A documentary play about lives of art dancers in Serbia today
The Forum for New Dance of the Ballet of the Serbian National Theatre / The Student Cultural Centre Novi Sad, Serbia

Director and Dramaturge: Milena Bogavac
Choreographer and Director Assistant: Olivera Kovačević Crnjanski
Co-authors and Performers: Jelena Alempijević, Sonja Batić, Frosina Dimovska, Milena Krkotić,
Andreja Kulešević, Jelena Marković, Sanja Pavić, Ista Stepanov, Sara Tošić
Composer: Marko Grubić
Costume Designer: Marina Sremac
Author of Video: Igor Marković
Director Assistant: Uroš Novović
Light Design: Tihomir Boroja
Sound Design: Dušan Jovanović
Video Technicians: Đorđe Vernački and Srđan Milovanović
Sound Assistant: Predrag Petruševski
Stage Manager: Sanja Milanov
Coproduction: The Serbian National Theatre and the Student Cultural Centre Novi Sad
Producers: Aleksandar Milosavljević – SNT and Zdravko Vulin – SCCNS
Executive Producer: Olivera Kovačević Crnjanski – SNT and Nemanja Vuković - SCCNS

Running time: 80 minutes

Ballerinas combine physical theatre and an original performative text with the aim of documenting, demystifying and explaining what art dancers actually do, and what challenges they face in their professional and personal lives. The play was developed through an experimental, art-research process that lasted for several months, and was based on methodological games designed to encourage a collective production of text. There are no illusions, fiction or acting: the dancers speak on their own behalf on the stage, offering their experiences and attitudes on art, politics, being apolitical, genre, society and stereotypes they cope with more or less successfully, continuing to live in their seemingly glamorous profession. They unmask it, revealing how much work, effort, love and dedication it takes to be an art dancer.    

“The idea behind the ‘Ballerinas’ is to educate the audience about the art of dance, but also to establish art dance as a metaphor for ‘the art of living’. We are all ballerinas, in a continuous struggle against the gravity of Earth, continuously trying to look nice and light, continuously ignoring the question: what do you get out of it, why are you trying so hard?... And, what would I get if I stopped?! This is a play about all of us who are trying to beat our own selves. This is a play for us who have found in what we do our purpose, sense and love needed to go on. Into new victories. Into new challenges. In a new work day. This is a play about work and about beauty... and beauty will save the world as Dostoevsky wrote, if we save it first. This is a play about saving beauty. About self-forgetfulness and happiness. About work, effort, ambition, will, body and spirit. This is also a play about society; theatre about theatre; about the sense and the fact that whoever sought it eventually finds it. This is a play about dance as the most serious discipline of human spirit and the ease as the most difficult thing in the world. This is a play about ballerinas, and we are all ballerinas, regardless of whether we have ever danced a ballet or not.”
Milena Bogavac      

Milena Minja Bogavac (Belgrade, 1982), an authoress, dramaturge and theatre artist, graduated in Dramaturgy from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. Her plays have been performed in a number of theatres in our country and abroad, presented at relevant festivals and entered into anthologies of contemporary drama. She has won several awards for her writing and theatre work. She writes and performs slam poetry, and her first two poetry collections were published by the Student Cultural Centre Novi Sad. She is a permanent associate of the Bitef Festival, the Bitef Theatre and the youth organisation Centre E8. She works within the troupe Drama Mental Studio.    

The Forum for New Dance is a contemporary dance ensemble working within the Ballet Department of the Serbian National Theatre. It was established in June 2002 with an intention to create a new space for exploring contemporary dance and theatre expression. Its members are the female and male dancers who are willing to, besides their standard repertoire, create performances widening their own and audiences’ horizons of unconventional dance poetics, which earned them recognition in our country and abroad. The cooperation between the Student Cultural Centre Novi Sad and the Forum for New Dance is a result of a natural association of two players on the cultural scene. The Forum for New Dance is a unique phenomenon in the world of theatre production, while SCCNS is an establishment actively participating in creating the cultural offer of Novi Sad.    

“Through experiences and lives of ballerinas, this play successfully sends the message that the pressures put on us by our professions, environment and society are something we are supposed to overcome by ourselves – that is where life energy and so much sought happiness lie.”
Ivanka Lukateli, Politika, 26.04.2015