Daliņš: The Valmiera Drama Theater Performance Celebrating Latvia’s Forgotten Athlete

Valmiera Drama Theater performance “Daliņš”

The beauty is going brilliantly. The Italian Frigerio mentions on the heels, what? Dalins walks well, is the best of all. “I have not eaten a single pint of salt with these men, but here in Los Angeles we have agreed that we are pulling this journey together.”

Heel – toe, toe – heel. The whole performance vibrates to the rhythm of Jānis Daliņš’s steps, and each of the actors embodies the image of a famous pre-war athlete – both the young, middle and old generation of respected actors of the Valmiera Theatre. Both boys and girls.

While the theater building is under repair, performances are held in the quickly created “Kurtuve”, the exercise machine placed in the center of the small hall is an ingenious solution for playing out the greatest sports passions. “In the middle of the second circle, I’m close to fainting, but I’m not going to throw up. I talked to myself that I’ll walk as long as I can. The pain in my chest won’t let go… My body is overheated, the engine is roaring, I’m trying to trick Mother Nature here,” says the walker.

Booklet of the Valmiera Drama Theater performance “Daliņš”.

Photo: Ieva Puķe / Latvian Radio

This year is the 120th birthday of Jānis Daliņas. The first Olympic medal in the history of Latvia, won by the boy born in a farming family on the outskirts of Valmiera in a 50-kilometer walking distance, ahead of his competitors in hellish heat, is still not forgotten. Less well known is the story of Daliņš’s fiasco at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, where he withdrew from the march due to leg cramps, but Adalberts Bubenko won the bronze for Latvia. An even less well-known drama, when the start of the Olympic Games in Helsinki was not possible due to the war, and Daliņš also had to leave Latvia in order to I will dip camps in Germany would end up in Australia. Director Toms Treinis says that the show grew from a small

Daliņš was very hardworking, but quiet, and it is too late to collect the memories of his contemporaries. Bodily sensations play a big role in the play.

“Every year in Valmiera, there is a Jānis Daliņš commemorative march from his home “Daliņi” to Jaunzemi, where he was born. This year, together with several actors, we walked 12 km on the birthday of Jānis Daliņš. It was such a very uplifting moment. We must learn from it. The walker too Arnis Rumbenieks helped in the creation of the show, advised us on the technique,” says the director.

Director Tom Treinis

Photo: Ieva Puķe / Latvian Radio

Actor Januss Johansons, one of the many Jānis Daliņiis in the production, plays on his mobile phone the congratulation of Arni Rumbenieks sent from the foreign training camp – the 35-year-old Latvian sprinter, also from Valmieri, has represented Latvia in three Olympic Games and five world championships.

“It was a pleasure to share the experience, this is such an event that unites culture and sport, it is something unprecedented in Latvia. I wish it was as full of spectators… they are not called stands… halls. Malachi! Great joy!” greeted Rumbinieks. Arni Rumbeniek’s father Aivars is also a walker.

Jānis Daliņš’s lasting contribution is the popularization of not only walking, but folk sports in Latvia, and for many years we didn’t even know about it, emphasizes Januss Johansons: “I am so old that I remember that this word finally started to sound – in 1991, when the stadium was given Daliņš’s name. At first, the name was not allowed to be mentioned. I think that the whole step is the research process – who was the person who brought the silver medal to Latvia.

What strength, what discipline, what courage must be.”

Henriette Verhoustinska, a theater critic we met in Valmiera, admits that the strength of this work is a journey into the world of human abilities: “I was extremely attracted by the eternal march through Los Angeles, which wound through the entire play and was performed by all seven actors of the play. I think it was very valuable, around it overshadowing the rest of the plot.”

Do not lose the inner “Particle”, the inner core in the run. This, while continuing to polish the show, is important for the actors, but also important for the audience.


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