Era of Dance


During the other half of the eighties the world was electrified. Not just by the power shifts of the Cold War, not just because the Berlin Wall fell, also because something new and exciting was emerging when the blossoming electronic dance music culture of the West met the avant-garde that was lurking behind the Iron Curtain of the East. It’s incredible that the huge cultural upheaval Latvia experienced during that time had mainly a sole architect – Indulis Bilzēns. It’s no less incredible that this story has not until now been covered by documentary film-makers.

This year Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) is to premiere “Era of Dance” – a documentary 4 years in the making by experienced journalist and activist of electronic dance music culture – Viktors Buda. Together with cinematographer Ritvars Bluka the have been hunting for material to reveal this story in Riga, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Amsterdam and London.

The name of German Latvian multimedia artist Indulis Bilzāns may not ring a bell in mainstream culture in today’s Latvia but it was he who started a cultural turmoil here even before the political one. And it continues to influence that special kind of taste contemporary urban culture from Latvia has today. “Era of Dance” tells this story by way of carefully crafted editing of archive footage and by in-depth interviews with those involved and those who experienced this explosion of electronic dance music in the Soviet era. These are Indulis Bilzēns himself, pioneer of rave culture known as Westbam – Maximilian Lenz, one of the movers and shakers of the Latvian Beat style – Roberts Gobziņš who at the time was known as Eastbam, culture theorist and music critic Artemy Troitsky, the inventors of unique Latvian way of deejaying with tape machines – Jānis Krauklis and Uģis Polis, the legendary Detroit techno mogul Derrick May and many others.

“Era of Dance” is a Latvian-Russian co-production by Reflexion Films in collaboration with Kosmos Films and VFS Films.


The premiere at the festival will not only welcome the film-makers. Indulis Bilzēns, Artemy Troitsky and Maximilian Lenz are to arrive in Riga to take part.

The premiere is supported by Goethe-Institut Lettland.

Era of Dance