Sunny greetings from Apollo

[b]Belarusian team performs well at 7th CIS Open Youth Delphic Games — Energy of Youth — in Astana: known for its unique architectural style, which blends Western high-tech with the soft curves of the East[/b]On their return, the team of winners was met not only by friends and family, but by TV journalists keen to learn more about the young talents. Theirs is a positive and captivating story. Having watched on Belarusian ONT TV channel, I was delighted to see their smiles and enthusiastic speeches at the airport, despite the four-hour flight from Kazakhstan.
Belarusian team performs well at 7th CIS Open Youth Delphic Games — Energy of Youth — in Astana: known for its unique architectural style, which blends Western high-tech with the soft curves of the East
On their return, the team of winners was met not only by friends and family, but by TV journalists keen to learn more about the young talents. Theirs is a positive and captivating story. Having watched on Belarusian ONT TV channel, I was delighted to see their smiles and enthusiastic speeches at the airport, despite the four-hour flight from Kazakhstan. The time difference hadn’t spoilt their good mood, as was evident from their sparkling eyes and overwhelmed emotions. Their words ran one over another with excitement, as you might expect from 18 year olds! It was their first trip to such a large forum, where they met new friends from across the CIS. Moreover, they returned home with a gold medal!
They don’t yet know how to answer questions as smoothly and skilfully as, for example, their team leader, Vladimir Nekhaenko — a professor within the Special Piano Department of the Academy of Music. However, their openness and sincerity is charming, effused with positivity. It’s easy to excuse their youthful use of slang...
Who are the winners, who brought gold, silver and bronze to Belarus from Astana? The eldest is poet Maxim Kishchenko, who was awarded a diploma ‘For Professionalism’. Aged 21, he is a fourth year student at the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus. Accordionist Sergey Butor, 21, a third-year student at the Academy of Music, claimed a bronze medal, while Alexander Danilov, 17 and a third-year student at the Gymnasium-College under the Academy of Music, won ‘Piano’ silver. Valeria Grudina, also 17 and a third-year student at the Choreographic Gymnasium-College, took ‘Classical Dance’ gold. Yekaterina, who graduated from the Gymnasium-College of Arts (named after Akhremchik) this year, aged 18, has entered the Art Department of the Academy of Arts, specialising in ‘Theatrical and Decorative Painting’. She won ‘Decorative Art’, exploring the theme of ‘Legends of our Native Land’. All are from Minsk.
The youngest team members attend the Circus Art Studio, in Mozyr (Mogilev Region): trapeze artists Stefania Turmovich, Nikita Nagornov and Stanislav Plotnikov — aged 9, 13 and 12. All took gold in ‘Circus on Stage’.
Victoria Ignatenko and Olga Massalova, of the Department for Supporting and Developing Cultural and Educational Initiatives at the Institute of Culture of Belarus, oversee the electronic ‘data bank’ of talented young people. They can’t hide their excitement, knowing that the young circus performers did their best. They tell us, “The audience clapped a lot when the children took their bow at the end of their performance. They received standing ovations, with the audience refusing to let them leave the circus arena. Just imagine — the children performed complex tricks without safety wires. We heard from volunteers that the Kazakhs don’t usually stand to applaud but they did this time...”
Both experts in the sphere of performing and fine arts, theatre historian Victoria acted with the Rukh Pantomime Theatre while Olga is an artist by training. On seeing the children receive their gold medals, to the accompaniment of the national anthem of Belarus, they could not hold back their tears of pride and joy.
“I understand the phrase ‘the country stands behind you’ — as used for Olympic athletes,” says Victoria. “I told the children this too but it’s quite something to feel it yourself; only through such a deeply emotional event can you appreciate that Belarus is behind you.” Olga adds, “I experienced such a great feeling of pride for my homeland — previously unknown to me. Moreover, the victorious performance of Mozyr residents gave me hope that others would do their best in other nominations, as we had with our three young circus performers.”
Victoria continues, “The Delphic Games opening ceremony took place at the Palace of Peace and Accord, while contests were held at the Kazakh Shabyt National University of Arts and at the Metropolitan Circus. Our talents were honoured at the closing gala concert but we learnt the fine arts results only in the evening. We were quite anxious, waiting for Katya in our hotel lobby after dinner. We agreed that her powerful genes wouldn’t let her down, as she is a great grand niece of the first director of the National Art Museum, Yelena Aladova, and a great-great-granddaughter of Nikolay Churkin — a composer and People’s Artist of Belarus. She is developing gradually. Our pianists Sasha and Davit, from Yerevan, arrived carrying her paints and canvas stretchers. I exchanged glances with Olga but couldn’t guess at the result; finally, Katya told us that she had received gold and began crying. We joined in her tears, hugging and congratulating ourselves and her.”
She adds, “Later, we learnt from the chairman of the ‘visual arts’ jury, Alexander Prokhorov, who is Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty at the Academy of Arts, that Katya was the undisputed winner for her composition The Prayer: there was no votes ‘against’ her.”
The all-knowing Internet provides much of interest on the Delphic Games, which only began anew in 2000, launched in Moscow; 27 countries participated, with preparations conducted through the 1990s. They originally hailed from Greek Delphi, dating from 582BC, called the Pythian Games, honouring the sun god Apollo, as the mythology of Ancient Greece tells us.
Since their revival, Belarus has taken an active part (as detailed on the website of the Belarusian Association of Bayan Players and Accordionists: http://www.abbia.by/). Organisers and fans of this movement believe that it has the ability to raise the human spirit, just as the Olympics uplift the human body and our desire to reach new physical heights. Last year, Belarusians claimed eight awards in Yerevan; now, Astana has shown favour to our young talents. Apollo himself sent them a sunny hello.
Olga says, “Astana has a stunning mixture of architecture; there’s something cosmic and ethereal about it. With the blinding sun and crazy wind, it seems as if the towers might topple at any moment. Of a thousand people or more scurrying below its monuments, perhaps 800 were entrants — from Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Austria and other countries, besides Kazakhstan. They performed in 19 categories but the ‘fine arts’ was one of the most representative. I, as a painter, was pleased by this.”
Of course, Olga and Victoria are also delighted with the success of ballerina Valeria, pianist Sasha and accordionist Sergey. It was pleasant that the poet, Maxim, also received acclaim. As to what they enjoyed most, they cannot decide. The Delphic Games — an Olympics of Arts — is more than a competition. It unites talents from all over the world, while encouraging friendship, which knows no boundaries.

By Valentina Zhdanovich
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