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By Vicky Ireland

I was recently asked to visit Vilnius in Lithuania by Birute Baneviciute, and be the guest of Dansema Dance company to celebrate their 15th birthday, and to represent IIAN at the gathering. I met members of ASSITEJ Lithuania and many artists.

I had was a wonderful time. Thank you all. 50 words.

I was recently invited to visit Lithuania by Birute Baneviciute, to be the guest of Dansema Dance company in Vilnius to celebrate their 15th birthday, and to represent IIAN at the gathering.

On the first of the three days, we shared conversations with a performing arts community of Disabled actors, about how much they enjoyed performing, and how important it was to them. I then gave a power-point presentation about the work of IIIAN, followed by discussions, and a visit to a kindergarten to observe an inclusive object theatre workshop, run by Saule Degutyte.

In the evening we celebrated Dansema Dance with birthday cake and bubbles!

The next day was the premiere showing of Dansema Dance’s new film about their work and practice, followed by a roundtable discussion on Dance for Young Audiences.

Then on the last day, there was a wonderful Dansema `”labyrinth performance”, where a family audience wandered through a large hall, divided into five sections, and found a performer at each stage who engaged with them, using props and costumes from previous shows. The five dancers were so charming and skilled, a joyful time was had by all.

The day finished with a roundtable meeting of guests and friends, and an excellent discussion on urgent issues around the performing arts for young audiences in this challenging and changing world. It was so good to have a robust and thought-provoking conversation with other guests, including:

Bebe de Soares, Brazil/Germany, Vice-President of ASSITEJ; Chris Schenlaer from Sweden, Iryna Zapolska from Ukraine; Violeta Poldolskaite, President of ASSITEJ Lithuania; Beata Sartcell from The United Arab Emirates and Raimondas Klezys from ASSITEJ Lithuania.

We celebrated that evening with a wonderful Dansema dinner at a restaurant in the old city.

On behalf of IIAN, thank you Birute, Dansema Dance and ASSITEJ Lithuania for your generosity and kindness to me.

I came home with wonderful memories, new discoveries and new friends.

Vicky Ireland

IIAN Co. Secretary

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