Corina Oprea is the coordinator of Fast Forward. She works as assistant artistic director and coordinator of the international collaborative art projects at Intercult.

So, how did it go in Belgrade in November?
It was really fantastic. The participants brought their own personalities and artistic perspectives and managed with great flexibility to match this result oriented laboratory and at the same time to create the right context for themselves to meet each other and to build deeper artistic relations.

Why did you choose to arrange a dance video laboratory with ten choreographers and video makers from five Balkan countries?
The main goal was to create a creative community, to let the participating artists explore the value of self-organization. By gathering they can further develop their skills of movement, video and artistic collaboration.

Who were the young dancers and video makers?
Their backgrounds were very diverse: experienced contemporary dancers, already active on the international arena, latino dance, ballet and studies in architecture and philosophy. The video makers came from the film industry, TV, advertising, experimental films and digital animation.

This diverse mix was intended, both to broaden the cultural sector in the region and also to encourage the young artists to bring their backgrounds into their artistic expression instead of trying to fit into certain pre-defined frames of fine art.

Five West Balkan identities were brought together through the participants of the project, in what ways did this become evident during the workshop?
I don’t know if it would have been different working with Scandinavian artists, but we were impressed by the participants enthusiasm to meet each other. They decided to share the same working space in order to get involved in each other’s process, to enhance the meeting and exchange of ideas, simply to have a common social space as well. There was a sense of a need to build a community. The working language became a shared one, which is a more general Slavic language like Scandinavian.

The workshop took place in Belgrade and the participants from Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia all had a special personal relationship to the city.

What role did the Swedish artists Anna Koch and Katarina Nitsch play?
By bringing both their own artistic personalities and strong individual inputs in artistic creation and collective formation, they have immensely contributed to artistic empowerment, outlining individual expression and value of collaboration. We have tried to encourage the participating artists to create contexts for themselves as artists and their peers, to provoke them to be more autonomous and be active in developping regional artistic platforms.

What was the reception like at the screening of the dance videos?
It was very successful with over 200 people coming and sharing positive responses on the quality of the films. But I do think that the real success of this laboratory was the discussions and processes of the artists.

How will this project continue?
Anna Koch has invited two of the participants to perform in her new piece which will be premiered in April at the main venue for dance in Stockholm, Dansenshus. On this occasion we plan to present the dance videos for the Stockholm audience. We will stay in contact with all the participants to see what future exchanges are made and throughout 2010 we intend to present the 6 dance films created at several Dance Festivals in the Balkan region.

A second laboratory is also planned challenging artistic encounters this time between Swedish and Balkan artists with the view set on urban realities.