Lithuania in the News
4th December 2010
Strengthening the Links between Lithuanian and Australian Ballets
Martynas Rimeikis and Eglė Špokaitė in “Coppelia” 2010.
Photo Martynas Aleksa/ LNOBT
This year Lithuanian Ballet celebrated its 85th anniversary, with a performance of the Leo Delibes’ new version of “Coppelia”, choreographed by Kirill Simonov of Russia, on December 4th at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT) in Vilnius. The choice of “Coppelia” for this occasion is very fitting, as it was with this ballet that the newly formed resident professional Lithuanian Ballet Company first performed in public in Kaunas on December 4, 1925 at the ‘State Theatre’, now the National Musical Theatre, the forerunner of LNOBT in Vilnius today. The 85th anniversary was also the occasion for an international scientific conference on Lithuanian Ballet, which was held on December 3. It attracted delegates form France, Russia, Latvia, as well as from Lithuania
The stars of “Coppelia”, Lithuania’s prima ballerina Eglė Špokaitė with principal dancer Martynas Rimeikis, are flying to Australia immediately after their performance in Vilnius, to further the collaboration between Lithuanian Ballet and Australian Ballet and to dance in the “Ballet Gala” concert during the 26th Australian Lithuanian Cultural Festival in Melbourne 2010. They will perform there a matinee “Ballet Gala” concert on December 30, 2010, at the Melbourne Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne. The whole project has been hosted by the Friends of Lithuanian Ballet (FLB) society in Australia, with support from the Australian Lithuanian Foundation Inc, Lithuanian Co-operative “Talka”, the Australian Lithuanian Cultural Festival Committee, and many Australian community organisations and supporters.
Eglė and Martynas arrive in Sydney on December 7, and soon after will meet up with the artistic director of the Australian Ballet and members of the company at Sydney Opera House.
Eglė Špokaitė in “Coppelia” 2010.
Photo Martynas Aleksa/ LNOBT
They will attend company classes, watch their performance and will further strengthen the artistic links between Australia and Lithuania, which were forged two years ago by Lithuanian ballet dancers Kristina Gudžiūnaitė, Voicech Žuromskas and Petras Skirmantas (Please see on this website News Archive/ Lithuanians in News/ 14/12/2008 – Artistic Exchange Cements Links between Lithuanian and Australian Ballet Worlds). Kristina Gudžiūnaitė and Voicech Žuromskas, who delighted us in 2008, were only graduate year students then, and have now established themselves as soloists with Lithuanian Ballet They also performed in the “Coppelia” performance for 85th anniversary, in which Eglė and Martynas starred.
The “Ballet Gala” concert in Melbourne will additionally feature the folk and popular music group “Pamarys” from Klaipėda, Lithuania, and contemporary Australian dancers Kathryn Hailey and John Pickup, who two years ago also danced in FLB’s “Ballet Live” afternoon in Sydney. After the Sydney “Ballet Live” performance, John Pickup decided to audition and was invited to join the Lithuanian Ballet Company in Vilnius for their 2009 -10 ballet season. He danced in Vilnius as a full member of the company, the first Australian to do so (Please see on this website News Archive/ Lithuania in News/ 21/02/10 - Australian Dancer John Pickup Joins Lithuanian Ballet). John thus also contributes to the furthering of artistic exchanges between Australia and Lithuania, which are bound to expand in the future and embrace other artistic fields besides the ballet.

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