ESSERE CREATIVO, THE INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE FOR INDEPENDENT CHOREOGRAPHERS AT HANGARTFEST

by Katharina Pfeffer and Vanessa Gonçalves (EVS Volunteers / Vicolocorto) (photo C&C)

 

This Sunday was held the showcase Essere Creativo at the Teatro Sperimentale in Pesaro. The next week Hangartfest will end with laboratories and performance for children.
When we arrived, everything was looking very professional and well organized. A lot of people were waiting outside and inside in the line to get their tickets. Going down the stairs, everyone was handed a program guide, and when they entered the show room (cinema hall), they were guided to their seats by attendants. Slowly, the room was filling with people, curious about the upcoming performance.
The program guide let us know that more than 90 acts applied for this showcase, and that the 5 performances this evening were chosen by a commission composed by Gilberto Santini (director of AMAT), Bruce Michelson (artist and Italian correspondent for the magazine Dance Europe), Carmelo Antonio Zapparrata (journalist and dance critic) and Antonio Cioffi (director of Hangartfest). Partners of the showcase are AMAT and two Norvegian festivals: Ravnedans (co-directed by Maren Fidje Biorneseth) and Sanafestivalen (directed by the choreographer Ingvild Isaksen).
After reading the introductions, the lights went off and the performances started.

 

Ialemos/ When there is nothing else to mourn, you have to mourn yourself
by and with Sonia Ntova
live music and singing: Marina Tantanozi and Spyros Theodoridis

The audience sat, the curtain opened up and we were immediately confronted with a frozen scene, a kind of photography: two performers (a guitarist and a singer), discreetly placed behind on the right side of the stage, and a third performer right in the front on the left side. This last performer (the dancer) was standing inside of a levitating jacket, hanging on a rope like a marionette.

The show started. A light focus illuminated the front performer moving anxiously inside of the suspended jacket, looking like she wanted to escape from it. At the same time, a soundscape emerged from the two musicians in the background. One playing guitar with distortion and using a prerecorded rhythm of drums, another making sound effects with the voice, singing and making a frozen position of a person who screams, but without any sound coming out.

As it says in the description of the show “Ialemos/ When there is nothing else to mourn, you have to mourn yourself”, it´s a song of sorrow, a latent protest, with its roots in the past, a whispering voice of the soul that wants to become a scream”.

The whole atmosphere created brought us to an ancestral ritual scene, slightly dark and full of tension. Along the show the dancer continued to move inside the coat, increasing the speed and intensity of the movements, as someone in pain who just wanted to escape from this second skin, maybe a metaphor of “the oppression”.

At a certain point she liberated herself of the coat and started to dance ferociously, moving all over the space, transmitting a mixture of feelings between anxiety and relief .The musicians developed the music in symbiosis with the dancer, sometimes guiding her, sometimes also responding to her movements.

The ending was minimalist and sublime, the dancer rested on the ground, the guitarist stopped playing, all the lights went off and only the singer remained, singing a sad song of sorrow (in Greek) while walking off the stage.

 

Tracing Spaces
by Feet Off the Ground Dance Company
with Robyn Holder, Lucia Chocarro, Sophie Thorpe and Patricia Zafra

First of all I think it is important to have a brief description of the work developed by the dance company:

Feet Off the Ground Dance Company is a company that makes exhibitions with performances in unusual contexts and in non-conventional spaces. Their work is rooted in the style of Contact Improvisation, created by Steve Paxton in 1970 in New York. This is a creative, funny, acrobatic, energetic and unpredictable type of dance. This company creates physical performances, structured and exciting, that allow the public to experience contemporary dance in new contexts.

This was truly a “vibrant and bracing dance”, very different from the first one. Without a story or an exploitation of a specific emotion. Mainly based on the exploration of the movement, the four dancers performed an impressive and breathtaking choreography. Four bodies interacting organically, establishing a conversation, a game of “call-answer” developed mostly in couples (exchanging between them), but always giving a collective sense to the whole scene.

The space seemed never empty; we could see circles of energy drawn from side to side, from the earth to the sky, from the start to the end of the performance. A vibrant show.

 

Maria Addolorata
by C&C Company
with Chiara Taviani and Carlo Massari

The third performance was called “Maria Addolorata”. It was choreographed and performed by C&C, a collaboration of two independent artists, Carlo Massari and Chiara Taviani. As we could read, it was an investigation on really painful events. A journey of two beings, socially identifiable or not, trying to survive in the outside world, handling the events and themselves. They weren´t telling a story but explored a huge universal theme, without rules, unexpected.

The pain is one of those rare real, original, primordial sensations.
It is a fact: we get hurt.
It is part is of a life engine that constitutes the human being; we experience it, we do it, we express it constantly: it is a form of communication.
It is not a simply question of sensibility, the body machine involves itself also in the pain; this becomes almost a daily part of our lives, common to anyone at different levels. Skins and voices express themselves differently, but the pain is something pure and hard, unique and universal. Whether it is physical or intangible you cannot avoid it, no half measures then.

The performance started a little bit melodramatic, with the two dancers dressed up like they were on a funeral, crying, sobbing, sniffing into tissues. They were suffering very visibly, totally caught in their pain. After a while of crying, they broke free from their costumes and started demonstrating different kinds of ways to deal with pain: drinking, getting apathetically lost in pain, needing help and rejecting help. Every action seemed to be somehow familiar; everyone has a different way of dealing with pain or suffering.
Even though the topic was rather desolate, they managed to present it in a very entertaining way, making the audience laugh several times. It was very entertaining and at the same time very interesting to see how they adapted the thought of pain into their performance.

 

TempoPelle
by and with Clementina Verrocchio and Matteo Principi

“TempoPelle” was the name of the fourth act, choreographed and performed by Clementina Verrocchio and Matteo Principi. The project started from the observation that, in the relationship between two individuals, today the most common attitudes are mistrust and detachment, behaviors that lead to create defensive walls and isolation. Everyone lives in a “bubble” where they only have eyes for their own aspirations or wishes. The others are part of self standing worlds and they all seem to be unaware of how the other one and the others can be resources rather than something to be resisted. The real revolution today is the search for the other, open up to the possibility of the knowledge of their world, their bubble, to come in and get through visions, their way of being and their experiences, in a mutual exchange that let them both enrich themselves.

They implemented the idea very well: it was very visible that they weren’t really interacting at the beginning, both of them were moving in their own space, exploring the stage, there was no touching or acting together. At some point they became closer, it looked like they were blocking the way of the other, interfering and chasing at the same time. After that continued for a while, they finally approached each other in a calm way, almost touching very gently. They gave each other support, and it seemed like they finally grew closer and were about to leave the stage together, but then Matteo decided to go his own way, let go of Clementina’s hand and left the stage at the other side.
For me, it was very intense to watch the different stages of their relationship: first it was very lonely and isolated, then they moved together and at the end parted again.

 

(zero) work in progress – estratto
by and with Cuenca Lauro

The last performance, called “(zero) work in progress – estratto”, was directed by Elisabetta Lauro and performed by herself together with César Augusto Cuenca Torres.
The description left us without any idea of how the performance could look like, but we were very curious:

We left to go, and then we let go. We continued to turn in the orbit, around each other, without having anything to aim for. We found ourselves upside down, distant and alone, a millimeter from the ground, with the center too high, and to little weight. We were completely caught in the dance. The vortex of zero had canceled all certainties; it demolished our structures, as a hurricane does it to a house, and left us so, eradicated and exposed, alien to ourselves and the world we inhabit.
Now we continue to undertake efforts searching for a fixed point that may not even exist. But in the end, even the roots are never still, never fixed: they dig in, dig up, emerge, sink, disrupt. And the same tree, believed to grow in linearity into the sky, has his life under the ground in a crazy pattern, a maze of directions. It is there that he moves his fate, and perhaps in this mobility the essence of each being is realized. In the nullification, where everything is fugitive and ephemeral, the true life which has no form is unfolded.

The piece started with the two performers dancing slowly together on a little hill of earth that was built on the stage. The light was dimmed, and also the clothes of the dancers were earth-colored, conveying a very calm and intimate feeling.
After a while, their dance grew faster and faster, but they never let go of the others hand. Because their dance involved a lot of turns, it lead to some abstract twisting of their arms. Their fast movements left them looking exhausted and disoriented, but they still held on to the hand of the other.
Finally, they started moving alone on the stage, but they were still connected through their movements: everything they did was totally synchronous.
When their movements became slower, it looked like the performance was going to end, but instead they started again, this time moving more independent, not touching all the time. They were working more with the space that they had, on the ground, running in the corners. Even though they were not toughing all the time, you could still feel a very intense connection between them, especially at the end of the performance.
Of all the performances, this piece was the most abstract and hardest to understand for me. But at the same time it was very beautiful to watch the two dancers interact, just letting myself getting carried away by what I saw.
This evening was a very great way to end our work with the Hangartfest, leaving us breathless, inspired and impressed by all the skills and work that we saw. Thank you to Hangartfest for letting us be part of it!

Katharina Pfeffer and Vanessa Gonçalves

ETHEROTOPIE, A PIECE ABOUT THE SEVERAL MEANINGS OF SPACE

by Shawita Parag (EVS Volunteer / Vicolocorto)

On the 12th of September Michela Rosa performed an interesting piece at the Rossini Conservatory of Music in Pesaro. Her performance was called ‘Etherotopie’, which means ‘Heterotopia’.

SPACE – the meaning of heterotopia

Heterotopia is a concept elaborated by the philosopher Michel Foucault to describe spaces that are in between, which are neither here nor there, that are simultaneously physical and mental. Such as the space of a theatre, where the theatre itself is a physical space, however the movie is projected and is mentally taken in by the viewer. Since the viewer is not actually in the place where the scene was shot, (s)he is therefore neither in the theatre nor in the movie, but in between.

SPACE – the meaning of the universe

The Osservatorio Astronomico Valerio of Pesaro, an observatory where you can look into the depth of the universe (space) and gaze at stars through a dome, is also a heterotopia. The observatory is in between the earth and the unlimited universe. Also the universe itself is a heterotopia, as unknown celestial bodies that quickly run through space and vanish in the depth of it offer us an imaginary universe where we can live in and that has multiple routes that go deeply within space.

SPACE – the meaning of sound

Inspired by the sounds of the universe and of the observatory (the gear wheel of the dome), the sound track for the performance was made. The music that was played during the performance is called spatial music, which is also translated as space music. Spatial music is connected with electro acoustic music and is created through synchronizers by which sound is distorted and manipulated. Through this technique sounds of void, depth and movement can be created.

An interesting coincidence was that the performance was held in a room called SPACE (Sound Projection Ambisonic Controlled Environment). Eugenio Giordani, who is the director of the Experimental Eletronic Music Department of the Rossini Conservatory of Music in Pesaro, explained to us that this room is very special, because it contains an ambisonic technique and moreover, is the first ambisonic room in Italy. Ambisonics is a full-sphere surround sound technique: in addition to the horizontal plane, it covers sound sources above and below the listener, which means that you can project sounds in any direction of the sphere. It is like having a 3D effect in sound. Besides that, the room matches the concept of heterotopia, as SPACE is a place that is like a theatre, where the people in the room are in between reality and unreality.

SPACE – in the meaning of the performance

The poetry of the mixture of these different components (the universe, heterotopian spaces and spatial music) blend into a unique composition, developed by Anthony Di Furia, to which the performer Michela Rosa simply added the movement of the body. The movements were slow, subtle, intriguing and mysterious. The subtle spatial music sounds floated inside the dark ambisonic room SPACE and made us not only spectators, but actors in a performance, experiencing the sound of heterotopia.

STUDENTS FROM TRINITY LABAN ON STAGE AT HANGARTFEST IN PESARO

by Katharina Pfeffer and Shawita Parag (EVS Volunteers / Vicolocorto) / (photo: Clementine Telesfort / by Umberto Dolcini)

Sunday 7th September 2014 was dedicated to the young students of Trinity Laban, selected by Masako Matsushita and Paolo Paggi in London. The project was presented at the XI edition of Hangartfest in Pesaro with the collaboration of the prestigious Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance.

The students are all at the end of their second year there and this was their chance to perform their piece which they created over the year. They were between 19 and 25 years old, and you could really feel the passion that they have for what they do.
The performance was divided into 6 short pieces, each performed by either one artist or a group. Each piece was different from the one before, and we were all totally fascinated by the fact that the dancers already have so much knowledge and can interpret so much at their young age. After the performances, we also had the chance to talk to some of the young artists, to hear about their piece and also about their lives.

HYPERION

By and with Jean-Baptiste Baele

This performance was an outcome of the solo Hyperion presented in Laban Studio Theatre and originally taught in reaction to the constant oppression that influences the personality and liberty of every individual. This piece assumes a different perspective in the context of Hangartfest, as an improvisation.
During the performance, it seemed like he was constantly fighting with himself, one hand pushing back the other, trying to control himself – it seemed like a very personal, intimate story that he was telling the audience.

NOMAD´S LAND

The second piece was choreographed by Laura Ganotis from Brussels and presented by Irene Ingebretsen, Lindsey Nakorn, Gina Ricker and Natalie Sloth Richter. The description gave us some indications about what the piece was about:
Taking all their belongings wherever they go, the nomads represent the idea of belonging. The research is guided by how the concept of belonging can change us in a progressive way rather than in an obstructive way. Nomad´s land is an exploration that made us understand the need of both the individuality and being together.
During the performance, the four women who were all dressed equally, implemented the idea of a nomadic life by creating circles, building bridges, walking and running. The perfomance also showed some problems that one can face when entering a country or community that they haven’t been in touch with before, how to integrate themselves and how to find their place in the community. This was shown e.g. by three of the artists creating a circle, and one trying to enter, or by creating bridges where one of them had to walk over.

Interview with Lindsay Nakorn

At what age and why did you decide to start at Trinity Laban?
I started at the age of 22, because I did a lot of previous training as a community education dancer. I was teaching youth groups and adult groups to get people interested into movement and creation as a hobby, and for the younger children to give them the opportunity to feel passionate about something that isn’t necessarily academia or in a class room. I did that for a few years and it was really fulfilling, but I was quite young when I was teaching, and I wanted more for myself. Trinity Laban is very open with dance artists. It doesn’t just train ballerinas or contemporary performers, but also produces choreographers, film artists, sculptors, producers, journalists, teachers. They teach you to be an artist, rather than just a dancer.

Tonight you were in the piece ‘Nomad’s Land’. Can you tell us what it was about and what you wanted to express?
‘Nomad’s Land’ was choreographed by Laura Ganotis (dancer from Italy). She travelled quite a lot, speaks five languages and has grown up in Greece, Italy and Belgium. Her piece is about nomadism and feeling at home wherever your home happens to be at that time. A lot of the dancers here can relate to that. We travelled a fair bit and we all moved to London for the course at Trinity Laban. So whilst you are doing the course, you are trying to adjust to a new city, a new social circle and a new culture. The piece is about taking yourself with you wherever you go and being yourself in whatever environment you are in.
We performed the piece with four dancers, and what three of us were doing while making a closed circle were really ritualistic movements. It is like the basis of culture in terms of how a lot of places have a lot of history. If you enter a situation where you are surrounded by people who for many generations have done things a certain way, you are the first generation of yourself and your family to arrive there. As an outsider you might not know the history or be part of the history or even able to relate to it. So it is definitely about that kind of being together in this part of the culture and feeling strong in what you do, but also not entirely feeling part of the collective.

I ARE

“You are deeper and more real than anything you can perceive, imagine or conceive. As long as you conceive yourself, you are not yet achieved, you live in the superficiality of yourself.” (Henri Le Saux)

The third piece was by Clementine Telesfort from France. As the prescription said, it was a self-portrait that reflects on the connection between body and being and a travel in the consciousness of the boundless nature in the limits of our space and time. The action of being in that precise moment becomes governess of everything.
She started the performance by entering the dark stage with a strong light, trying to find her way. She then found a tree and some leaves that were lying on the ground, and started to interact with them. Afterwards, she measured her body, it seemed like she was trying to find out who she was, trying to find her way “out of the darkness”.

INTIMATE RECALL

The fourth piece by and with Christopher Spraggs from the UK was a self portrait in progress that investigates the subjugation of the self to its own memory and its own sensory explorations making possible live again the experienced. The piece uses the perceptions of the self imagined, which are possible through a majestic and evocative vocal score.
For the audience, it was a very interactive piece. The artist asked everyone to stand on the stage, leaving a small circle for him to perform in. He then started moving along with the music, which also included some spoken indication, e.g “now tilt your head back”. He followed the indication, but also included the people around by looking at them and continued his show according to their reactions.

SCIENCE OF STILL

The following piece was choreographed by Lindsey Nakorn and performed by Jean Baptiste Marie Baele, Laura Ganotis, Irene Ingebretsen, Gina Ricker, Natalie Sloth Richter and Clementine Telesfort

Exploring the relationship between the sound, the resonance of the frequency and the human body, Science of Still is a research about how the sound gives a shape to the relation with the others and with the space that surrounds us. Uniting and at the same time isolating, the sound comes to move us physically and emotionally in ways that we can’t control and predict.
For me as a viewer, this piece was the very interesting and at the same time a little hard to understand. The group was moving almost all the time, running in circles or lying on the ground and moving. Repetitively, the group of dancers was somehow handing one dancer from one to another, as if she needed their support. Later we found out that she represented the sound that was reflected by the others.

Interview with Lindsey Nakorn, the choreographer of ‘Sience of still’

After presenting Nomad’s Life, you choreographed ‘Science of still’. Can you tell us more about that piece?
The second piece ‘Science of still’ started off as an exploration of sound in a very scientific way. Sound influences the body and there are a lot of vibrations and resonances that the human ear cannot pick up, but you can feel them anyway. For example, when someone enters a room you can feel that something is wrong. Or sometimes you can get an awkward feeling around someone, even if you don’t know the person. That just means that your inner vibration is clashing with the other person’s vibration. So, apart from objects, our bodies and our relationships as well are being affected by sound.
In the performance we started off by one of us representing a sound and the rest of us representing different objects. Sounds move through space, but if they are interrupted by something they will change their course or effect what is being hit and then that will make a sound. So one person was shaping the space by opening up the way sound travels and we tried showing how people affected by it react.

EPHEMERAL GROUND

A collection of spaces
A body that moves… trying to remember
Spaces left in the past, images, reinvented.
The sounds evoke and the silence resists.

The last piece was by and with Samara Dubois from France. It started very silent and calm. On the floor, Masako had prepared a circle of four cloths for her, and she performed on all of them, using almost spiritual sounding music. On the first one, she stayed very silent, moving a little bit. On the second one, the movement got heavier, almost angry, while on the third one, she ended by lying down in a fetal position, while we could hear her own voice talking in French over the speakers. After performing on the fourth clothe, the lights went off and when they came back on, she had disappeared from the stage. We later found out that each of the clothes represented a memory or feeling to her, and she reacted to these memories or feelings with her body and movements.

Interview with Samara Dubois

How did you start dancing and end up at Trinity Laban?
I started dancing from the age of three or four. My mother travels around, so I pretty much followed her. So my dance training was a bit everywhere. I guess it got me to understand what really interested me. I have been dancing for a long time, but started doing contemporary dance when I was around sixteen. In Australia and France I met an older generation of teachers who were in their 50’s or 60’s and were trained at Laban. They were giving workshops and I got interested in the school, but also in the importance that was given to choreography. Laban was pretty much the only school I really wanted to go to. So I decided to apply.

Why did you choose to come to Hangartfest?
Masako Matsushita, a freelance dancer who was also trained at Trinity Laban, came to the school about three or four years ago. She had come to watch performances and ended up appreciating it. She wanted to keep in touch and therefore invited us here. It is quite special in the sense that it is always good for a community of artist to support each other. I also find it important that generations of dancers keep in touch.

Your performance is called ‘Ephemeral Ground’. Can you describe what you wanted to express?
It’s a developed work on a self portrait. I used four cloths which I laid down on the floor and on each cloth I performed a piece. Every cloth represents a fragment of either memory or sensations that I gathered. So it’s like a collage, a gathering of fragments of memory and feeling. There are some meaningful images for me that I embody and that goes with feelings and emotions. There is something different in each cloth that I’m trying to give out to the audience and at the same time the audience can receive something different out of it.

Can you give an example of something that is connected to one of the cloths? Yes, what was quite a challenge in this performance was that every cloth had a different creative process. I worked on one cloth at the time and I put them all together in the end. For example with one cloth, that ended up having a very still choreography, I used the recording of my own voice. The sound fragment was a part of an interview on a text I had written about my childhood. In that specific answer I was talking about my mother.

I remember the starting point was the recording and the cloth. Then my aim was to respond to that physically, but what happened and what I find really interesting is that the memory of my mother completely took over to the point of me surrendering myself, wanting to stay truly honest to the way I was experiencing the voice and that memory. So instead of using a lot of movement, I just laid down in a fetal position, because that was what it evoked in me.

Something that we are encouraged to talk and think about as dance students is how to stay honest in the piece that you are performing. How to make the difference between being honest and doing something that is pretty to look at. Finding that balance is something that I was trying. I was trying to keep a sense of poetry and at the same time make everything still.

THE ALIENS: MASAKO MATSUSHITA’S FOCUS ON THE EUROPEAN CONTEMPORARY SCENE

by Katharina Pfeffer (EVS Volunteer / Vicolocorto) / (photo: Erik Nevin, by Umberto Dolcini)

Saturday 6th September 2014, the official opening day of the XI edition of Hangartfest presented “Aliens”, a project by Masako Matsushita that hosted artists from all over Europe.
The objective is to make visible the diversities in the contemporary dance, the performance, the stage, and the way to take the viewers for a walk in this apparently so far away universe.
“From my education to my professional job, traveling has been a necessity that brought me to relocate me from one part of the world to another, where I got to know people and artists different from one another, everyone with their own special world. This constant change of places, concourses, new realities and being an artist is an ingredient that brings together, makes one feel part and not part, stranger and intimate, alone and together, People and Aliens.”
There were three works proposed for this second step of the project, were artists with different professions research what is the use of the body in motion.
“Aliens” is a balancing act on the European panorama of the contemporary performing arts.

So this was the official transcription of what was going to await us – we were really curious!

When we arrived at Hangart at 8 pm, we were given the official Hangart T-Shirts and were now part of the staff – what a great feeling!

Vanessa helped the staff with setting up the last things before the performance started, while Shawita and I watched the people around us and also got to see a short video-performance by Curandi Katz.
When the performance started, we were guided into a room with some benches and a stage that was even to the floor. Everyone sat down, Masako Matsushita welcomed the audience and said a few words about the structure of the performance (there was a break in between every of the 3 performances). And then, it could start.
After the performances, there was the possibility to eat Piadina and talk to each other, but also to the artists. We used this opportunity and had some short interviews with the artists about their work.

SONATA IN 3 MOVEMENTS

The first performance was called “Sonata in 3 movements” and was choreographed by Cornelia Voglmayr and presented by the British musician Benjamin Hooper and the Italian dancer Elisa Vassena.
As we could read before, the Sonata was a study on the social conventions that developed in a series of orderly expectation in the context of a classical concert. The performance is an exploration of trying to unsettle / overthrow tight conventions and fixed structures.
Based on this research, the relation between music and motion becomes clear. Who is now the musician and who is the dancer? Can the movement compose the music instead of the opposite?

The performance started with the musician and his Viola lying on the ground. Suddenly, Elisa started clapping in the audience and went to the stage. Together, they started moving, playing the Viola, filling in the negative spaces that the other one left, and sharing the play (one had the instrument, the other one the bow).
After a few minutes, they had a break in the movement, where Elisa started to try to explain to Benjamin how to play his instrument. They managed to show this in a very funny way, joking and making it seem like a comedy. Benjamin tried to do what she told him, but with the Viola in his hands his movements were not like Elisa wanted them to be, so she gave up and they started moving together again. Sometime later, they had another break were they just laid on the floor talking to each other – the viewers didn’t know if they were really making a break because it was part of the performance or because they just needed one and felt like resting for a moment.
At the end of the performance, they didn’t wait for their applause but just suddenly disappeared from the stage.
In my opinion, they really implemented their plan of breaking with conventions and tight rules of the classical concerts and performances. There is no sudden clapping or breaks, and most surely nobody just disappears at the end of the performance – well done!

Interview with Elisa Vassena:

How did you get the idea of performing here? Were you asked to come?
Yes, we are actually friends with Masako, who was organizing the event, and she decided the program and put together some pieces, and I was in one of the ones that she chose to invite.

Do you have a goal with your artwork? What do you want to make the people think of?
Well, I mean this one that I just performed is not my choreography, but of course it’s a reflection on etiquette in concerts and theatres, so it’s an exploration of these rules that are behind every show and making a show, and I think the goal is to awaken a bit the audience. There is this really nice swapping role between me and the musician: Who is having which role, is it actually happening? Is it a real break? Are you actually watching and seeing the show?”

How was working with Benjamin, who is not a dancer but a musician?
It’s so interesting to see an untrained body, the responses that come are a lot more honest, because of course as a dancer you have a lot of training, and it takes a lot to take that down and find again your, well, honesty. And surprise yourself again, because you’re so used to your own tendency. I find it really inspiring to work with him.

Interview with Cornelia Voglmayr

Why did you choose the Viola?
Because the Violin is too expensive (laughs). And the Viola was because it was the instrument that he (Benjamin) had and he could use. Also it has two parts, you can play with it, with the bow and the Violin there are a lot of possibilities of combination.
And I wanted a proper classical instrument, to underline the breaking of conventions of a classical concert, so I wanted to have the setting kind of the same, but turn it upside down.
Can you be a bit more specific about the conventions that you wanted to break?
Well it started off with the conventions of a classical concert, the etiquette – people don’t clap in between the pieces, they know exactly what is going to happen.
Actually I got the idea from a friend. We went to a classical concert. I go to classical concerts quite a lot, and I went to this one with a friend, she really loved it, and she clapped after the first movement, and you know – people don’t do that, people know the pieces – and she was really enthusiastic, clapping out loud, and there was this huge concert hall, and everyone was shocked, like wow, such an embarrassing moment, and I thought: “Why is this actually so embarrassing? It’s beautiful that she is so excited about it.” And that was when I realized that the conventions in a classical concerts are always repeated, we clap, people sit down, at the and the artists bow – so I took that as an inspiration to start off with, and then I also got interested in how can we break all this conventions of movement, like the fact that music provokes movement. I wanted to turn it around, ask: How can movement also make music? And I also wanted to break this convention of musician and dancer, like how can we put that together. […] And I loved the fact that he (Benjamin) has to move in order to produce a certain sound, it was an investigation.

 

SIDE BY SIDE

After a short break, the second performance started. It was performed by two women, Harriet Parker-Beldeau from the UK and Sivan Rubinstein from Israel.
In the program the performance had a headline: “People want their freedom but are not sure what to do with it.” (Clive Hamilton, the Freedom Paradox). Furthermore, it explained what we were about to see:
Side by side is an ongoing research of questioning oneself about our concept of liberty, which the duo explores, investigating the silence of that very same. The two artists put in discussion the individual ownership and the concept of the freedom inside of their collaboration situated in “un angolo insolito”. So is the sense of freedom more accessible if you are limited or if you are unlimited?

The performance itself was very intense. They projected two movies on the wall, in which the two artists danced, moved, just tried to act with the space that they had. The movies were always shot in a very wide and unlimited surrounding.
At the same time, they were standing in front of the projections, moving very slowly and synchronously in a very limited spot on the stage.
You could feel a lot of tension in their slow movement, you always expected something to happen, but it never did, the tension stayed.
So the contrast between the wide and unlimited freedom in the videos and the limited and controlled movements on stage was very visible.

Interview with Sivan Rubinstein and Harriet Parker-Beldeau

What was your goal when creating your performance? What is your message?
Sivan
: The first thing was to keep the honesty and keep being true to the piece and to ourselves, and also to our way of working and sticking to it.
Harriet: I would say we didn’t have the direct intention that it has to be performed and shown, it was a research that turned into a performance.
Sivan: We can tell you what the piece is about.

Yes, that would be really nice!
Sivan
: The piece is about the Freedom Paradox, which is a big philosophy and question. It speaks about us as a human being – When we have the full freedom, we feel a little bit blocked and don’t pick up any option, but when we are very limited in our possibilities, we find our freedom, to explore ourselves, to create, to make, to keep doing. And in this paradox, we try to explore what is the right way to go, how we can control it. It’s a big problem that the young generation is having today, and they are saying that the biggest threat that we have is the media, because it’s showing us all of those possibilities all the time, but it’s coming above us and it takes us down. So we tried to take all those elements and explore it on ourselves and be true to it.

What was the video part about? Did you divide the piece into what you two did and what the video showed?
Harriet: The videos are a compilation of videos that we sent to each other. It was a task that we had, that was just to move in the space and record. The only structure was that it had to be in open space, so it was a way of communicating for us, because Sivan was in Tel Aviv and I was in Kent. So for months we wouldn’t see each other, so it was a way of expressing ourselves and what we were researching through the year. And for us this shows that unlimited freedom.
Sivan: Because it is truly improvisation, you can do whatever, you can also not move, you can sing if you want, there are no rules there, which speaks a lot about freedom. And then in the space (stage) we do the opposite, it is very limited, doesn’t have much movement, very synchronizing , so you can’t really do whatever you want to do right now.

How did you meet each other?
Sivan: We studied together, in London, in Laban.
Harriet: But we had a moment!!
Sivan: Do you want to hear about the moment?
Harriet: It is literally like that, we were improvising, and we found something, it was like a hug.
Sivan: It was a commission work for another choreographer, and then we had two more projects together that we were performing together and we kept touring with that, and then we decided we want to create something together.

And you communicate through videos when you don’t see each other?
Sivan: Well, lots of Whatsapp (Laughter) Write that down, lots of Whatsapp! Viber.
Harriet: Viber and Whatsapp are our best friends!
Sivan: Yeah, we had short sessions of working in London and Kent, we performed that piece in Denmark and in Leicester in the UK, but mostly we were apart, so we kept doing these videos, which weren’t supposed to be on the show. It was our own thing, but then we noticed we actually had something good there, which was a very vulnerable thing to do, because when you just put your iPhone and you do whatever you want to do, you are not sure you want to show it. But we did! We just went with that.

Are you going to perform your piece another time, somewhere else?
Sivan
: Yes! We are working mostly in London, Harriet is also working in Kent and I’m also working in Tel Aviv, and that’s the life of the freelancer, packing your suitcase and traveling around for the next project.

GATHERING FIRE 

Gathering fire was the last piece of the evening, and it was by and with Erik Nevin.
The explanation of the piece was:
Researching the enormous clearness, Erik initiates a travel full of ways of movements. In some parts like a master of Yoga, in some parts like a soldier vagabond, Erik is researching the belonging of significance. While creating personal rituals influenced by the New Age, philosophy, religion, and many different traditions regarding fire, Gathering Fire is a physical exploration of hearing, of how the instincts of our existence can appear, leading our actions and how they can become necessary in certain situations.

The show itself was very interactive. Erik asked us to come to the stage and sit in a circle around him. When everything was like he wanted it to be, he started turning, slowly at first, then faster. He was moving very abruptly, fast and energetic. At a certain point he started running, asking some people to stand up. He got more and more frantic in his running, until he screamed “Sit down”, and then slowly started to calm down, slowing his motions, until he was crawling in the floor, reaching the outskirts of the circle and sitting down between the audience.
Everyone seemed a little confused by what was going on, but when we interviewed him afterwards, his motives and actions became clearer.

Interview with Erik Nevin

So you created this art piece that you just performed?
Yes

Okay, and what did you think when creating it, what was your goal?
Well it started from a desire to create something where I was challenging my own natural habits a bit, but also I really wanted to explore how I could stand my ground as a person and as a dancer, so I firmed myself and somehow hold on to my believes, and what was necessary – physically, of me doing that. So that was the research, exploring physicality.

Can I ask, why did you ask us to sit on stage?
Because I like the circle, it’s a kind of holding the energy very well, and also for myself I didn’t see this piece as a traditional frontal performing thing, because in one way it is selfish, and in another way it is really much performing for others. And also I had this image of sitting around a fire.

And with the standing up and sitting down?
Yes, that is just a game that I enjoy, it is fun, and also I was looking at different situations and how they affect me, and dealing with the audience or telling people to do something, for me it affects me somehow, because usually I don’t tell people what to do so much.

So it is out of your comfort zone?
Not so much actually, I feel comfortable, but it forces me to engage a bit differently.

Because it was strange, you asked people to stand up, and then you walked around and got really angry and said “Please, sit down”
Yeah, because during this research, I became interested in listening to my intuition. When I ask people “stand up”, that is quite exiting, so I experience this exciting energy and movement, so I start running, but that’s very tiring, so the effect of that is that I get tired, but I wanted to keep going because I feel quite strong, so I developed a different kind of movement, and then I get very tired but trying to keep going and then it becomes this very bound movement.

And then you ask people to sit down to give yourself a break
Yes, to move on and give them a break.

So this piece is also a lot about improvisation?
Yeah, there is quite a lot of improvisation in there, but it’s still structured in its path. Because I became very interested in what was happening inside, and that could take me somewhere.

How did you start dancing? How did you come to this kind of performance?
How I started dancing…I started in my teenage years, and then I went on to study many different styles and classes, and then I went to London and started the course at Trinity Laban, 3 years, and then I stayed in London and worked a bit, and through different teachers and different works and people I have been exploring my own interests and how I create, so it’s just a journey.

Did you take part in this workshops that Hangart created with the students of this school?
Yes, I gave one class, and then I took part in the other classes as just a participant, because each of us gave one class.

And did you like the collaboration with the students?
Yes, it was nice to have different people, and you get challenged a bit, because sometimes you get so used to working with the same people with a similar background and similar knowledge, which can be great because you can go in a certain direction, but if you have people who are maybe studying in a different way or who have different experiences, you get different stimulations coming in, different thoughts and different reactions.

Did you enjoy performing here?
Yes, it was great, I had a great time, I wasn’t sure how many people were going to come, so it was nice to have a good crowd and different people, there was a nice vibe. Also we were really good taken care of by Hangart.

Thank you to all the artists who patiently answered all our questions! Your show was great!