The Baltic Dance Theatre was founded on 1 March 2010, replacing the National Baltic Opera Ballet. Two years before, young, talented dancers started coming to Gdańsk from all over Poland to reinforce the team of a dynamically developing Opera ballet group. Next, the Theatre was separated from the institution of the Baltic Opera. One of BDT’s founders, Izadora Weiss, became the Theatre’s artistic director. In her work, the artist expresses a conviction that body movement originates from the spirit of music. Together, they create an inseparable whole. In the stories told by her performances, she makes an attempt to communicate positive emotions, defend a system of values where life, human dignity, being faithful to ideals we follow and people we choose, or love for truth and justice are constantly present, regardless of fashion and destructive trends promoted in contemporary culture or subculture.
BDT’s artistic ideal and paragon is Nederlands Dans Theater created by Jiří Kylián and his choreographies. He is Izadora Weiss’s master and teacher. Having watched the premieres of Waiting for... and The Rite of Spring to Stravinsky’s music, Kylián decided that he would present BDT with two choreographies of his – No More Play and Six Dances. The fact that he was present during the rehearsals and the premiere was a profound experience and invaluable lesson for the dancers. Thus, BDT joined a very exclusive group of dance theatres in the world which can boast Kylián’s choreographies in their repertoire while Izadora Weiss with her performance Windows, with music composed by Leszek Możdżer strictly for this play, joined the group of choreographers who have been honoured to present their works next to Kylián’s during the same evening. As a token of appreciation for the artistic quality of the group’s performances, Kylián expressed his will to continue the cooperation. In 2014, the Theatre featured his masterpieces Falling Angels and Sarabande presented with another Weiss’s performance Body Master.
BDT is increasingly more often invited to present its performances outside Gdańsk. Those in Poznań and Kraków received standing ovations from the audiences. The dancers have performed twice in the National Theatre in Warsaw presenting Weiss’s choreographies Romeo and Juliet, The Rite of Spring and Midsummer Night’s Dream to the music composed by Goran Bregovic. The Rite of Spring has also been staged abroad, in Germany (Bielefeld) and Bangkok (Thailand). Moreover, a prestigious British magazine “Dance Europe” named Midsummer Night’s Dream the world’s best dance performance of the season 2013/2014. Izadora Weiss received for it Jan Kiepura Theatre Music Award for the best choreographer and the City of Gdańsk Honorary Theatre Award (2013). Midsummer Night’s Dream was already the ninth full performance-ballet of Izadora Weiss in Gdańsk.
Eurovision Young Dancers in Gdańsk organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and TVP Kultura was also given the honour to feature Midsummer Night’s Dream during the event. After the premiere of her Cool Fire in February 2013, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski awarded the choreography with the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.
For BDT, the year 2014 was filled with the project Netherlands, fully presented in early November. It consists of two evenings and six choreographies: Patrick Delcroix’s Clash , Izadora Weiss’s Fun, Light and Body Master, and the mentioned choreographies by Jiří Kylián: Sarabande and Falling Angels. The project has been awarded the title of the best Gdańsk performance of the year whereas Weiss has been honoured once more with Jan Kiepura Theatre Music Award as the best Polish choreographer of 2014. Shakespeare’s The Tempest premiered in BDT in May 2015 while in November BDT staged Phaedra inspired by Racine’s work. Both choreographies were created by Izadora Weiss to Gustav Mahler’s music.
There are 20 BDT dancers, but new members keep joining the group and its composition is constantly being modified after a casting taking place twice a year. Each time, more than a hundred dancers from all over the world come to the casting to fight for two or three places, which are vacated during the season because not everybody can live up to the Theatre’ very high expectations. BDT has members of various nationalities, all of them exceptional individuals with a great stamina and technical skills.
BDT artistic director: Izadora Weiss
Vice-directors: Elżbieta Czajkowska-Kłos, Filip Michalak
Inspector and stage manager: Piotr Borowy
BDT dance school coordinator: Aleksandra Michalak