Līga Ūbele
Mar 16, 2024

Līga Ūbele

As a person and an artist, I am interested in many different things at the same time.  I want to dance, I want to choreograph, I want to work with materials, I want to sleep, I want to cook, I want to work with sound, I want to teach, I want to perform, I want to party, I want to explore.
All of this sometimes gets me very confused and tired, but at the same time, it’s never boring. It’s not important to express myself in any particular form or field, I always try to listen and feel what’s the best way of expression for a particular idea.

In addition, there are two diplomas on my shelf. One is Bachelor’s in Contemporary Dance Art from Latvian Academy of Culture (2018), and the other one is Master’s in Scenography from Art Academy of Latvia (2021).

Practice: Contemporary dance, scenography

Areas of interest: Movement and body, merging different media, collective work, people, presence and simple things.

Why are you a part of Magic Carpets: Linda Krūmiņa and Sandra Lapkovska from the New Theatre Institute of Latvia asked me if I would be interested in working with communities. I immediately said “YES”, although I didn’t have previous experience with that. I just knew that this kind of art for me is the most meaningful, and I felt ready to explore this field and challenge myself in doing something new.

Magic Carpets project | Fulfilled emptiness

My first intention was to research how people in the suburbs of Riga spend their spare time, because I thought that this has a huge influence on people’s opinions, especially in the times like this. During the process, I met social anthropologist Inguna Potetinova who is researching emptiness in one of the suburbs of Rīga called Ķengarags. So, emptiness and a deficit of culture in Ķengarags became an important aspect of my research. With some help from Jevgēņijs Milovanovs from the local community, I found out about a wonderful place – a day centre “Ķengarags” that offers different activities for elderly people to spend their spare time in a meaningful way and provides an opportunity for socialising. For three months I worked with seniors there. I led contemporary dance classes, organised conversations, and two Christmas events there. I got to know these people closely, find out what worries them, what are their dreams and what they would want to improve in their suburb. I got inspired by the energy and joy these people are putting into everything they do. I am glad that with activities of my MagiC Carpets residency, we had a chance to help and activate the “Kengarags” day centre, because I believe that such places are crucial for the elderly to get away from loneliness and to keep their minds and bodies moving, in order to keep their old days in the best quality possible.

In the final event of my residency, I wanted to give these seniors an opportunity to perform and show their talents outside the walls of the day centre. Although there is not much culture in Ķengarags, they are the ones creating it there, in other words – they are the ones who are filling the emptiness. It was important to give them confidence that their activities are meaningful. The event took place in youth centre “Kaņieris” which is also located in Kengarags and we invited youngsters to participate in the event as well. The aim was to open the door for dialogue between two generations and possibly these two organisations, both located in Kengarags.

During my residency, in collaboration with Laura Gorodko, I also created video works capturing the emptiness in the winter landscapes of Ķengarags, which were also presented in the event.

I believe that my residency has brought a lot of joy to seniors from the day centre, as well as it has planted a seed for further collaborations and cultural activities in Kengarags.

Past project

Untitled Movement Lecture (Riga, 2022)

Type: Movement, dance

This performance is inspired by the choreographer’s personal observation about the lack of silence, emptiness and nothingness in her life and world around her. The structure of this piece is based on John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing” and, therefore, the creative team has chosen to call it a movement lecture.

In this movement lecture, we invite people to look for the answers to their unsolved questions, or on the contrary – come up with new questions, which at the end of the lecture they can ask themselves, instead of the lecturer.

This piece emphasises the simplicity of the form and content by using simple means of expression, which give the audience the time and space needed to break out of the everyday noise. Movement-wise, the performance is based on two basic bodily states – standing and walking. Light has a crucial role in the piece, it represents the silence or nothing itself, and it becomes the eighth performer on the stage.

We invite the audience to allow themselves to do something so simple as to experience the moment, and not to expect anything else than that. To not look for something that’s not there.

Video in here.

What inspires you as an artist? Movement.
I get inspired by doing and by action. I rarely can get inspired by sitting and thinking of an idea. I get inspired when I walk or dance, it moves my body and imagination, my senses become more open to the world inside and outside of me.  I get inspired by inerACTION with others. In any creative process the beginning for me is hard, but when things get going the inspiration is there. JUST DO IT!

What do you think is the purpose of art? Movement, again. I see the purpose in art when it moves something in people’s heads, hearts and bodies, when it moves opinions and ideas that have been stuck in the past, when it moves political decisions, when it moves communities and so on…


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