Jivko Jeliazkov about the Rivers of Europe project: A good idea and talent are not sufficient for such a project

Jivko Jeliazkov- Art Director of Derida Dance     

The project “Rivers of Europe” is being completed by cultural organizations from 8 different European countries. It is financed by Culture Program 2007 – 2013 of the European Commission. The project includes the creation of a multi-genre performance in the field of contemporary dance, visual arts and music that explores the role of the European rivers in the cultural and historical development of the Old continent.

Derida Dance Center is the project partner responsible for the production of the contemporary dance part of the performance that will be presented on a ship and on dry land in 30 European cities, 11 countries in August and September 2014.   

This is an interview with Jivko Jeliazkov - Derida Dance Company choreograper and artistic director - about the project and Derida Dance work on it.

How do you find the work on such a big European project with many representatives from different countries? Do you feel connected to the other participants?
I feel connected to the other participants but at the same time I feel our differences in the process of work. We have different emotions and each one reacts their own way. Even if we speak one and the same language – the language of dance, we are very distinct in the cultural features everyone carries.When you work with people from different countries the challenge is always big as everybody has their own identity. The problem is that deadlines are close and at the same time the team may need more time to be built, time that we may not have.

Jivko Jeliazkov- Art DIrector of Derida Dance

Do you think such big projects are useful for the artists? What do they bring?
The European projects on such a level are very important because they present an opportunity for experience exchange which is extremely useful and challenging. For a short period of time you can get a very good idea where you stand professionally, you get to know new methods of work.

How do you perceive the concept of the performance and the idea of the project?
We had the freedom to create the concept of the performance on our own. The common topic is the rivers of Europe. From there we had the opportunity to focus on a specific aspect. We reached an understanding of a very simple principle of general validity – rivers are a valuable resource now and have been such in the past. Having that in mind, we think this resource defines lots of processes – cultural and political. Rivers are borders. Even in a globalized world with high-tech advantages, rivers keep nearby cultures separate. On the other hand, I’m challenged by the dualistic function of the rivers – they are borders but also mediators.

What are the specifics of the production in such a big project?
A good idea and talent are not sufficient for such a project. Building a solid team, organization and the different technical aspects of the production activity are extremely important. The project involves interaction between a variety of art fields – music, visual art, dance, design. When the different teams manage to work well together, to communicate effectively, then things run smoothly and gradually. The final result shows whether this has happened. Often such an effective process can’t take place in international teams as they are complex to organize and especially to bring the whole team together for a sufficient period of time.

What is your way of work to create the performance?
First of all, our work includes discussing the concept on different levels and when it is clear, we start working on the details. Part of the communication is through the internet. There are things that change and get additionally worked on but in general everybody is clear about the direction.

What is the biggest challenge for you during the work process?
The challenges for me are many and when they are new, they seem almost insurmountable. We have questions arising all the time and each the time the current problem seems like the worst one. For me one of the biggest challenges was the whole project execution since it includes activities in the cities, improvisations related to the city spaces, workshops, body installations and a performance. This is the general challenge – how to coordinate all this and make it happen.

Interview by Tzveting Vesselinova


More about the Rovers of Europe project you can learn at http://www.riversofeurope.org/

 The project is  supported by the "Culture 2007-2013" program of the European Comission.



 The project is co-financed by the “Culture” Program of Sofia Municipality for 2014 and is being realized in support of the candidature of Sofia and the Southwest Region for European Capital of Culture 2019.