The 12th edition of the International Contemporary Dance Festival Body/Mind will feature the work of Polish debutants and outstanding European choreographers. They will be presenting their achievements to the audience, says festival director Edyta Kozak, in the hopes of stimulating reflection on what inspires and drives tomorrow's artists.
The International Contemporary Dance Festival Body/Mind (C/U) has served as an important point of engagement between audiences and artists. For 10 years it has been known for experimentation and testing new dance forms of dance. Performances range from those admiring classical style and 20th-century dance history, to those that look at the role of emotions in avant-garde artists and invite the audience to confront the taboo of exclusion. Serving as a pretext for this discussion will be 12 controversial, carefully selected performances from Poland, France, Switzerland, Spain and Canada. Premieres involve international co-productions, multimedia and musical performances, miniature theatre and declarations on staging.
Artistic director Kozak told Culture.pl in an interview,
I want to trigger a reflection on the quality of the presence and the role of a spectator in the theatre. For me the motto of the festival being 'Yes, I like watching!' provokes the audiences passivity, which of course doesn’t exist in dance. It references Facebook’s thumbs-up symbol which focuses more attention on the recipient than viewing the object. Viewing the object is what I’d like to draw special attention to.
Yes, I like watching!
The festival uncharacteristically begins with an overview of the performances by Polish choreographers and artists. C/U was created by the young for the young. "We want to present the younger generation to the public", saysKozak, "and show how dance serves as an independent art form for them and not just a part of ballet performances or simple entertainment". The artistic director also recalled that the festival held first performances by Leszek Bzdyl, the Gdańsk Dance Theater, the Studio Tańca Alter, the Teatr Academia, and in 2001, Katarzyna Kozyra.
This year’s edition will feature the newest project from Wojtek Ziemilski, known for Małej narracji / Small Narration, and his work with Grzegorz Laszuk’s company Komuna Otwock / Otwock Commune. His multimedia spectacle Szpieg. Albo człowiek, który słuchał / The Spy. Or The Person Who Was Listening was prepared in a collaboration with music critic Michał Libera, DJ Lenar, dancer Weronika Pelczyńska and singer Olga Mysłowska. It is a work of fantasy about the mechanisms involved in hearing and the relationship between sound and movement. The performance is based on the motivations and life of Léon Theremin, the legendary creator of the early electronic instrument named for him, and builder of The Thing, one of the first covert-listening devices.
Audiences will also see a new interpretation of The Rite of Spring by Tomasz Wygoda under the direction of Sławomir Krawczyński.
Dancing with no escape
Can you maintain eye contact or will you look away? – is the question posed by young dancer Karol Tymiński in his piece that tests the limits of the strength of the body. His third original project, BEEP, was inspired by the sound used in gruelling stamina training. According to the review on the Kulturaonline portal:
Tymiński exposes the audience to a body exhausting itself. Simple, rhythmic and trance-like movement allows the audience to feel the performance physically, while other parts allow them to 'catch on' by echoing the dancer. Meanwhile, the body of Tymiński produces sound which is amplified by a microphone hidden in his clothes. His breath blends with the sounds of a guitar, the movement suddenly stops and it dies down.
Testing of physical fitness will also be a theme present in the performances by the esteemed European dancers Maria Stokłosa and Renata Piotrowska. Anita Wach is also scheduled to perform and Kaya Kołodziejczyk, one of the most exciting young Polish dancers and choreographers, will have her debut.
Kołodziejczyk’s resume includes work acclaimed choreographers Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker and William Forsythe, and with director Mariusz Treliński. She has created the choreography for works like the ballet Harnasie by composer Karol Szymanowski and Krzesany by Wojciech Kilar. The young dancer works as a teacher at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (P.A.R.T.S.) in Brussels and is a guest instructor as prestigious theatres worldwide.
Her solo performance SOL is the result of her search for new forms of movement. It led the artist to a workshop on contact improvisation led by Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson on the Mad Brook Farm. While creating this show she worked with the legendary, politically radical Bread and Puppet Theatre in the U.S., which had just celebrated its 50th birthday. As Kołodziejczyk states, the performance is a critical look at contemporary dance in the decades after the revolution brought about by the pioneers of post-modern dance as well as a personal expression and an attempt to summarise my career so far.
Jérôme Bel dancing’s exclusions
Appearing for the fourth time on the Warsaw stage will be work by French choreographer Jérôme Bel. The show gives the floor to the intellectually disabled artists from Swizerland’s HORA Theatre. Certain to catalyse awkward questions about the interplay between the spectator and levels of comfort and the freedom of the actor and the right to look, it is sure to inspire social change in the theatre. As Bel says of Disabled Theatre, "One of the challenges for me is to make the community these actors represent more visible, to show that these undervalued actors can enrich experimental theatre, that their uniqueness is full of promise for theatre and dance".
Edyta Kozak adds:
Today, every performance, every creative act can be understood politically. Thus artists are working on changing the theatre scene according to the dialogue they hold with contemporary society. Numerous formats of interdisciplinary art are being opened for minorities in both geographic and societal spheres. These types of artists are the ones I intend to present at the next C/U.
The artistic experiments will include music from the international group John the Houseband and dancers and choreographers from Sweden, Iceland, Belgium, Spain and Germany. These artists work daily in well-known European theatres, but from time to time gather to make a point in causing controversy. As posted on the website the artists promise that “their performances are dedicated to all those who draw lines between performances and concerts, singers and dancers, looking and seeing. If you think you know what dance is, these performances are sure to change your mind.”
Author: Anna Legierska, 04/09/2013
Translation: SMG, 05/09/2013