The dedication of Riga International Airport created last August to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way “Gatves Deja on the Airport Runway” has won the prestigious International Public Relations Association (IPRA) industry excellence competition “IPRA Golden World Awards 2020”.
The IPRA Golden World Awards is an annual communications industry excellence competition that rewards the world's best public relations projects and promoters in 37 different categories. In this year's competition, Gatves Deja dance created by Riga Airport triumphed in the category “Event Organization". Airport projects receive this prestigious award for the second year in a row – last year, the joint project of the Airport and the creative agency TBWA\Latvija “Riga Airport Symphony” also received the high award.
“Gatves Deja dance that we danced on the Airport runway in the morning of the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way was heartfelt work of the entire airport staff, dancers and technical staff. Each and every of the thousands of spectators who watched on their screens as 100 dancers from Mārupe and Babīte municipalities danced one of our most beautiful national dances under the flags of the three Baltic States could feel it,” says Laura Kulakova, Head of the Communication Unit at Riga Airport. "The emotions we gained and gave with this dance have not disappeared today. It is impossible to forget what was said by Dainis Īvāns, leader of the National Awakening movement: “The Baltic Way was a turning point, a turning point in our hearts, we became determined, brave, we became proud. And it is why today everything in Latvia belongs to us. We can go wherever we want, there is a free Baltic sky above our heads. Today I am greeting you once again on the runway of the free state of Latvia. We are standing on the Baltic Way, we continue the Baltic Way, and we are still flying towards freedom.” I am very proud that with this project we can bring the story of freedom of Latvia into the world, a story showing that with the strength of spirit and song it is possible to overcome even the rudest power and that nothing can stop the desire for freedom.
”The Baltic Way took place on 23 August 1989, when two million inhabitants of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia joined their hands connecting the capitals of the Baltic States – Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius – with a 675.5 kilometre long human chain to commemorate the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed on 23 August 1939 between Germany and the USSR, and to support each other in the struggle for the common goal of regaining the independence of the Baltic States. This unprecedented act of non-violent resistance drew worldwide attention to the occupation of the Baltic States and became a symbol of the independence movement.
The dance was Riga Airport's dedication to Latvia on the thirtieth anniversary the Baltic Way, symbolically linking the past and the future and recalling the unity of the three Baltic States, both back then when two million people joined hands to show the world their commitment to regain freedom and today, when the Iron Curtain has long since fallen and Riga, as the central hub for air traffic, connects the Baltics with the whole world.
The dance Gatves deja has been chosen for this unique performance because, as the dancers themselves say, it is the dance of all dances – a very simple and yet the most vivid revelation of the essence of the Latvian national dance. Originally it was a wedding dance, with the majestic stature, the beauty of the national dresses and the nobleness of movements reflecting the promise that a man and a woman give to each other – to make the life noble, beautiful and full of light. Today, Gatves deja conveys a much deeper message, symbolizing the power of people, self-confidence and pride for their homeland, which has allowed the Latvian people to preserve their national values and faith in their country through wars, occupations and deportations.
Four dance groups – 100 dancers - from the Airport's local community Mārupe and Babīte participated in the dance on the runway; they were dressed in the national costumes of the four historical regions of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale and Zemgale. After the performance, the dancers shared their emotions and pride for the opportunity to greet their country on such a special event.
More than 70 Airport employees, almost 20 technical staff of partners and more than 100 dancers and their leaders gave their contribution to this performance. Thanks to careful preparation, rigorous planning and coordinated actions of all the Airport services involved, the performance, including installation of broadcasting and audio equipment, could be prepared in just over half an hour between two flights, without delaying any flight.
The performance was filmed with multiple cameras and also from a drone and was live-streamed in social networks and several major Latvian internet portals.
Riga Airport is a fast-growing Northern European air traffic hub. Riga Airport served more than 7.8 million passengers in 2019. The Cirium study recognized Riga Airport as the fourth most punctual airport in the world in 2019.