by Ilze Zirina

Maria Roumkou from Greece, Marta Zawadzka from Poland and Ilze Zirina from Latvia were job shadowers at ARTAREA in Pernik, Bulgaria after first Partner Meeting there was over. It was fun and meaningful time to become a part of ARTAREA even if just for a short time.

Shadowing started with a ballet class facilitated by Yoana Yordanova Sojka. We, shadowers were invited to wittness the class by watching or dancing along. Being big fans of dancing, Maria and Marta took their position by the bar and dived into the ballet world together with young girls in age of 12 – 16. I (Ilze) was practicing to capture their jumps in the air by cell phone camera. After the class I was asking Yoana, what brought her back to the ballet after consciously moving away from it most of her professional artist life. She said “I wanted to come back at the same place, where I was taught and to be a teacher – teaching opposit values than I was thaught. Self expression, creativity, softness, playfulness.” And it explained me why the girls were graceful, powerful, curious and free, without being captured in the stiffness what we often notice in classical ballet studies.

We spent dinner together with Yoana and Adrzej having conversations about their artistic backgrounds and the circumstances to create an association like ARTAREA, about experience with Erasmus+ projects and partnerships within them.  We also planed our next days where we had an opportunity to share our experience with the young people at ARTAREA.

Next day we started with the wittnessing a circus class, facilitated by Andrzej Sojka. The class was for kids 8 – 12 years old. They practiced to balance the plates on the sticks, juggle with the balls and played different games for the reaction. I was surprised that Andrzej managed to get their calm focus for quite a long time at the end of the class – calm lieing down with eyes closed and focusing of breathing.  Later he explained that this calm presence consisted of many tasks like breathe so, that the ball on your stomack is moving up and down but does not fall off or count ten inhales exhales with eyes closed and then open eyes and lift your head etc. Watching these kids, I related myself to the activity there as I imagined that the kids from Rauna Youth center Basement, which I am working with, could meet with these kids and creatively playing together and learn from each other becoming more open to world.

To share our experience with the young people from ARTAREA, Marta, Maria and I decided to work as a team and combine our skills in one class which resulted with a choreographed material. Maria put on the table her skills in Salsa (even though she never facilitated a class), Marta – contemporary release class, based on floor work and I proposed choreographed transitions and music editing. It was so much fun to have some time for creative laboratory together, to find the balance among us and to find a place for all the ideas and also to share it later with the young local dancers. I believe we should continue this also in other job shading visits as the process allows us to get to know each other in practical action, it also brings up new ideas and it definetly is a support for the hosting organization as we leave them some material to play with and develop new things out of it.

The last day we met again to learn some tips about the administration. We found out about the management software Trello. Which possibly will be used also in frames of this project. The only question is about the people like me who are not very familiar with the technologies – if we find the Trello helpful and comfortable or confusing and time demanding. Let’s see.. We also discussed about the need to start planning next collaborative project already – may be even overlapping this one in order not to dissapear each from other when the Key to Connection is finished.

And we would like to start short artistic exchanges in frames of our transnational meetings and job shading visits. Most of us are artistic and creative people and releasing our creative potencial we bring new dynamic to the project and may be bring ideas about next project.

I am gratefull to  Yoana Yordanova – Sojka and Andrzej Sojka for special time together and let’s keep in touch!

Looking back after some while I must say – the actual, physical meetings have crucial role in collaborative projects like this. Even if the energy is high when we come home after the meeting, the connection is dropping down immedeately as everybody is busy with our own stuff. And that is today’s life. So, I wish all of us to keep this need for the Key to Connection live even in low volume.

What is job shading visit?

Part of the the participants from the target group ( 3 participants from each partnership country ) participates at transnational work shading visits to learn by witnessing another partner’s work in its environment with local community.

Work shading allows participants to observe and experience worked out methods from outside, answers can come for one who could not find them while being too much involved into research and creative process. The visitors also have a chance to share some of her/his tools with local young people to test how they are perceived in transnational scale. After visitors can implement some tools, they learned, at their communities to see if they work also in transnational level. Not necessarily one method at one community works in another.

The visitor makes a documentation on his/her experience and shares it in project blog and with the partner – host.

Work shading visits reinforce the network, build the dialogue and start new initiatives in intercultural level.

the Key to Connection is implemeneted in the framework of Erasmus+: Youth in Action  programme – key action 2, Strategic Partnership for exchange experiences.