-in-chief of the “Ballet” magazine, Russia
Larisa Barykina – musical and ballet critic, chief of musical and literary department of Yekaterinburg opera and ballet theatre, Russia
Audronis Imbrasas – author of survey on dance for the “Lietuvos rytas” weekly, head of the Lithuanian centre of the information on dance, Lithuania
Natalya Dmitrieva – art historian, head of department of the Theatrical Union of Russia
Mitsuko Miyazaky – art historian, ballet critic, Japan
Vladimir Kotykhov – art historian, ballet critic, Russia
Philippe Verrielle - Editor-in-chief of the “Le Saisons de la Dance” magazine, France
Olga Gerdt - ballet critic, Russia
Emil Dimitrov – the Chairman of the Foundation of the International ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria

The master-class teachers:

Frederic Lescure, Pascaline Verrier (France)
Barbara Hailey, Mark Heim (USA)
Christine Brunel (Germany)
Valery Panov, Natalya Shupaeva (Israel)
Nickolay Ogryzkov, Evgeny Panfilov, Tatiana Baganova, Natalya Fiksel, Olga Pona (Russia)
Rene Nymmik (Estonia)
Teng Aimin (China)

The participants of the IFMC International Competition /1992 – 1999/
“Lanthanides” theatre, Minsk
“Gostitsa” folk-theatre, Minsk
“TAD” contemporary dance group, Grodno
“Quadro” contemporary dance group, Gomel
“Gallery” modern ballet, Grodno
Troupe of the sub-faculty of choreography of the Belarusian University of Culture,
Troupe of the Belarusian State Choreographic College, Minsk
“Natalya Furman’s little ballet”, Minsk
Radu Poclitaru project, Minsk
“Still life factory”, Moscow
“Dance-College” contemporary dance group, Toliatti
“Free ballet” company, Moscow
Ballet troupe of theatre of a musical comedy, St. Petersburg
“Graphic ballet” company, Moscow
Natalya Fiksel’s dance theater, Novosibirsk
“Jazz-Andre” company, Moscow
“Russian seasons”, ballet, Moscow
“Art ballet” company, Moscow
“The road from the town” dance theatre, Kazan
“Avers” ballet, Novokuznetsk
Alexander Kukin’s dance theatre, St. Petersburg
Antonina Krasnova’s dance studio, Moscow
“Paradox” jazz-ballet, Moscow
“Choreographic miniatures” State Academic theatre of ballet, St.-Petersburg
Elena Bogdanovich project, Moscow
Contemporary dance group of Tcheliabinsk Institute of culture and arts
“Provincial dances” theatre, Yekaterinburg
“Small theatre”, St.-Petersburg
Tcheliabinsk contemporary dance theatre
“Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theatre, Perm
Maya Popova’s dance theatre, St. Petersburg
“Kinetic” dance theatre, Moscow
“Cannon dance” jazz-modern dance school, St. Petersburg
“Nota bene” troupe, Moscow
“Contrasts” dance theatre, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski
“Moscow” russian chamber ballet
“Graffiti” dance theatre, Yaroslavl
Taisia Korobeinikova’s mono theatre, Tcheliabinsk
“Vampyter” dance theatre, Novosibirsk
“Mar'in spev” group, Severouralsk
“Free movement territory” dance theatre, Moscow
“Kypling” independent dancing team, Yekaterinburg
Elena Konnova’s independent troupe, Moscow
“Elta” dance theatre, Yelets
“Visavi” dance theatre, Saransk
Maria Bolshakova’s contemporary dance studio, St. Petersburg
Natalya Agulnik’s contemporary dance theatre, Kaliningrad National University
Olga Bavdilovich’s studio, Vladivostok
Contemporary dance theatre, Volgograd

“Color-ballet”, Herson
“Empire of dance” free ballet school, Dnepropetrovsk
Alla Rubina’s dance theatre, Kiev
“Other dancing” contemporary dance school, Dnepropetrovsk

Lublin dance theatre

“Reggy” dance theatre, Dushanbe

“Nord Star” dance theatre, Tallinn
“Fine five dance theatre”, Tallinn

Troupe of the choreographic school, Baku

Olga Zitluhina’s modern dance company, Riga

Erika Tsimbrovskaya’s dance theatre, Eilat
Yaron Margolin’s ballet theatre, Jerusalem

“The three from Vilnius” company
“Aura” dance theatre, Kaunas
Rasa Maguilayte’s project, Vilnius
«Fluidus» ballet, Kaunas
“Beijing modern dance Company”, Beijing
“Guangdong modern dance Company”, Guangdong

“Arbore” chamber ballet, Kishinev

“Chizu Shoda modern dance fragment”, Tokyo

Danilo Mazzotta, Amsterdam


The IFMC International Competition Awardees:

“Talks for the three” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Nickolay Ogryzkov
“Free ballet” company, Moscow, Russia

“Totem” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Elena Bogdanovich
Russian chamber ballet, Moscow, Russia

“From Thursday to Friday” one-act ballet
Choreography: Alexander Pepelyaev
“Kinetic” dance theatre, Moscow, Russia

“The list of illusions” one-act ballet
Choreography: Alexander Pepelyaev
“Kinetic” dance theatre, Moscow, Russia

“Eight Russian songs” one-act ballet
Choreography: Evgeny Panfilov
“Evgeny Panfilov’s ballet” theatre, Perm, Russia

“Hasn’t happened” one-act ballet
Choreography: Tatiana Baganova
“Provincial dances” theatre, Yekaterinburg, Russia

“Night apparitions” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Hou In
Guangdong modern dance company, China
“Illusion of estrangement” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Shi Xuan & Zhou Nian Nian
Guangdong modern dance company, China

“Prayer in twilight” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Shi Xuan & Zhou Nian Nian
Guangdong modern dance company, China

“The exiled from paradise” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Olga Pona
Tcheliabinsk Contemporary dance theatre, Russia

“Twilight” one-act ballet
Choreography: Tamar McLorg
“Aura” dance theatre, Lithuania

“The two”
Choreography: Valery Arkhipov
The duet of the ballet troupe of the “Satiricon” theatre, Moscow, Russia

“A man in state of waiting” one-act ballet
Choreography: Tatiana Baganova
“Provincial dances” theatre, Yekaterinburg, Russia

“Who am I?” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Gao Chen Min
Liu Zhen, China

“What is see-kale?” one-act ballet
Choreography: Alexander Pepelyaev
“Kinetic” dance theatre, Moscow, Russia

“Do I have you or I don’t?” one-act ballet
Choreography: Olga Pona
Tcheliabinsk Contemporary dance theatre, Russia

“Worlds” choreographic miniature
Choreography: Gao Yan Jinzi & Teng Aimin
“Beijing modern dance company”, China


IFMC. Press Release.

Vitebsk has always had a special atmosphere of creativity that makes it open to challenge and experiment it arts. That is namely what our needs most of all.

Valeria Uralskaya - professor, editor-in-chief of the “Ballet” magazine, Russia

I believe that all I could see here in Vitebsk is a true and creative reflection of inner features of your people’s mentality, culture traditions and today’s life.

Benjamin Feliksdal - choreographer, teacher, one of the founders of modern european Jazz-dance technique, Netherlands

I was pleasantly surprised with a very high level of choreography and absolutely professional, really perfect organization of Vitebsk festival.

Xiao Suhua - professor of Beijing Choreographic Institute, China.

Neither I nor anyone of my collegues in the West has had any idea about such powerful process of development of contemporary dance in your country. I’ll do my best to attract attention of the world to this stunning phenomenon.

Kenji Usui - art historian, critic, professor and director of the Russian ballet Academy in Tokyo, Japan

Every year I willingly accept the IFMC invitation because I believe that Vitebsk festival has a sort of creative credo, which is very close to that of my own. I just feel the energy of creative work and enjoy it here very much.

Nickolay Ogryzkov - Art director and manager of the “Free Ballet” studio, Russia.


I’m invited to Vitebsk as a guest-teacher and I want to tell you that I’m happy to realize that my plastic language is understandable to the young dancers in this country
Christin Brunel - choreographer, teacher, manager dance theater “Tanztheater Christin Brunel”, Germany

… Nowadays the IFMC is considered an outstanding cultural event not only in Belarus but in Russia, Europe and Asia as well. Its significance is based on the creative energy and professional competence of its creators. The main mission of the organizers is to create preconditions for development of new forms of dance so that ballet wouldn’t cease being art of high spirit and thought.
The competition that is held in Vitebsk is unique because a choreographic work is estimated here as a whole i.e. as a joint creativity of a choreographer and performers. As far as I know there is no competition of that kind throughout the world.

Valentine Yelizariev - Professor, Academician, artistic director and chief choreographer of the National Academic Bolshoy Theatre Ballet of Belarus, the Jury chairman


This small Belarusian town with great and brilliant history has seriously claimed its rights to be among world centres where modern tendencies in choreographic art are formed and seen.

Larisa Barykina - ballet critic, art historian, Russia


I’m firmly convinced that Vitebsk festival is worthy of highest appreciation due to both creative and organizational levels. The choreographers from the former USSR modern choreography as a whole should be grateful to its founders

Dr. Julia Tchourko - Art historian, professor, Belarus


I felt light and happy working on this stage because an audience turned out to be very profound, friendly and especially tactful when they could hardly understand me.

Pascalin Verrier – dancer, choreographer, teacher, France

I feel here absolutely at home among close friends. Perhaps wherever the artist lives he is uneasy, sad or happy with the some kind of things.

Alen Bernard - choreographer, the president of the Swiss Association of ballet artists, Switzerland


IFMC is rather prestigious festival, which is among few cultural events in our country, dealing with serious art being affectionate to my town and its history I’m really pleasant that. Vitebsk hosts such a significant International competition. I feel proud that Belwest is able to support the IFMC.

Larisa Kuznetsova – ex-director of the Belarusian-Germany joint Company Belwest, the general sponsor of the IFMC.