It Seemed That You Imagined It. Tatiana Chizhikova and Polina Bakhtina

A dance performance that invites everyone in the audience to make a journey from the festival’s imaginary facade to inner liberation.

It Seemed That You Imagined It is the culmination of the project When Gondola Engines Were Taken to Bits — A Carnival in Four Acts, a dance procession in which the transformative power of the carnival is fully revealed. As the authors explore celebration in a public space as a cultural phenomenon, they will try to create the dramatic structure to reach collective joy. The performance will take place throughout the entire GES-2 space in continuous motion.

Image by Nikita Chuntomov

Choreographer Tatiana Chizhikova, set designer Polina Bakhtina and sound designer Sergei Kasich take as their starting point the general state of society during the pandemic, when every once routine activity, such as going to a museum or boarding a plane, required additional effort. Using work with heavy props and voluminous costumes as the basis for the choreography, they encourage the performers and musicians to immerse themselves in this fabricated conflict with their surroundings. Will the participants in the procession be able to experience shared joy when they must exert such effort, especially physical effort? Will they be able to relive the half-remembered feeling of a real celebration?

The performance will involve 50 dancers and 10 musicians who will meet and overcome various challenges along the way. Visitors to GES-2 can join the collective body of the procession. Since they find themselves in an unfamiliar situation, they might try on a new identity and remember the rare sense of all-inclusive celebration and a feeling of connection to others. It Seemed That You Imagined It is a “rehearsal” of a carnival, an attempt to imagine what it could be like today.

Image by Margarita Denisova
A festival is not only a space of personal ecstasy, personal emotional high, strengthened by the collective, going beyond the limit. The festival is more important today as an event that legitimizes a gathering of people, which, in turn, affirms reality, the physicality of our connection to one another. Artists are drawn to the idea of a celebration as an urgent human need to feel a connection with another person’s body through dance and bodily transgression, to feel a certain common feeling, harmony, a pure sense of joy.

– Olga Tsvetkova, curator of the procession


Tatiana Chizhikova is a dancer, choreographer and teacher of modern dance. Participant of the SOTA educational programme. Winner of the 2019 ImPulsTanz [8: tension] festival award in Vienna with her performance Time to Time (2019). Winner of the Golden Mask theatre award (2020). Participated in the V–A–C project Expanding Space. Out of the Centre.

Polina Bakhtina is an artist and set designer known for her integral approach in the field of scenic and performative arts. She has created many experimental performances as a set designer and costume designer. Author of the Russia stand at the Prague Quadrennial, for which she was awarded the gold medal. Winner of the Breakthrough Award and Golden Mask theatre award. Curator of the scenography course at the British Higher School of Design.

Sergey Kasich is an interdisciplinary artist, developer of interactive installations, curator, musician. Initiator and curator of the Moscow SA))_Gallery of sound art and Moscow SA)) _Studio of experimental sound and multimedia technologies. In 2015, he supervised the Russian sound art showcase at the Ars Electronica — 2015 festival (Linz, Austria). His works have been displayed at numerous exhibitions and festivals around the world.

Anastasia Proshutinskaya is a curator and researcher of modern dance. From 2012 to 2018, she worked at the ZIL cultural center, where she organized residencies for young choreographers and created new stage works. In 2019, she became a jury member of the [8:tension] young choreographers’ series at the ImPulsTanz festival (Vienna).