Monday, 14 September 2009

Bringing the firebird to the big screen

The Firebird performance in Bucharest last week was one of the most moving performances I've ever seen. The kids were simply amazing and astounded the audience. I've never seen so many people cry in a theatre.

We mustn't let the fire of the Firebird go out. As Monique Gruber wrote earlier in the project's blog 90 percent of the necessary funds to stage Firebird were raised with the generous support of sponsors and donors.

However, we still need help to complete an important part of the project - the documentary film that follows the journey of everyone involved in this magic experience.

Tedy and his film crew have worked tirelessly to capture every moment of this endeavour. We've all seen the high quality that they can produce - just look at the trailers!

Film making is an expensive process and every euro will help bring the Firebird film to the big screen and show people what these Romanian children accomplished.

Here are the details for donations by bank transfer:

Account name: "Jungen Rumänen eine Chance!"
Account Nr: 2381435
Badische Beamten Bank
(BLZ 66090800)
IBAN: DE6609 0800 0002 3814 35

Thank you for your support!

Photos by Alisa Tarciniu & Daniel Angelescu.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.

This Saturday, September 5th, more than 100 young Romanians will perform Stravinsky's Firebird at the National Theatre in Bucharest as part of the George Enescu Festival.

This dance performance is an initiative of „Jungen Rumänen eine Chance!“, the charitable trust founded by my mom, Monique Gruber. Under the guidance of the renowned British choreographer Royston Maldoom and Joseph Eder of Germany, it will be the first community dance project to be staged in Romania. The Bucharest performance of Firebird follows in the successful footsteps of similar performances in Berlin, New York, London and Luxembourg.

The young artists are aged between 11 to 22. Many are underprivileged and have experienced the hardships of living on the streets. Others have special needs. Yet together they have joined the intensive month long preparation to stage Firebird with great enthusiasm.

It's inspiring to read the project blog Dance With Us as it chronicles the journey the kids are taking in the lead up to Saturday's performance, and to read of the massive logistical effort to keep over 100 teenagers and volunteers housed, fed and happy over the past month.

I know any donation will make a difference. Details for donations by bank transfer are below. Every euro counts for these children.

Account name: "Jungen Rumänen eine Chance!"
Account Nr: 2381435
Badische Beamten Bank
(BLZ 66090800)
IBAN: DE6609 0800 0002 3814 35

The association is recognized by the Finanzamt Überlingen as a charitable corporation. Accordingly, your contribution can be deducted from your taxable income. For a donation receipt send a mail to: If you do not object, your name will appear on the list of friends and supporters of the association.

"They simply do not have any idea how talented they are. With their past life, how could they? This project holds up a mirror and challenges them to be the best they can possibly be" Viv Trinder

Update 3.9.2009:

It was meet the press time for the Firebird Team yesterday.

Royston talked about the difference a dance project such as Firebird can make in the lives of youny people.

We're all very excited. Today is the first rehearsal in the theatre and everyone is curious to see how their costumes fit.

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Only the bloody head remained on the stripped carcass of "Max". He was the dog belonging to the farming family who hosted us on our first night trekking in the Western Carpathian Mountains in Romania. Max was cleverly lured away from the farm late at night by a pack of wolves.

"He was a young dog, not used to wolves. Our other dog was much more careful," said Dorica, the matriarch of the family.

Life in the Apuseni National Parc is a step back in time. The mountainous region is inhabited by the "Moti" people who live in small isolated villages and remote farmhouses, some even without running water or electricity. It's hard to imagine that we're actually in the European Union. Horse lanes are the only connection to the outside world. It's a very traditional life people lead, following the chores of the day: milking cows, tending to their pigs and chooks, cutting hay with a scythe and working in the traditional saw mills. I can't tell you the pride I felt milking a cow for the first time in my life... I've lived in the city for too long.

Trekking an average of six hours a day, sleeping at farmers, feasting on local cuisine and sampling home made spirits - it's a very unique experience. Probably one of the last truly authentic rural societies in Europe. I particularly liked the landscape with the many hay cocks spread out on the rolling hills, the warm welcome of the local farmers and last but certainly not least our great guide Mirca, who knew everything about the region and its people.

Every time friends asked me where I was going on holidays, they were surprised if not baffled about Romania as a tourist destination. I must say it's a very beautiful and truly authentic part of Europe, and I hope to come back for more hiking soon.

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