Slovenia Revealed
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She became a dance teacher and one of the cofounders of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, an avant-garde group promoting contemporary dance throughout the British Isles. Her innovative lectures were extremely popular, while her serious, thinking approach won her the reputation of a "dance intellectual." She became a master of both modernist and postmodernist dance and helped to popularize both in the UK. Foto: Gibanica

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The Artist Who Shaped Modern Ballet

Slovenia Revealed
14. September 2017 ob 08:40
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

Slovenia has a long tradition of dance, but it has not always been hospitable to avant-garde forms of the art. Ljubljana-born Ksenija Hribar, who was determined to challenge established norms, ended up shaping modern dance in the United Kingdom and then returned to her native country, where she shared her experiences with young, innovative dancers.

Born into a prominent Slovenian family in 1938, Hribar attended ballet school in her native Ljubljana. At the time, the school specialized in traditional ballet and eschewed more avant-garde approaches. Hribar resented what she saw as the provincialism and closed-mindedness of Slovenian ballet and decided to continue her studies abroad. In 1961, she headed to London, where she ended attending the Rambert Ballet School and the London Contemporary Dance School. Intrigued by the possibilities of modern dance, she quickly developed a strong artistic vision of her own.

She became a dance teacher and one of the cofounders of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, an avant-garde group promoting contemporary dance throughout the British Isles. Her innovative lectures were extremely popular, while her serious, thinking approach won her the reputation of a "dance intellectual." She became a master of both modernist and postmodernist dance and helped to popularize both in the UK.

Never content to rest on her laurels, Hribar graduated from Manchester’s Victoria University in 1977 with an advanced degree in dance. She then returned to Slovenia and formed a Ljubljana-based dance company that incorporated some of the most innovate approaches to dance. For many years, she also served as a lecturer at the Academy of Theater, Radio and Film, and Television in Ljubljana, where she introduced new generations of students to avant-garde dance. Her innovative, challenging approaches won her the admiration of her students. Over the course of two decades, she helped to usher in what is now known as the "golden age of dance" in Slovenia.

Hribar died in 1999, at the age of 61, but modern dance lives on in Slovenia. These days, it is frequently recognized at festivals around the world – thanks in part to a passionate woman who was always determined to do things differently.

Jaka Bartolj