East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) supports the
development of contemporary performing arts (dance and theatre)
in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Balkan Dance Project

Balkan Dance Project's picture
Balkan Dance Project



Information about institution: 

Balkan Dance Project is an international dance production bringing together young promising choreographers, dancers and other artists from Balkan region. Through their stories, the artists share their individualism as well as explore the many experiences of living in the Balkan region. Main producer of Balkan Dance Project is Festival Velenje from Slovenia. Balkan Dance Project as well develops and promotes modern and contemporary dance in Balkan REGION. With BDP we encourage Balkan dance scene to reunite and connect as a platform for exchanging ideas of choreographers, dancers, musicians, costume designers and visual artists. BDP connects countries with unique cultural identity and is communicated through the universal language of dance, music and theatre.

Short history: 

Balkan Dance project was created in 2013. So far BDP created 2 international dance productions combining artists from Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy.

He He helium was a first dance production. A dance yoyage across post-Yugoslavian cultural space. It is as well a first ballet about Yugoslavia with an original music score composed by macedonian composer Goran Bojcevski. Choreography was made by Igor Kirov from Macedonia as well. Dramaturgist was Mirjana Blazevic Lesic from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The choreo-drama He, he, helium finds its inspiration in the eponymous poem by a young poetess from Sarajevo, Adisa Bašić, and it tells the story of a group of passengers on the Orient Express, somewhere at the gateway to Europe... Travelling from east to west, the train stops for no obvious reason at the Slovene-Croatian border. The group of four young people coincidentally meets in a small second-class waiting room at the local train station. They come from various places of the post-Yugoslavian space, different from each other (and yet similar), each with their own story, permeated by the cultural and historical tradition of their places. They introduce themselves briefly, with superiority. Passion overcomes reason and the stream of events in the waiting room becomes unpredictable. Heated emotions range from euphoria to depression, from love and jealousy to wrath and aggression. After a spiritual and physical concord (leaving some ashamed and others hurt), tired from all that had happened, they try to rise into a normal state like a phoenix from the ashes. Locked in a tiny room, forced to live with the formed alter-ego, with inarticulate wishes, shadows of the past, lost hope of better times, they wonder how and where they might find the key to this prison’s doors. And we wonder, too... We ask ourselves, them, and you! Is there strength enough in this colourful helium balloon, our comical double, the silent rebel that resists discipline and division, to liberate ourselves and soar into the freedom of the sky?
We believe there is!

The second production was a Balkan Dance Project Vol 1, which  was a double bill programe by two choreograhers: Aleksandar Saša Ilić (SRB) and Igor Kirov (Mak). Aleksandar made a piece Reminisencija inspired by a famous novel of Thomas Mann-the death in Venice and Kirov created a performance about 4 woman and their stories.

The most important projects: 

Artistic director of Balkan Dance project and choreographer Igor Kirov from Macedonia completed his dance education at the Rotterdam Dance Academy in The Netherlands . After a 15-year long career in various European dance companies Igor decides in 2006 to focus solely on choreography, when he was awarded  as young promising choreographer at the 3th International Choreography Competition in Nagoya Japan . In 2007 he found his own project dance Company THE Kirov DANCE COMPANY  with whom did more then 10 short and long works who where awarded in choreography competitions in Beijing-China ,Las Palmas-Spain, Hannover-Germany and Belgrade-Serbia and performed in Festivals in Macedonia , Croatia, Germany , Korea,USA,Slovenia,Austria Serbia,Bosnia and Spain. In 2011 Macedonian Ministry of culture awarded him as MACEDONIAN CULTURAL AMBASSADOR. Igor so far created works for many companies around the world such as Macedonian National Ballet and Skopje Dance Theater in Macedonia ,Equlibro Dinamico in Italy, SiDance in Korea, MasDanza in Spain, DanceWorks Rotterdam in Holland, Ballet Nordhausen, Staatstheater Darmstadt, Stadttheater Hildesheim, Staatstheater Braunschweig, Delattre Dance Company Mainz, Landes Buhne Sascen Dresden, Staatstheater Oldenburg in Germany, Orlando Ballet in USA , Opera Graz, Stadttheater Klagenfurt in Austria, Opera National de Bordeaux in France and Croatian National Ballet in Split. He teaches as guest teacher in the Dance Academies in Munich ,Belgrade, Skopje and Tokyo. In 2013 he created Balkan Dance Project with his co worker and slovenian dancer Mojca Majcen. In 2015 Balkan Dance project started to form in Serbia under serbian choreographer Aleksandar Sasa Ilic. Aleksandar started his ballet career at the National Theatre in Belgrade in 1998, engaged as the first solo artist since 2005. As a choreographer, he made his debut in 1999 at the Festival of Choreographic Miniatures. During his career he has collaborated with number of domestic and foreign choreographers. He created full length ballets for National Theatre in Belgrade,  BITEF theate, Cultural Center Rex, KC Grad, Madlenianum Opera and Theatre...In 2012 at the Conservatory of Music and Dance Laban in London, Aleksandar presented his Master thesis My phobia - Pteronophobia inspired by the second act of Swan Lake and his own fear of feathers. He is one of the founders of the Association of professional ballet dancers, choreographers and ballet pedagogues of Serbia. Aleksandar is Editor in Chief of the publication for artistic dance - Stepart. Aleksandar holds Bachelor in Communications and MA in choreography. He has won many awards of the National Theatre, The City of Belgrade, two Dimitrije Parlić Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award Philip Višnjić. Aleksandar is the founder of The Institute for Contemporary Dance in Belgrade the first institution of higher education of this type.




Two international productions of Balkan Dance Project toured thru Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and to famous SIDANCE Festival in Seoul, Korea. Productions were performed in national theatres in Belgrade, Skopje, Ljubljana and Sarajevo and as well in small thetares outside of the cultural centres such as Bitola, Stip, Veles, Krsko, Mezica, etc.

International cooperations: 

Balkan Dance Project is an international platform, both productions has international producers. He He Helium was a coproduction between Slovenian House of Culture and Festival Velenje, Happy family Theatre from Sarajevo, BIH and Directorate of Arts and Culture from Macedonia. Balkan Dance Project Vol 1 was a coproduction between Festival Velenje Slovenia, Directorate of Arts and Culture Macedonia and Association of professional ballet dancers and choreographers from Serbia. Balkan dance project Vol. 2, a new dance production will be coproduced by Festival Velenje from Slovenia and Madlenianium Theatre from Serbia.


Balkan Dance Project reunites dance field of West Balkan dance cultural space as a platform for exchanging ideas of choreographers, dancers, musicians, costume designers, visual artists. BDP  connects countries with unique cultural identity which are communicated through the universal language of dance, music and theatre as well  connects artists who are coming from countries Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main reason of conducting Balkan Dance Project (BDP) is the fact that the dance as an artistic form is underprivileged among other artistic forms in Balkan countries. Dance is poorly institutionally developed and there are no institutions which support modern dance, contemporary dance, nor are there national dance companies of professional dancers. Due to this status of dance and professional art in general, talented young people are in underprivileged position and with no perspective. There is also a big lack of education opportunities in modern and contemporary dance, so one of the aims of the project is to educate young dancers. This should result in a possible professional network of dancers from Western Balkans. With the touring of production to smaller cities and town, we would like to emphasize the importance of presence of the cultural scene outside of the cultural centers and give local audiences a chance to see modern and contemporary dance. The project establishes a wide platform that can be a future base for a professional dance company in this region. With BDP we are encouraging regional collaboration and integration among artists who comes from different parts of the region but with the same cultural heritage.