Vilma Pitrinaite, Miss Lithuania

Miss Lithuania

Vilma Pitrinaite / We Compagnie

Miss Lithuania – beauty with a purpose. Miss Lithuania – I help Lithuanian farmers, working shoulder to shoulder. Vilma Pitrinaite’s character Miss Lithuania is a guise for a political piece. Hallmark with bikini contest, folk dance, overblown gratitude and broad brushstrokes of stereotyping women in the Baltic regions; this Miss World entry clunks. A feeling of discomfort grows as composition and content seem rather amateur. With technical hitches and mediocre dances, the portrayal is so literal that irony comes and goes. But the ensuing confusion gives pace to an undercurrent in the work; that of a Europe wide discontent. And her almost desperate dance to Beyonce does relate to a concern that the disorientated are unable to stop following popular capitalist culture, herself included. Baffled by the trajectory of this piece I do believe Miss Pitrinaite gets her point across, her offensive weapon? Unabashed naivety. It’s a bold line to tread, or maybe the dramaturgy was just off.

Louise Tanoto

Vilma Pitrinaite’s solo work, Miss Lithuania, explores the authenticity of performances of nationalism through a parody of beauty pageants. Miss Lithuania expresses her desire to promote and simultaneously escape her country and, in the course of this ambiguous Spiel, compares the European Union to the Soviet Union and confuses the EU flag with the US flag. The programme claims that Miss Lithuania demonstrates a conflict with norms, although the work saw her embody rather than reject popular images. In doing so, Pitrinaite highlights the absurdity of overidentification with place and the false pride and success projected by national icons. The strength of this work lies in her comedic talent and ability to subversively expose the constructedness of cultural markers, however, the parodic humour explored in dance scenes – sometimes folkloric, other times referencing US pop culture – lacked the sensitivity displayed in her well timed and edited stand-up routines.

Luke Forbes

It’s not so easy to know what the task of a Miss is. Maybe promoting beauty is their duty but usually they are ambassadors of their countries too. In this sphere, the young choreographer Vilma Pitrinaite, from Lithuania, presented her solo Miss Lithuania. She embodies the most beautiful girl in his country but she has a conflict between her role and her real thoughts and feelings. For Pitrinaite, who was trained as a dancer in France, the beauty contest is a pretext for a political speech about the social issues of her country. Sometimes she is funny (remarkable on the video) but her piece looks naïve, maybe too ingenuous in the daring context of Aerowaves this year.

Omar Khan