Sunday, 20 March 2011

Wings of Fire nominated for Film festival in Cluj!

Dragii mei,

Acum trei zile am auzit de Tedy ca filmul lui, facut cu mult treaba si inima impreuna cu Vali si Bogdan a fost ales pentru a fi aratat la festivalul de Cluj!

M am bucurat enorm de aceasta veste si sunt sigura ca si voi va bucurati. Acum trebuie sa ii tinem pumni pentru un premi......
dar deja faptul ca participa este un suces pe care merita un aplaus mare pentru Tedy si echipa sa!

pupici la toti


Friday, 18 March 2011

Creation of a website!

Dragi mei nepoti,

Since my return from Romania, when we all met with Klaus and his family, Miki, Elena and Neli in your respective homes
I have been wanting to make a diashow of the trip. Unfortunately I have had two operations on my hands and have therefore not been able to do anything for the last three months!

But it did not prevent me from thinking and trying to figure out a solution for you to be able to be connected with one another through the internet. After speaking with my daughter Barbara (whom you probably remember since she was there for the Firebird), I have decided to create a website to which you would all have access and could communicate. I will be visiting Barbara soon and she promised me to get it started and explain me how to do it.

But you know that I am not an expert in computer, which means it might be a lot of work.......So, before doing so, I would like to know how many of you are interested in using it. I personally think it could be quite nice because you could exchange views and post pictures, drawings or even diashows.

Let me know quite soon what you think of this idea!
I hope you are all well and working hard at school, especially those among you who are preparing the baccalaureat!!!!

I send you lots of kisses and am waiting for your answer
cu dor si drag.....

your bunica Monica

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Coming to Bucharest soon!

My dear children, dragi nepoti mei!

It is now ages since I have posted anything on the blog and you must think that I have forgotten you all.
Believe me, you are wrong: I think of you all daily AND I so often dream of you. I dream that we are together again and I see your smiling happy faces so clearly in front of me, just as if you were here.
But to be honest, apart from a few of you, I did not get much response or reactions form you either lately......May be YOU have forgotten me???

Time has passed so quickly: just over a year ago the Firebird project finished in Sibiu after six intensive weeks of training together and three amazing performances.
Do you know how lucky you were? Indeed, this year, with the financial situation in Romania the project could not have taken place, because we would not have found any sponsors for it. Believe me, it was a miracle, and you were part of it!

Today I want to give you the latest news, good news: Tedy´s film is now finished. He sent it to me a few weeks ago and it turned out beautifully.
So, I decided it is time to come and see you again and I booked my plane for the beginning of November. I want to see how you are, what you have been doing in the last twelve months and spend a few nice hours with you.I will be arriving in Bucharest on November 3rd and I intend to come and see you all in your respective homes. This means I will be travelling to Ploiesti, Brasov, Codlea and Sibiu and visit the various schools and institutions in Bucharest as well.

Could you please pass on this information to all participants of the Firebird project. I will come back with more details about my arrival and I count on you to gather everybody around you.

I give you a big hug and am very much looking forward to seeing you all again

Mi e dor de voi toti!!
Va pup

Bunica Monica

Sunday, 31 January 2010


You remember Stefan, Helen, Barbara and Guy who came and helped us prepare the performance?

Barbara just came back from Liberia (have a look at a map of Africa.....) one of the poorest countries of Africa, where she was working for the German radio, Deutsche Welle.
There, one of her journalist students told her of an African saying which immediately reminded her of you. Therefore, she asked me to send it to you with her love and a personal message to each of you:

"If you want to have some shade when you are grown up, don´t forget to plant a tree while you are still a child!"

And here is Barbara´s message to you:

"Since I saw your performance on the 5th of September 2009 I know that each of you has planted his tree already, at the latest during the Firebird project, if not before. We are now launching an artistic contest, a kind of competition. But an unusual competition, in which each one of you will win. Not necessarily a prize, but something much more precious than a prize. It will be up to you to discover what this precious prize can be.

I suggest that each of you thinks of a creation of his own about the meaning of this African saying for himself.

It can be a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, a poem, a simple text, a dream, a picture, a song, or anything else you can imagine. Or you can suggest to your teacher for Romanian to give this saying as a subject for an essay. You can also start a competition for your friends at your school or your home. You can even decide to get together with some of your Firebird friends and start a competition on a wider scale, school or town. I think it is a wonderful subject. What kind of tree would you like to be? What do you have to do for it to grow strong and stable against storms, lightening and winters?

As soon as Monique gets your contributions she will publish them in the blog. And if many of you participate, we can think of a way of exhibiting your creations when she goes back to Bucharest and the Premiere of Tedy´s film takes place.
I am looking forward to seeing what you create. Now that I know how talented each of you is, you have no excuse!

When you want to, you can be so creative. You showed it last summer, on the stage and with your beautiful drawings exhibited in the hall of the National Theatre which were just amazing. So, do not hesitate: next time you are bored, sit down, think and get going....And do not forget to tell all the other participants of the Firebird.

Guy, Stefan, Helen and I keep a wonderful memory of the few days spent with you in Bucharest and the unique adventure we lived through thanks to you all. Your friendliness and your cheerfulness, your enthusiasm and your energy , your performance and its success are unforgettable.

Get this tree of yours growing and make sure you get some shade when you are grown up. NOW!

Love to each of you and have a very good year 2010"


Saturday, 30 January 2010

salutari din parte lui Klaus

One of Klaus´s pictures of the Firebird performance

"Hey guys,

I heard about your revival meeting this weekend. That sounds great to me. I would really like to be there!

Even more because of the photo-pictures, that I showed to 30 - 40 people in Bubenreuth. There could have been some more people if you ask me. But they did not ask me. Anyway: those who came have been so impressed about you and your performances, that some of them even cried...

This was last Wednesday. Monique and Wilfried were here too. And mentally I have been even closer to you than ever...

I am convinced that you have a nice weekend together. And I am so happy for you...Say hello to everybody from my side, from Sophia and my family!

Kisses to all of you, Klaus"

When Klaus wrote this mail, he did not know yet that the meeting has been postponed to the end of February. I was sorry to hear that and can understand that you were sad. But if you work hard at school, time will pass much more quickly and the 27th will arrive before you even have time to think!

I am now attaching Klaus´s new year message. I had not published it in the blog because Mihaela was going to read it to you at the meeting last Saturday night. But now, here it is:

"Draga familia Pasarea de foc!

Eu va doresc la toti un an nou 2010 plin de bucurie si impleniri! In anul 2009 am incercat impreuna sa demonstram ce ar putea insemna sa fie "bun".
Talentul vostru, bunavointa voastra, umorul, increderea, rabdarea, competenta, spiritul de echipa, capacitateas voastra de a duce un lucru la bun sfirsit si de a da tot ce este mai bun din voi in orice imprijurare, toate acestea m-au impresionat si in aceasti manera m-au incintat in vara si am ramas marcat in mod placut pe viata.
Eu sper din inima sa ne reintelnim in anul acest, poate la premiera filmului Tedy sau in alta ocasia.
Sofia si eu, impreuna cu „mica“ noastra familie, ne gandim deseori la „mare“ noastra familia Pasarea de foc si sunteti mereu in gandurile nostri.
Va doresc un an 2010 fericit si inca mai bun decat 2009, cu mult bucurie, si experiente placute si bogate.
Cu drag si dor,

Klaus, Sofia si familia"

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Craciun fericit!

Dragi mei!

Am fost pana astazi in Paris la familia mea si sin computer. Astazi am ajuns in Germania,in Bonn, unde locuesc Barbara si Guy,si abia asteptam sa ajung la internet sa va scriu cateva cunvinte si sa va doresc cu putin interzire : CRACIUN FERICIT!
Sper ca l ati trecut bine, poate ca a fost un craciun alb ca la noi cu mult zapada.
Va doresc si un an bun, cu sanatate si clipe frumoase, prietenie si bucurie.
Sper ca vom avea in curind ocasia sa ne vedem din nou.
Multumesc tuturor care m-au scris in ultime saptamine. M-am bucurat sa aud noutate si veste lor. Sa stiti ca in fiecare zi sunt in gand alatur de voi si ca mi-e foarte dor de voi toti si de timpuri trecuti impreuna.
Pupici tuturor.
Cu drag si mare dor


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Quiz goes on......

First aid ten minutes before the Premiere. Whose foot is it and does he really intend to go on stage like that?

What are these hands doing?

And what the hell is this?

Almost midnight, D-Day minus one. do you now guess what is happening here?

Same place same time. What is Elisabeth sewing in the middle of the night?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Si acum, un mic Quiz pentru Serbatorile

Cije mana este?

Cine apartin aceste picioare?

Ce represinta aceasta caruta?

Maine merge mai departe quizul. Astept raspunsuri!

Craciun fericit!

Dragi nepoti,

Sfirsitul fiecarui ani este o ocasia sa ne uitam in spate la ce s-a intemplat cu noi, in jurul nostru, ce am implinit, ce ne a adus anul acest; in acelas timp este ocasia sa ne gindim la anul nou si ce asteptam de el si de noi insusi, care sunt dorintele noastre.

Petnru mine, 2009 a fost anul cel mai extraordinar in viata mea, si asta, datorita voi, datorita FIECARE din voi. Am invatat enorm mult de voi.
Am invatat ca, chiar daca fiecare din voi are personalitatea sa si posibilitatele sale, toti tineri, de orice tare, orice origin, orice familia sunt asomenatori si au acelase nevoie: niste nevoie simple ca respect si incredere din partea celelatilor si adultilor, nevoie de a fi ljubiti, guidati, de a avea un cel, dar un cel inalt, pe care poate n-ati crezut ca il puteti atinge.

Fiecare din voi m-a dovadit ca are un suflet bun, si am avut impresia ca dansa v-a permis sa se exprime acesta calitatea prin ea. Ati facut experienta ca vorbe nu sunt intotdeauna necesare pentru a crea o relatia cu celalti, ca este greu sa manteneti concentratia, sa fiti toleranti cu celalti, sa sustineti efortul pentru a atinge celul cerut de Josef, sa nu abandonati, sa nu va dati batuti, sa lucrati mai departe, chiar daca v-a fost foame sau ati fosti obositi. Si tot asta l-ati vins.

In sfirsitul acestei ani vreu sa fiti mindri de voi. M-as bucura daca m- ati scrie cum va simtiti, daca aveti impresia ca ceva s-a schimbat in voi, si daca da, ce s-a schimbat. M-as bucura daca datorita experientiei pe care l-ati trait sase saptamine in vara
trecuta v-ati simti mai siguri, puternici, mai curajosi pentru a face experiente noue si a indrasni sa aveti niste celuri mai ambitiosi, daca v-ati simti mai capabili de a reusi tot ce incepeti si sa fiti exempli pentru celalti, sa le incurajati si ei, si sa le ajutati. Ar fi extraordinar daca ati putea sa dati alti tinerilor mai departe experienta bogata pe care l-ati trait, o experienta pe care ei n-au avut sansa sa o aiba ei.

Sincer, puteti, si trebuie sa fiti mindri de voi. TOTI si FIECARE DIN VOI!
Noi, intreaga echipa Pasarea de Foc, sintem mindri de voi si avem incredere ca puteti sa realizati orice vis pe care l- aveti, unica conditia fiind ca AVETI niste vise!
Doar asa va fi viata voastra interesanta. Daca ramaneti pasivi in fata televizorului si astepati sa va propuna el ceva, atunci, vati astepta mult. L- Ati vazut in vara: VOI trebuie sa ve luati pe mana si sa decideti ce vreti sa faceti din viata voatra.
Prietenia si bucuria vin din interese si experiente comune, din eforturi si aventure impartiti cu alti.

Pentru anul 2010 va doresc sa aveti un vis si sa-l realizati. Proiectul Pasarea de Foc v-a aratat drumul. N-ati aratat cat talent si initiava puteti sa aveti cand vreti, acum incercati sa fiti voi intiatori de un proiect nou, in orice domenul si poate foarte mic, poate singuri, sau inca mai bine cu niste prieteni sau colegi in centrul vostru, scoala sau centrul sportiv.

Sper ca anul viitor ne va da posibilitate sa ne adunem din nou pentru premiera filmului Tedy. Pana atunci, va rog sa ne aratati ca ce ati facut in timpul proiectului, sunteti capabili sa-l faceti si la scoala: sa reusiti si sa fiti multumiti si mindri de voi.
Trimit fiecarui din voi pupici mari si va doresc un craciun fericit, sanatate si suces pentru 2010

Cu mare drag

Bunica Monica

Acum a ajuns si un mesaj din partea Irinei:

Dragi copii,

Va imbratisez pe toti cu drag si va urez sa aveti parte de o viata plina de iubire si tot binele din lume.
Craciun fericit si sa speram ca noul an ne va aduce din nou impreuna.
Va saruta cu drag si dor,


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Xmas greetings from the team are now coming in

Hi guys!

Can you really believe nearly FOUR months have gone by since we took the National Theatre stage in Bucharest by storm and wowed them in Sibiu? I can’t.
It seems almost like a dream - like the story of the Firebird itself – but I know for sure none of us will ever forget the experience.
Good that Tedi and his great team captured it all on camera. I’m so looking forward to the premiere -whenever this will be- and seeing you all again, hopefully soon!

Have a great Christmas.
Sending you a big hug, every good wish for the New Year and my love


All the best from Fred too

Monday, 30 November 2009

Some good news today!

Some weeks are better than others:
Today, I found two letters and one newspaper article in my letter-box. Enough to cheer me up and remind mer that the community dance concept in Romania HAS to go on whatever happens!

Sibiu´s Mayor, Klaus Johannis, wrote:

"Dear Mrs Gruber,

.....I would like to congratulate you and your entire team for the realization of the Firebird project. This unique enterprise impressed me and showed the Sibiu public what young people can achieve when they are given the chance....."

Also in the mail was a copy of the last edition of the Bucurestiul Cultural supplement with an interview from its Editor, Gabriela Adamesteanu about the project. You can find it (unfortunately for many, in Romanian only) on the net under:

the second letter came from the founder and director of Ateliere protejate, Jörg Könöszi, a German citizen who has been active (with his Romanian wife) in helping young people with special needs to step into life. For this purpose, he founded a decade ago workshops where the youngsters learn to make candles. During about two years, in transition between teenage and adult life, they learn everything they need to take on a job and stand on their own feet: punctuality, responsibility, practical skills and social integration.
For more details about his work you may check the following website:
You will find some of the participants of the Firebird smiling at you while working in their friendly atelier.
But ther best thing to do is to take up contact with Helpstep and visit their Christmas Bazar next week. You will be impressed by the quality of their work and the friendly atmosphere of the workshop!

And here is Jörg´s feedback about the project:

"Liebe Monique,

.......Wir aus der Werkstatt, die Eltern und viele die wir gefragt haben, sind sich einer Meinung: Das Projekt "Feuervogel" in Rumänien war das erste erfolgreiche Projekt, das gezeigt hat, wie Integration von Menschen mit Behinderung funktionieren kann!

Auch wenn das Thema Integration nicht an erster Stelle stand, was sicher gut war, hatte es enorme Auswirkungen. Für die Eltern unserer Jugendlichen war es das erste Mal, dass ihre Kinder eine Leistung vollbracht haben, die in der Öffentlichkeit anerkannt wurde. Das gibt gerade auch für die Eltern viel Kraft für die Zukunft.

Ich freue mich, dass der Vater von Alexander und der Vater von Mihaela ein Hilfe waren und gebe den Dank gerne an sie weiter. Wir sehen uns nächste Woche, da wir unseren Weihnachtsmarkt haben.

Ich werde mit den Jugendlichen und Cristina reden und wir werden gerne einen Beitrag für eure Homepage schreiben. Nur kommen wir diese Woche, wegen den Vorbereitungen für den Weihnachtsmarkt nicht dazu. Wir versuchen es dennoch so bald wie möglich zu machen.

Die lieben Grüße an alle gebe ich gerne weiter und auch zurück!"


Friday, 27 November 2009

Final report of the project for sponsors, partners and supporters

Quite an extensive report, I know, but just in case some of you are interested in knowing more about the project and its implementation and if not...just skip it!

1. Development of the project

After months of intensive coordination between the project initiator, the local coordinator, the artistic and pedagogic team and local institutions (for complete list see annex 1), the project unfolded successfully in Bucharest on August 3rd and thereafter. For six hours a day and for five weeks,110 young people, between 8 and 22 years of age, rehearsed Stravinsky´s "The Firebird” at the sports hall of I.L. Caragiale National College, which its director had offered as the location for the rehearsals.
The participating young people had been selected from a variety of institutions in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu and Ploiesti: They came from children´s homes, placement centres, a school for the hearing impaired, a day care centre for youngsters with special needs, and also from regular high schools such as Liceul Caragiale or Liceul Ghibu in Sibiu. The municipality of Bucharest´s sector 2 provided lodging during the entire project for 30 participants coming from outside Bucharest in its "Neghinita" boarding school for the blind. However, feeding these participants was the responsibility of the organizers. Similarly, it was part of the project logistics to provide transportation for all participants to and from the rehearsals as well as snacks, drinks and a warm meal for all participants during and after the strenuous rehearsals.
On September 5th the youngsters performed the "Firebird" in the grand auditorium of the National Theatre in Bucharest and on Sept. 8th at the Sibiu Casa de Cultura a Sindicatelor in front of 1.000 and 700 spectators respectively.

2. Results of the project

2.1. The intensive rehearsals and the performances gave the participating youngsters a unique chance to explore their creative potential and to discover the value of self-discipline and collective effort. These young people who had no experience of classical music or dance proved able to put on stage a very sophisticated performance of high artistic quality in the country´s most prestigious theatre as a special event in the framework of Romania´s major bi-annual cultural event, the George Enescu Festival.

2.2. The audiences received the performances with standing and long, enthusiastic applause. Ion Caramitru, the National Theatre´s General Director, told the project´s initiator Monique Gruber that he had never seen so many spectators leaving his theatre in tears and in silence after a performance. Conductor Horia Andreescu said he could not believe that the youngsters performing the main roles in the ballet were not professional dancers.

2.3. Romanian and German media reported widely on the "Firebird" project and the two performances:
- news agencies: Agerpres, Mediafax, News In
- newspapers: Adevarul, Cotidianul, Jurnalul National, Romania Libera, Cariere,
Observatorul Cultural, Turnul Sfatului
- radio stations: Romania Actualitati, Romania Cultural, Deutsche Welle,
Deutschlandfunk, SWR
- TV stations: TVR1, TVR2, TVR Cultural, Money Channel
- websites:,,

All media reports and commentaries were most positive and unanimous in commending the project as a successful demonstration of how young people from underprivileged backgrounds can be trained and motivated to achieve an impressive collective performance and to attain a high professional standard (for an overview of media reports see annex 2).

2.4. The initiator and organizers of the "Firebird " project wish it to trigger a broadening interest in Romania for the concept of "community dance" and to encourage Romanian organizations to realize similar follow-on projects. It is hoped that the positive media reaction to the "Firebird" as well as the documentary film which is in preparation will contribute to making Romanian educators and public institutions aware of the value of this concept and motivate them to explore its potential to integrate marginalized young people into society.

3. Sponsors, partners, budget, volunteers

The realisation of the "Firebird" project would not have been possible without the generous support of many sponsors and partners (for a complete list see annex 3).
A number of major firms operating in Romania made significant cash contributions. Individuals equally made donations via the German charitable association "Jungen Rumänen eine Chance!".
In addition to this financial support, which totalled 98.000,- Euro, the project also benefited from significant contributions in kind or services, such as the provision of transport facilities, legal advice, food or catering. While it is difficult to put a price tag on these contributions in kind, their value can be estimated to add up to about an additional 65.000,- euro.
The financial contributions were used to pay the costs (emoluments, travel expenses and lodging) of the artistic and pedagogic team that trained and took care of the youngsters; for the preparation and organization of rehearsals and performances; for food and lodging of the participants, in particular during the trip to Sibiu. A break-down of the major expenditures is attached as annex 4.
Attention was drawn to the names and logos on all written (posters, flyers and programmes, press releases) and electronic PR material made available for journalists and the public. The project website and the initiator´s blog - which enjoyed significant numbers of visitors - also listed sponsors and partners prominently.

Sponsors´ and partners´ logos were also displayed visibly on spiders at the venue of the two performances.
During press conferences, interviews and all contacts with the media the project initiator and organizers expressed their appreciation for the support of sponsors and partners. A TV interview broadcast by "Money Channel" on September 11 was used by the initiator to speak at some length about the sponsors´ and partners´ contribution and to express her gratitude for their demonstrating their sense of corporate social responsibility by supporting the project.
A significant number of volunteers - from Germany, Great Britain and Romania - was also involved in making the project a success (their names are listed in annex 1).They ensured a smooth unfolding of the project. In their respective roles and positions, e.g. as sound engineer, educators, costume tailors, organizers of drawing sessions or a percussion workshop, they contributed significantly to the dancers´energy and enthusiasm thanks to their benevolent dedication and commitment.

4. Overall assessment

According to the judgment of all observers the "Firebird" project left a significant impact on the young participants. Some of them expressed how valuable the experience had been for them on the initiator´s blog They acknowledged that taking part in this project was a unique experience in their lives and affected profoundly their self-perception and their attitude towards their peers and fellow human beings.
Dan, Ionel and Monica´s reactions reflect quite well the project´s impact on the young "artists".
Dan, age 22: "I am a youngster from Bucharest, living on the street; participating in this project gives me the feeling that the Firebird´s tale is becoming reality..."
Ionel, age 17: "This project means a lot to me because I do not have anybody; and here I have found a family, brothers and friends. It teaches me how to get prepared for life. I am very proud of what I am doing and happy to have a role. I would appreciate if I could get some support to carry on this project. Many thanks to all those who have put so much effort in this project."
Monica, age 17: „I never thought we could give the best out of us. Dance has taught us what it means to work hard to achieve what we really want. It has changed us a lot, especially our behaviour. We have gained self confidence. By dancing in front of such a large public, we have proved that we are capable, we have achieved that the public be proud of us instead of rejecting us because we are from a children´s home and therefore naughts. We are not any different that anybody else and we too have our qualities. With thanks and respect".
The public witnessed at first hand that youngsters who have grown up at the margins of society have the energy and are indeed capable - if and when duly motivated and trained - of performing a major piece of art at an amazing level of excellence.
Romanian organizations and institutions are now called upon to carry forward the "Firebird"´s message in follow-on projects.

There is hope again for Tedy´s movie...

You may have noticed that posts have been more scarce lately and our "artists" will again accuse me of forgetting them....
As I wrote earlier, I have been quite busy with "post-project" and administrative tasks. But I have to admit that some more reasons, doubts and questions might also be responsible for my silence of the last four weeks: When will Schott finally give us an answer about the author´s rights for the film? Will we be able to gather the necessary funds to pay them? When will the première take place? When and How will the project go on?

And then, yesterday, a sunray blinded me whencatching a glance of the association´s bank account:

Nathan and his form had achieved a small miracle:

Nathan is Klaus´s 8 year old son. After his father had left him and his smaller brother Fabian with their grand parents for two months in the summer when he went to Bucharest to take care of the participants, Nathan decided with his schoolmates and his school in Bubenreuth that the proceeds of the Christmas bazar which they organized last weekend should go to the project, as a contribution to the production of Tedy´s movie.

Nathan´s class (Nathan is the third from left in the front row)

They produced some beautiful handicrafts and Christmas decorations, sold them with cakes and other goodies together with their parents on nicely decorated stands and guess how much they took in?

The fantastic sum of 650 €! AMAZING!Congratulations and thousand thanks to all!
And this came precisely at a moment when we were wondering whether we would be able to carry on the film project.

So, dear participants, don´t tell me again that nobody thinks of you and that we have forgotten you since the end of the project, when a whole school has been thinking of you and working for your project for weeks!

Yesterday also, Julia Diterich, a young Munich pediatrician and one of our most generous sponsors (which doesn´t mean that she is a millionnaire....) transferred her latest savings to the association´s account; for her part, Stefanie Moog (who had also come to Bucharest especially for the performance and was a precious helping hand in the last hours before the performance) announced that she would organize a slide show and lecture on the project in January. And so will Klaus and I.

So, there is hope again and who knows? The may be more miracles before the film is ready.....

Friday, 20 November 2009

10 weeks already since our last performance!

"We", the organizers and volunteers of the Firebird, are regularly in contact with one another and with some of our artists, who occasionally send us a mail to give us the latest news. They seem to keep contact with other participants and are longing to see the "Firebird family" as they call it, again soon. They are looking forward to this opportunity when the premiere of the film takes place.
Unfortunately, we are still waiting for an answer from the Schott Edition, who deals with Srtrawinskij´s rights and is supposed to settle the price of the author´s rights to be paid for using Strawinskij´s music in the film. We presented the project to them six weeks ago but when we called them to inquire they answered us that they are overworked and that it might still last some time before we get an answer.

The future of the project, that is, the spreading of community dance in Romania partly depends on this decision: if the rights are very high, we will have to give up the publishing of the film, which we intended to use as pedagogical material to be shown in schools and institutions as incentive to make further projects in the spirit of the Firebird.
Besides, we count on the proceeds from the film´s sales to organize some workshops aiming at training dance teachers in community dance so that the concept can spread in various regions of Romania. Several institutions and schools have already shown their interest in similar projects.
At present time Tedy has already finished editing the movie about the performance and is working hard editing the "making of". We are all anxious to see the result!

In the meantime, here are a few more comments from our artists:

Ana wrote: "This project has changed my life. I have gained so much self confidence.....I don´t know how to express what I feel in my heart, but I am sure you can imagine....."

Gabi´s words: "It is only the third day, but I have already made many good friends. Sometimes I help them, and sometimes they help me. Dancing is not that difficult, but I am happy because we have a talented team and excellent teachers. Even when we make mistakes they help us to succeed. I am very impatient to get done with the rehearsals and to head for the theatre for the performance"

Gabi Draguti was not even 11 years old when he came to the project.
He is the little guy whom Klaus had already mentionned earlier in the blog, and whose parents had insisted for weeks to have him participate in the project and had asked to put him on the waiting list. When we called them to say that a participant had not shown up, they booked Gaby for a coach headinf for Bucharest at 5 o clock the next morning, without even knowing any of us or who would pick him up at the station after his four hour trip. He arrived at 9.30 a.m. and was brought straight to the gym. Gaby had had ballet for 3 years. He stepped in, four days after the beginning of the training, and adapted instantly, a charming little guy, very talented and friendly.

Unfortunately, 2 weeks later, all of a sudden and with no apparent reason, his parents decided that he was not happy, turned up in Bucharest and took him home, depriving him of a unique experience which he seemed to enjoy thoroughly.....

We experienced the same thing on three occasions during the project. Happy children, but dominant and sceptical parents, afraid that their children mix up with others whom they do not consider as reaching the standards they wish for them.
Their decision, but sad for the kids.........

Friday, 16 October 2009

some more comments from our artists

The dream of a prince, of the Firebird prince......

"Ar fi un vis, care as dori sa-l implinesc
Si iata s-a implinit…..
Ar fi un vis ceea ce ne dorim?
Dar asta nu putem sa stim.
Ar fi un vis ceea ce ni se intampla?
Ar fi un vis ceea ce ne comunica ?
Ar fi…….
Ar fi un vis, cu care sa nu ne impacam
Ar fi un vis, cu care sa nu ne certam
Ar fi…….
Ar fi un vis o realitate sau un adevar ?
O realitate,un adevar......
O dorinta sau o credinta?
Ar fi........un vis........
Un vis,pe care il dorim
Cu totii impreuna sa-l traim
Clipa cu clipa as dori,
Sa simt ceea ce n-am simtit.
O familie unita intr-un vis…..
Dar....un vis e ca o floare
O floare care invie si apoi moare...."

Cornel Cimpoieru (19)

.....and the dream of his princess: the Firebird

" A few days before going to Bucharest, I wanted to renounce to the project; but then I thought: now that I have entered the game, I must play it till the end...At first I found it hard to renounce something good, but I have found something much much better! I first shed tears of sadness and now they are tears of happiness!

I am living a dream....or could it be reality?"

"Inainte cu cateva zile sa ajung in Bucuresti,am vrut sa renunt la acest proiect,dar am zis,ca,daca am intrat in joc,trebuie sa ajung pana la final…..uite, ca acum sunt aici si sunt foarte fericita….totul e perfect!

Am renuntat la un bine cu inima in dinti si am ajuns la un bine mult,mult mai mare! inceput au fost lacrimi de tristete,iar acum sunt lacrimi de fericire!

Traiesc un vis!
Oare chiar e realitate ?"

Ana Maria Veres (18)

,,Parerea mea,,

,,Pasarea de foc,,este primul dans comunitar din Romania, care ne-a fascinat pe toti, ne-a facut sa ne exprimam trairile asa cum sunt de fapt fara nici un fel de masca. Eu am invatat foarte multe lucruri din aceasta experienta. Nu am avut nici un fel de emotii la spectacol, pentru ca am avut incredere in echipa cu care am lucrat si stiam ca totul o sa iasa bine.
Nu pot uita aceasta experienta, pentru ca a fost una dintre cele mai frumoase momente din viata mea.


Adela (17)

" I don´t know how, but this morning I woke up on the stage, in front of hundreds of people. I think it is going to be a great evening and I don´t know where the last month of preparation has flown.

When the music inundates your ears and you are dazzled by the lights, you enter in a kind of trance. It is bound to be good because in dance, soul and body literally melt together in an emotion from which energy is flowing."

Nu stiu,cum m-am trezit azi pe scena,in fata a sute de oameni.Se pare ca va fi o ."seara mare si nici macar nu stiu pe unde a zburat o luna de pregatiri.
Cand muzica ne inunda urechile si luminile te orbesc,e un fel de transa in care intri.Trebuie sa iasa bine, caci in dans sufletul si trupul se contopesc cu adevarat,in emotia care curge in energie.

Christina (18)

Dear reader,

"I am very happy to dance along your side. I would like to encourage you to dance. Nobody was ever born "learned". It is like in daily life: every day, we learn something new and this is also true for dance, you can learn it quite quickly, even if at the beginning I found it quite difficult. To succeed, you need will and patience.

There is a saying I like: Learn everything, learn as much as you can, so that you can make your way through life.

We will be a team until the end and I am csure we´ll succeed!!!"

Boldijar Gheorghe(18)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

You remember Bogdan?

How could one ever forget him! Bogdan was probably the best volunteer of our team because he had not come as such and therefore we had not expected him to become one. Bogdan studies film production together with Tedy and joined the Firebird project as part of his team to document it. Like Tedy, he chose to stay with the kids at the Neghinita centre for the entire period of the project and took part in their daily - and "nightly" life. Very mature and responsible although only nineteen, with a great sense of humour and a heart at the right place......

He was one of the first "visitors" of the diary. Here are his impressions in Romanian, for the "artists" to understand them, but they deserve to be translated in English as well because Bogdan, like many other volunteers and helpers of the project, is a worthy representative of a Romania which few people know.

" Buna seara cititorule.

Scriu aceste randuri dintr-un loc extraordinar.Este o casa de copii,dar acest lucru nu conteaza. Sper sa poti, prin intermediul acestor cuvinte, sa simti bucuria si entuziasmul, pe care eu le-am experimentat inca din prima zi.
Acum cateva luni habar nu aveam in ce ma bag. As vrea sa iti imaginezi cea mai delicioasa tocanita, pe care ai mancat-o,ceva de genul acesta este aici, o tocanita de povesti. Fiecare copil are povestea lui inscrisa pe chip, nu o auzi din gura lui, ci o astepti pe fata. Acum,din punctul meu de vedere,fiecare se afla in fata unei noi povesti,o poveste incredibila, ce poarta numele ,,Pasarea de foc...
Mi s-a dat oportunitatea de a vedea cea mai incredibila alchimie din viata mea. Am urmarit incet, incet, cum povestea fiecaruia se scrie cu cuvinte de aur.
Cei ce nu cred in magie ar trebui sa vada personajele acestei povesti, fiecare cu greutatile lui, toate acum, prin puterea dansului,transformandu-se in aur." Bogdan

"Good evening, dear reader,

I am writing these lines from an extraordinary place. It is a children´s home, but this is unimportant. I hope that, through the intermediary of these words, I can make you feel the enthusiasm and the joy which I have experienced here from the very first day.

A few months back, I had no idea what I was getting into. Try to imagine the best "tocanita" (Romanian version of goulash) you have ever eaten. Well here, it is something similar: a gloulash of destinies. Each child has his own story written on his face. You do not hear it from him, but you read it from him. And at this moment, in my opinion, each of them is writing a new story, an incredible tale called "Pasarea de foc"...
I was given the chance to witness the most incredible alchemy I have ever seen in my life. I am witnessing how, step by step, the tale of each of them is being written in golden words.

Those who do not believe in Magic should see the characters of this tale, whose burden of lead, through the power of dance, is transforming itself into gold.

Bogdan Benea

First and last picture of the "Firebird" family!

You can see Julia´s (Barbara´s friend) wonderful pictures about the project on the following website:
The password to enter the site is: pasarea. I will put more pictures on the site in the next days.
Have fun!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Our artists´ silence!

All along the project, our young artists, as well as educators and volunteers, could write down their impressions on a note book at the rehearsal place or at our Bucharest home "Neghinita". I wish I had time to translate them all so that not only the kids can read what their friends have written and felt about the project, but also our readers from Germany and abroad. I promise to try and find the time to translate at least some extracts in the near future.

"It is a nice day, in which we want to enjoy being together as a group. I hope that we will have new energy on Monday after a nice and relaxing weekend, and that, surmounting minor problems, we will be able to accept each person as she is, and learn to see the beauty of each one.
For my part, I receive energy from each member of the group"

"Let me introduce myself. My name is Maria, I am from Codlea. I would like to thank Monique and Alexandra for organzing the Firebird, the first project of that kind and already a success. I had met lots of children from homes before, but not as nice ones. What we look like and how we think does not count as much as our heart. That you have everything does not mean that you have more qualities than someone who is poor but helps others who are like him.

I never thought we could give the best out of us. Dance has taught us what it means to work hard to reach what you really want. It has changed us a lot, especially our behaviour. We have gained self confidence. By dancing in front of such a large public, we have proved that we are capable, we have achieved that the publc be proud of us instead of rejecting us because we are from a children´s home and therefore naughts. We are not any different that anybody else and we also have our qualities.
With thanks and respect,"
Monica (17)

"Desi este a doua saptamina mi-am facut prieteni si am avut ocasia sa descoper cea mai incredibila parte din mine..."
Dorina (12)

"How to start, when there would be so much to say about this project, the best I have ever participated in. I became aware that, with efforts and determination, you can achieve whatever you want. It also taught me that, however different we are, we are all alike.
I fear the moment when we will depart from one another. I think I will talk about this project all my life and have the same strong feelings about it as now!"
Roxana (17)

"Dear diary,
"I am happy to get to know you and be able to tell you a few things about myself. To be honest, this project seemed extremely complicated to me at first, during the first days of work, until I realized that precisely work and concentration strengthen my personality and give me power. Whenever I succeed, I feel fulfilled. I could tell you a lot more about myself, but it is quite late now and I am exhausted....." Tonto(17)

"Good evening, diary,
"In the last few days, I felt much more concentrated. I am putting all my heart in this project to gather more experience for myself and have a better vision of the world, different from the one I had up to now.
I am happy with my new friends and friends who are "class-bests". I did not expect this project to involve so many emotions. It has changed my behaviour quite a bit. I started to feel the femininity inside me. This week, I have been asking myself what will happen when I leave this place, when it is all over, what will I do? How will I feel a week, a month after the Firebird has come to its end? It is hard to depart from such an experience. I asked myself if I could go on with this project, whereever I go. I got to like it. Before, whenever I heard about dance (ballet and so on) I would stick out my tongue and shake my head. I hated it. But now, the wheel has rotated. Things are much better. I feel that something in us has changed.
It´s been nice to meet you . Nico(17)

Monday, 5 October 2009

Today, Josef is online, talking to each of you!

"A new beginning.....

Now that time has gone by, and everybody is back on his own road in life, my thoughts often turn to the 5 weeks in Bucharest, which I really did enjoy a lot.

During the intensive training sessions, 5 days a week, mostly for 6 hours, I was given the chance to work with you wonderful young people and through you to get a glimpse of a totally different culture. When something finishes, there is always at the same time a new beginning. Some friends will stay for the rest of your life, others will never be seen again.

So the conclusion of one project and the beginning of the next mirror life, which always moves on and we have the challenge to use the experience as an engine to move forward. When one thing ends it is not a sad matter; it enables you to move on taking with you the experience and the knowledge it gave you, strengthened by it.

It was such a pleasure to see all of you constantly growing, trying hard and starting to share your gifts and talents. I always knew it would take time for you to understand the approach to dance, and how strange it would be, at the beginning, to work in such a focused and disciplined way. I love the work I do, being strongly convinced by the amazing impact it can have on our lives.

I appreciate how far you went, how deep you delved into this beautiful subject of dance and within yourselves. The performance you gave was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen in the field of community dance: there was something magic on stage: you were able to touch the audience with your dance.

Maybe, there is the question now, how can you bring this beauty, strength and movement into your daily lives? I always ask myself this question when I leave a place and it always throws me back to myself and to my own story. If you teach how to achieve a goal, you always have to ask yourself the same question. I really hope you keep going and never forget that you can achieve anything in life, if you go for it with the same amount of passion you gave the Firebird.

Wherever your life takes you, nothing seems to be more important than keeping self respect and respecting other people, trusting the beauty inside to stay with this part within you which wants be a creative, empathetic and proud human being.
In the end it is quite simple. It is all about being responsible for everything you do, every word you say and every movement you share with other people.

Never forget, each of you played your part in the Firebird, and with one missing, it would have been something different. So my heartfelt wish for all of you is that you keep following your dreams and the belief that nothing is impossible. But if you do that, you sometimes might have to go on a road, where you walk alone for quite a while. And maybe there also will appear forks in the road sometimes without signposts telling you in which direction to go. If you then listen to your inner voice, it will tell you.

Love to all,"


Sunday, 4 October 2009

Warm thanks to all supporters and friends of the Firebird

The ambitious‘Firebird’ project has drawn to a highly successful conclusion.

Your vision in supporting this project has been crucial to its implementation and success. We very much appreciate your concern and generosity, which has enabled long-term benefits for the many underprivileged youngsters, who were in our care.

They, through the experience of the “Firebird,” have now become, relatively speaking, the privileged ones. On their behalf, thank you so much.

The intensive training, every day for 6 hours over almost 6 weeks, brought together into one homogeneous whole, one hundred and ten young people, aged between 8 and 25, from Bucharest, Sibiu, Brasov and Ploiesti: 75% from underprivileged backgrounds, 8 with special needs, others -5 of them- deaf and therefore requiring sign language, and yet 15% from a “normal” family background. This time together enabled us to provide for those that needed it medical and dental treatment, clothing and 24 hour care and attention.

The team spirit, mutual respect, enthusiasm and desire to achieve that was created through the training sessions culminated in two stunning performances, one in the National Theatre in Bucharest on September 5th, the other ‘on tour’ in Sibiu, on September 8th. The ten minute standing ovation was in itself a wonderful reward and moved our young artists to tears - indeed the performance itself had moved the audience to tears. And all this was taken up by radio, television, and the press, both in Romania and abroad.

Individually the youngsters grew so tall over the six weeks, discovering - of course - their creative potential but also experiencing the value of self discipline, determination and focus that is required for the successful realisation of any dream.

Their new-found self confidence, sense of responsibility and ability to trust their fellow human beings will bring them personally life long benefits and, hopefully too, Romanian society at large. The process was more important than the performances – brilliant though they were.

The whole experience is unforgettable for all, for some life-changing. You, through your generosity, have initiated untold and long lasting changes. From the bottom of my heart, I wish to express my deep gratitude to you all.

Could I have wished a better birthday present today than the joy to be read on these 110 youngsters´faces?