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Much like the rest of Europe, World Cup fever has hit Vilnius. However, focus shifted away from the tournament yesterday and onto another interpretation of the world’s most popular sport – a football-inspired dance performance piece called Match. The performance was one of many that took place yesterday throughout the evening and into the early hours of this morning as part of Vilnius Culture Night, an annual summertime event that transforms the city into numerous open-air stages for music, dance, theatre, cinema and photography.
Match Vilnius Culture Night

The night was full of standout performances, but Match comes at a time when football is on everyone’s mind. Directed and choreographed by Spain’s Vero Cendoya, the award-winning piece turned Vilnius’ Cathedral Square into an impromptu and somewhat chaotic football stadium. The piece brings contemporary dance and football into a dialogue, with five dancers, five footballers and one referee on the pitch giving audiences a glimpse into the similarities and differences between the two disciplines.

The spectacle was a reflection on the needs and priorities we have as humans, and featured a healthy dose of passion and humour, strength and sensitivity, as well as wild instincts and sophistication, all while the protagonists risked their lives on the pitch. Overall, the Match was a real treat for Culture Night goers, to say the very least.

Culture Night was first organised in Vilnius in 2007, and has been a staple in the line-up of summertime events ever since. This year’s event featured some 200 different projects put together by hundreds of artists from across Lithuania and around the world. In addition to the outdoor spaces, a number of theatres, museums and cultural event venues opened their doors to the public to host some Culture Night performances.

Vilnius most definitely takes advantage of its seemingly endless summer days that creep deep into the evening, and with big plans to continue celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Restored Lithuania, this summer represents a perfect opportunity for people to come discover what the excitement is all about. And though Lithuania – like Italy and the Netherlands – is not participating in this year’s World Cup, there’s still plenty of excitement surrounding the tournament and lots of places around the city to take in the matches as the tournament progresses.