Algarve dance company struggles for funds.jpg

Algarve dance company struggles for funds

By: CECÍLIA PIRES

cecilia@the-resident.com

The Algarve dance company is performing in São Brás de Alportel next Saturday, April 26. As the rehearsals take place in a Faro sports pavilion, The Resident’s CECILIA PIRES went along for a sneak preview of Kontrast.

REGARDED BY many as one of the most promising cultural projects in the Algarve, Companhia de Dança do Algarve (CDA), Algarve’s ballet company, was formed in 2004 by its artistic director, Evgueni Beliaev, a professional Russian ballet dancer who has lived in Portugal since 1992.

However, despite the dedication of its dancers and artistic director, the company is struggling to grow. “We need a more professional management and a marketing strategy so that we can raise funds to build our own home and finance our international projects,” said Evgueni.

The company includes a ballet school, which started in 2002 and where most of its dancers have been trained. To enter the school, and consequently the dance company, applicants must always go through an audition.

Evgueni said they do not admit students who cannot commit to the demanding physical training required by classical ballet, adding that they may not have any knowledge of classical ballet but they must be “strong in memory, musicality, flexibility and discipline”.

The company was recently invited to open the seventh Portimão Contemporary Dance Festival, which runs until April 29. The event features national and international performers but the privilege of the opening was given to CDA once more.

For the CDA artistic director, “this is very important for the company as we have been involved since the first year”. Being the opening performer “has even more relevance as there were companies like the Portuguese national ballet company and the Madrid Ballet Company also performing,” he said.

The company always presents its own choreographies. “We started with around 10 choreographies, but now we have more than 250,” said Evgueni.

The company frequently works with other organisations in the region, like the Algarve Orchestra and Acta, a theatre group formed by local artists.

“We have an open mind towards projects with other influences,” said Evgueni, who says that the Guitars Orchestra of the Algarve is “an interesting future project, for example”.

Versatile

The company finds inspiration for its pieces from several classical composers, including Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. For modern dance projects, Evgueni always prefers composers like John Williams, Mike Oldfield, Sting, Queen, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Gruzin or the Portuguese Dulce Pontes. The performances can last from 40 minutes to two hours but they have performed for less time, when requested, for very specific projects. Proud of his young “but very professional dancers”, Evgueni Beliaev regrets the fact that the Algarve Dance Company is still dependent on the goodwill of many to rehearse and grow.

“We now need a professional management that may help us grow,” he said. “We receive some support from public entities and private companies, but we want to have our own facilities, a home for our company, and that has been very difficult.”

Most of the money currently received from sponsors goes towards the company’s operational expenses but, says Evgueni, “even that is not enough”.

“Several of our dancers just won their right to be present at the Dance World Cup 2008, which is to be held in Vancouver in May. Unfortunately, we will not be able to go for financial reasons, as their participation involves an expense of about 2,000 euros each and they cannot afford it individually.”

The company’s artistic director would like to see this changed in the near future, with more performances and more sponsorship “so that the Algarve can become a reference in the best competitions in the world. “We have the quality to do that!”

For more information about the Algarve Dance Company, visit http://www.id3ias.com/sites/cda/cms/en/?Contacts_-_24h . The website is in Portuguese and English.

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