Sunday, February 22, 2009

Again, deeper sensitivity

Last weekend I could attend and perform at the evening "Atat de Frageda..." [So tender] in memory of extraordinary Romanian producer and key-figure for the development of contemporary art and dance Gabriela Tudor, who I was informed was an instrumental figure to establish many organisations in Romania and abroad and to foster artistic development and creativity, partly also with her husband, choreographer and executive director Cosmin Manolescu, a.o. The Cultural Foundation "Proiect DCM". Manolescu and fellow-choreographers Florin Fieroiou and Andreea Capitanescu also presented works, together with music performances by Harry Tavitian & Jürg Solothurnmann, as well as music-duo AIEVEA.

What struck me about the evening, but especially the presented dances, was a very special blend of crisp rational clarity with deeply embodied sensitivity manifested in the dancers as well as the choreographies. Whether it would be Fieroiou's dreamlike atmosphere, presented with excellent clarity by dancer Carmen Cotofana to a haunting soundscape by Vlaicu Golcea, or the almost quotidian movement/dance poetry of Andreea Capitanescu, who performed her piece herself. Even with Manolescu's more theatrical and pop-culture oriented work, there was this undercurrent of sensitive understanding, which got its moments to appear and be manifested in the moment of performance. His dancers, Madalina Dan, Paul Cimpoeira, Eduard Gabia, and Mircea Chinea showed clarity as well as kinesthetic centeredness and multiplicity that could go many ways, from playing tennis to articulating diverse levels of tension and dramatically aware presentation and interaction with the audience (both Dan and Gabia also choreograph works of their own as well)

I really wish I'd see dance like this more often, also here in my home in the Netherlands, but was also told that this was a very select group of people, due to the relation of the evening being a memorial for Gabriela Tudor and her amazing pioneering work for the arts. I thought at some point that this sensorial centeredness and rational clarity could be something envisioned and prepared by the original members of the Judson Dance Theater in the 1960s. In fact seeing the two solos I was reminded of the film-registration I'd seen of Yvonne Rainer performing the phrase from Trio A, which I find to be very vulnerable and poetic, even if I'd suspect that Rainer herself would strongly disagree with such a reading.

It seems to me like such a positive move to more sensitivity, less hard-edge is a sign of growing maturity, especially against the backdrop of ever more commercialised, non-vulnerable, or just appearing-vulnerable art, which fails to meet the demands ("Use it [well] or loose it") and creates ever more poverty and stress that exacerbate the conditions even more, a waste-land, socially, ecologically, emotionally. (But maybe for a happier society that is finally matured to be more anarchistic on the outside, due to more sophisticated discipline by each of its members on the inside, as hinted at in Ursual K. LeGuinn's "The Disposessed") Then, somewhere in the middle of that, somewhere a beginning of a flower - but without water...

I find it is a rare quality to meet artists who dare to say yes to their very unique kind of sensitivity and work it successfully into performances. This experience has encouraged me to take my own moves into this direction more seriously and create more personally related work. I believe that in order to reach at a successful embodiment of such sensitivity, it is necessary to no just say yes to being vulnerable, less hard-edge and 'representative' but also strength and work to give the specific situation and conditions what is needed to bring the moment and energy across for witnessing audiences.

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