FOLK DANCE ASSEMBLY “VĖLUNGA”
The history of the folk dance assembly "Vėlunga“ has been written since 1986, when a folk dance ensemble was formed in the Žvejų rūmai Culture centre of Klaipėda city municipality. Its founder and leader was choreographer Vilius Šleinius (1956-2020). The ensemble chose the name "Vėtra" and quickly became one of the best and most active groups of this genre in Klaipėda.
The Vėtra group was a regular participant of many traditional folk dance competitions and festivals, such as Pora už poros, Iš aplinkui, Atdarykim vartelius, Šokių pynė, Klumpynė, and Ringio ringiai, organised in various Lithuanian cities and has repeatedly won laureate awards there. In 2000, the group was recognised the best amateur art ensemble in the country (in the category of senior ensembles) and gained the Aukso paukštė (Golden Bird) prize awarded by the Lithuanian National Culture Centre and the World Lithuanian Song Festival Foundation.
The Vėtra group participates in the World Lithuanian Song and Dance Festivals, and the Song Festivals of the Western Lithuania Region held in Klaipėda. In 2009, the group performed at the jubilee Lithuanian Millennium Song Festival and, in 2018, at the Lithuania’s Centenary Song Celebration named “Vardan tos…” (“In the name…”).
Vėtra has been participating in the European Youth and Culture Week international folklore movement since 1996. Every two years a festival of this movement, always involving the same groups from Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, France, Romania, Hungary and Germany that belong to the movement, takes place in a different country. In the summer of 2008, the team of Vėtra was the host of the 12th European Youth and Culture Week festival, which took place in Klaipėda City and County. In addition to the countries already mentioned, the group has also performed in Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Georgia, and Slovakia. In 2011, the Vėtra group participated in the Europeade Festival in Tartu (Estonia) for the first time.
Since 2009, the Gintaro laše mano Lietuva (My Lithuania in a Drop of Amber) celebration of folk dance groups is held at the ŽVEJŲ RŪMAI Culture Centre in March each year to mark the Day of Restoration of Independence of Lithuania. The host of the festival is Vėtra and the participants are friends of the group – children’s, youth and adult dance groups from all over Lithuania. The celebration that took place on 8 March 2020 was the last with Artistic Director Vilius Šleinius.
New Artistic director from August 2020 is Vidmantas Mačiulskis.
On September 9, 2020 at the meeting by a joint resolution of the new artistic director, the participants of the ensemble and the management of the Žvejų rūmai it was decided to change the name of the group. From this date the ensemble has a new name -
Folk Dance Assembly "Vėlunga" of Klaipėda City Municipality Cultural Center Žvejų rūmai.
A new page of creative activity has been opened ....