How we understand our mission has changed over time. At the time of our founding in September 1990, we felt our mission to be the fact that we were creating a professional modern dance company in St. Petersburg and (beyond that) in Russia. Somewhat later, as we got to work preparing our first concert program, we began to get a more profound sense of our purpose - to present to a society born with the belief that there could be nothing better than classical ballet, a different dance culture, one based on different intellectual and technical principles. We would present this with the hope that a thoughtful, intelligent observer (representing the best our society has to offer) would accept this culture and even grow to love it. At that time we wanted (and, for that matter, still want) modern dance to make richer the spiritual lives of people of various ages and professions.


For us, society is not just the audience that attends our performances, not just the critics who write about our company (sometimes completely failing to understand what it is they are writing about), and not just those cultural big shots who have never bothered to help us the least little bit. For us, society is also those who come to take classes with our Company, the students whom we teach at arts schools and universities, and also we ourselves. Over time it has become clear that our mission begins right here with us.


And so, we started giving public performances, each year creating and presenting new concert programs. Not very often, though, since theater rental prices were quite high for us. Then we began traveling outside our fair city, for example on a tour to Izhevsk, where for three days we had sold-out houses at the local opera theatre during the peak of the summer dacha season. That was our first and last tour. Then came the festivals, with trips to Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the U.S. We met new dancers and dance companies, and began to find out what was happening with modern dance in the world at large and right here in Russia.

We saw that some people were interested in creativity and freedom, while others were more interested in money and popularity. We began to sense the difference between European dance theatre and American modern dance, the latter being not very theatrical, geared more toward exploring and developing a dance language. Finally we began to receive invitations to take part in various competitions. And then we said, "Wait a minute!" We paused to re-read Yvonne Rainer's Manifesto. And now our mission is to do justice to the spirit of that document.

Translated by Louis Saletan (Houston, USA).