For three days the stage of the Young theatre had been providing the possibility of not only watching contemporary dance performances of Polish choreographers, but also asking questions to the authors directly.
This kind of practice is well-known in the contemporary dance world and now, owing to the efforts of enthusiasts of this art, it becomes usual in Ukraine. As the contemporary art, probably, cannot exist without questions.
The initiative of creating the program “Choreographic Territories - Eastern Partnership” belongs to the Polish Dance Platform - the organization that gathers the best dance performances in one of the Polish cities once in two years. After that a group of experts dedicates a week to viewing, discussing and thinking about the stage of development of contemporary dance in Poland and the actuality of works presented at the Platform. 2016 is the first year in the whole history of the Polish Dance Platform, when the best six works chosen by experts will be performed in the Eastern Partnership countries - Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Defining the best in the contemporary art, in which every artist is looking for his own interest, creating his own rules and even an individual narrative language, isn’t the easiest task even for the experts. It becomes even more difficult in case of contemporary dance, in which, on one hand, the performer’s body is everything he has, and on the other hand, there are no definitions for how contemporary dance must look like. Obviously you, as an audience, may have some expectations. But they will always be only your expectations, which may have nothing in common with that space of physical exploration of body and movement chosen by a dancer. As a result, the process of defining “the best” performances becomes so subjective that it requires additional commentaries for every chosen work. (This is nearly the same scheme that we use on our Young Choreographers Competition).
What have the Ukrainian audience actually seen?
Five works, three of which are solos. Each of them may claim to be a revelation. Of course, they could be compared on physical intensity (actually dancing), the level of emotional and physical tension felt by the audience, the instruments used by a choreographer-creator of the performance. However, does it make any sense? Each of them is unique. And all of them are equal in their uniqueness. The audience connects the ability to notice this uniqueness with the necessity of self-cultivation - thinking, analyzing, engaging in the action. I think, this small marathon of five Polish performances would make anyone of the audience to catch that thing that makes people collaborate under the umbrella of contemporary dance. Maybe the clarity of understanding this uniqueness, perception of which often leads to creating solo performances, is the universal indicator of the dance “modernity”?
The other two performances - Stalking Paradise of the Lublin Dance Theatre and Room 40 by Macej Kuzminski, also strike the eye with the difference in approaches of creating the performance. If you take as a basis the choreographer’s wish to bring a certain message to the audience (and this is absolutely obvious for both performances), then you’ll see that one of them uses quite minimalistic ways (Room 40), and in another one the choreographers Külli Roosna and Kenneth Flak use the whole range of expression instruments of the contemporary performative art: text, 3D projection, dynamic choreography, personal statements of every performer.
What has the audience left for themselves after these performances - depends on many reasons. Personal experience, expectations of what will be presented at the stage, the ability to dive into the dance without looking for any references or stories. Everyone has different impressions. This was also obvious in discussions after performances, which included rapturous comments, unexpected revelations and puzzled looks. It seems that someone has actually been caught, even if this bait turned to be an aftertaste of misunderstanding or inaudibility. To come, to see, to puzzle out. To allow yourself a pleasure of solving a riddle, which has no answer.
Isn’t simple presence in the moment a holiday for the brain? Isn’t it a tribute to contemporarity?
See you at Zelyonka Fest 2016 - in the new “now and today”, which has not come yet.
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