Featuring insights from recent performance at the Adriatic Dance Festival

Interview with Nastja Bremec Rynia - newspaper Vijesti Montenegro by Vuk Lajović 02.07.2024


"Dance is a universal language that transcends borders and connects people."

Choreographer from Slovenia, Nastja Bremec Rynia, spoke to Vijesti about the contemporary ballet "Flights" created with her life and professional partner, choreographer Michal Rynia, for the Adriatic Dance Festival. The couple also founded the renowned troupe "MN Dance Company."

Nastja started her career in ballet and modern dance at the age of six, winning numerous awards in competitions in both ballet and modern dance. After completing high school, Italian choreographers Mauro Astolfi and Erika Silgoner selected her for a scholarship with their dance ensembles (Spellbound Dance Company and Esklan). She graduated from CODARTS - Rotterdam Dance Academy, just like Michal, and together they continued to create their distinctive dance style and narration through movement. Their training methods are based on new ways of movement and body expression. Influenced by their backgrounds, they create a clean, powerful, and expressive dance style.

"We feel the need to create and tell an abstract story through movement. Inspired by everyday life situations and our intuition, we speak about the beauty and chaos of the world we live in and the world we imagine," states their official website.

MN Dance Company

The Polish and Slovenian duo are the founders of the largest Slovenian private ballet troupe, which is also the most important artistic association within the European Capital of Culture project (ECOC) Nova Gorica 2025.

The "MN Dance Company" is a dynamic ensemble of 13 dancers from Nova Gorica, dedicated to creating impactful contemporary dance performances with a powerful narration and the most modern dance vocabulary. Their choreographic repertoire delves into the depths of the human body and psyche, characterized by bold, expressive dance vocabulary emphasized by dynamic partnership and theatrical flair. Through their collaborative efforts, they have established a unique dance language that resonates with audiences on various platforms. Every year, they organize auditions that attract more than a thousand dancers from around the world, ensuring that their ensemble thrives.

Regarding their engagement in Budva, the ballet "Flights," the migration theme, and contemporary dance, Nastja Bremec Rynia speaks to Vijesti.

Budva festival and Maša Kolar, JFI selector, invited you to create a project inspired by their concept - migration, set by Dr. Predrag Zenović, the festival's founder. How relevant, modern, and inspiring was this theme for you as an artist?

The theme of this year's festival is incredibly relevant and inspiring. The concept author hit the nail on the head! We drew inspiration, again at the suggestion from Budva, from Olga Tokarczuks book "Flights" for our performance, exploring the world of constant travel and movement. This theme corresponds with our approach to dance, always seeking new movements and creative movement. Personally, I see the world without borders and am grateful for the universal language of contemporary dance that allows us to communicate with people from different backgrounds. Cultural exchange within our company, which consists of dancers from all over the world, enriches our understanding of different cultures.

The ballet "Flights" looked extraordinary on the stage of the Old Town. How difficult was it to create a project for two scenes, for an ambient and for a closed theater stage? Was that a challenge for you, and how much did the Old Town of Budva inspire you?

We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our work at the Adriatic Dance Festival, especially in such an inspiring location as the Old Town of Budva, with its beautiful landscapes and sea views under the starry sky. Since we have participated in the festival before, we understood the potential scenery and set design elements available to us. Our primary goal was to create a show adapted to this environment and to adapt it to theatrical settings in the future.

Do you believe that these outdoor summer festivals are significant for the development of modern ballet? How important is it for you to present your projects abroad?

I firmly believe that outdoor summer festivals are key to bringing dance closer to the audience. They offer a unique opportunity for people to experience contemporary dance and engage in cultural experiences. In Budva, where there is a diverse audience, dance serves as a universal language that transcends borders and connects people, including tourists, with a rich artistic experience. Presenting our work abroad is essential for us because it allows us to share our art with audiences around the world and receive their appreciation.

You work a lot abroad. Can you tell us what it takes for the former Yugoslavia to reach the level of the most developed European countries in modern dance? Is that ever possible, and what needs to change?

I have always believed that success in dance is possible, regardless of where you come from. While it may be more challenging to stand out in dance from a smaller city like Budva or Nova Gorica compared to a place like Paris, opportunities are still within reach, especially with the digital platforms available today. Starting from scratch in Nova Gorica, we have managed to create a space for contemporary dance, attracting interest and talented dancers to work with us. I hope that contemporary dance will receive more financial support and that in the future, more dance companies will emerge in all countries, providing a platform for continuous creative work for dancers, choreographers, and artists.


Interview with Michal Rynia - newspapre Vijesti, Montenegro by Vuk Lajović, 27.6.2024


"Always in love with movement"

One of the founders of the renowned MN Dance Company, a prominent choreographer, former hip-hop dancer Michal Rynia, speaks to Vijesti about his engagement in Budva at the Adriatic Dance Festival and the recent premiere of the play "Flights" that he created with his professional and life partner Nastja Bremec Rynia.

The passion for storytelling, through myths, abstract concepts, or literary narratives, has connected two excellent dance artists who have advanced their creative, artistic, and professional collaboration into their personal lives. This shared love and vision inspires them to create original and interesting choreography for each performance even after 15 years. They are Michal Rynia from Poland and Nastja Bremec Rynia from Slovenia.

They are also the founders of the largest Slovenian private ballet troupe, which is also the most important artistic association within the European Capital of Culture project (EPK) Nova Gorica 2025.

The Pole and the Slovenian have made a name for themselves on stages across Europe before forming their own theater - MN Dance Company more than 15 years ago. This ballet company, in addition to opening the prestigious Slovenian event next year, is a partner of the Tourist Organization (TO) Budva at this year's Adriatic Dance Festival where they were professionally engaged. In honor of the Polish Nobel laureate, Olga Tokarczuk, who visited the "Cyrillic" festival last year, TO Budva chose the piece "Flights" created by this artistic duo. The play "Flights" premiered as a ballet recently in Budva. Michal Rynia shares his impressions, more about the collaboration, and his own work with Vijesti.

Both graduated from CODARTS - the Rotterdam Dance Academy and continued to create their distinctive dance style and narration through body language. Their training methods are based on new ways of movement and body expression. Influenced by their origins, they create a clean, powerful, and expressive dance, as stated on their official website.

"We express ourselves through dance. We feel the need to create and tell an abstract story through movement. Inspired by everyday life situations and our intuition, we talk about the beauty and chaos of the world we live in and the world we imagine," it says on the site.

Michal Rynia was born in 1984 in Wroclaw, and he started his career as a hip-hop dancer. He has achieved numerous successes and awards in various competitions, both in Poland and the Netherlands, as well as on a global level.

MN Dance Company

This is your first coproduction project with Montenegro. Can you tell us about your experience after the premiere of the ballet "Flights" in Budva and something about the concept that Budva used, which is "Migration" authored by Dr. Predrag Zenović?

Our collaboration with Montenegro on a coproduction project was a fulfilling experience, but also a challenge for a premiere outside of our country. We were thrilled to perform on the Budva stage and appreciated the warm welcome and support from TO Budva as the festival organizer. The theme of migration deeply resonated within us and encouraged us to further explore this concept through choreography and storytelling. We were inspired by the relevance of the theme in today's world and the concept expertly chosen by Budva, along with the positive reception from the Budva audience. It was a special and enriching experience that we hope will lead to more collaboration with Budva and Montenegro in the future.

You have been collaborating with Nastja and living with her for more than 15 years. It is magnificent to find inspiration and energy to create so many new outstanding dance projects with one person, among others. This wonderful collaboration is crowned with love. What would you say; how is it possible to create magic with Nastja for more than 15 years?

Our shared passion for storytelling, especially through myths, abstract concepts, or literary narratives, drives us to create original and interesting choreography for each performance. The diversity of our inspirations makes our work fresh, challenging, and convincing. In the performances we bring to life, some stories are drawn from our daily experiences, while others are products of our vivid imagination. Through our dedication to the craft and our deep connection, we are able to continuously create dance projects that resonate with audiences worldwide.

You are very involved in the ECOC Nova Gorica 2025 project. Budva tried but unfortunately did not succeed. Can you share your experience and how important it is for a city to be an ECOC?

While it is disappointing that Budva did not succeed in its ECOC candidacy, the future presents new opportunities for growth and recognition. I would especially highlight the ongoing project - the Adriatic Dance Festival, which is the best form of ECOC and attracts an international audience more than similar festivals. The ECOC designation is essential for promoting culture and art in the city, fostering a better understanding of its significance among the local population and artists. However, achieving this status also comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities.

Being part of the official program of the European Capital of Culture GO! 2025 Nova Gorica - Gorica was a transformative experience that opened new dimensions for us and provided opportunities to work continuously with dancers in our company. There is also the development of concepts and ideas for the upcoming play "Borderless Body," which is one of the highlights of the program, allowing us to showcase our art and promote the region on an international level. This opportunity has encouraged us to give back to the community and raise the profile of cultural excellence in the region, both locally and globally.

You started your career in hip-hop and were one of the most successful hip-hop dancers in European history. You have won several world championships. Do you miss hip-hop today, and how much has that dance helped you in your career?

I have always been in love with movement as such. Hip-hop specifically allowed me to express my creativity and physical skills. However, that was not enough for me from the beginning, so I took classes, attended workshops, and dedicated thousands of hours in the studio to master other dances. Urban dances are a way to master your body and lay the foundation for a diverse approach to artistic play. As I grew up and matured, I progressed towards more complex themes, stories, thinking, and movements. I missed communication and sending messages, and I found that through non-verbal communication in modern dance, thus entering the limitless world that contemporary dance offers today.

In addition to the projects you have created for theaters and festivals, you have also excelled in your films and video works on the subject of movement, play, and dance. How is it that so few artists in the Balkans have such deep reflection and activities in that field, and how is it that no one like you has managed to create such interesting, strong, and successful films?

Dance is a magical art form that unfolds in the moment, like a flowing river that is constantly changing and never the same. Although I appreciate the live experience of a dance performance, I have always been intrigued by the idea of capturing these moments of magic on film. The camera allows us to freeze these fleeting moments, creating a different kind of visual storytelling that can be appreciated by audiences everywhere. This is why creating films and videos on dance and movement is so important to me.


Links - "Dance is a universal language that transcends borders and connects people."

"Always in love with movement"


Photos by Oksana Sur.