’a performance that triggers an intense physical experience in the viewers, making them sweat too’ – an interview
18th April 2019
it will come later, a new performance by iCoDaCo, will premiere at Trafó next Wednesday, 24th April. We talked to Imre Vass, one of the six creators, about the transposed meaning of effort, the significance of dedicating time, about iCoDaCo, the diversity of contemporary dance and the ’sensitizing’ role of dance...
Making an effort to do something – what does it mean to you these days?
Many aspects of effort have appeared in relation to the project, especially since it was created by six people of different ages and backgrounds. As a result, it sort of ended up belonging to everyone and no one at the same time. For me making an effort isn’t equivalent to strain, it simply means that I have to make an effort to continuously keep my attention focused on something I’m working on. Although my focused attention may weaver at times, the mutual trust keeps pulsating between us in the sense that we are able to focus our attention on each other and on the work we do together. This kind of focus may involuntarily create a sense of effort, but for me what it truly means is whether I’m able to continuously sustain my attention or not.
When you said this performance belongs to everyone and no one, what did you mean?
Perhaps it was somebody from the project who said that. What may lie behind this sentence is that had it been our individual choice, none of us would have aimed to create a performance of this kind. I don’t fully agree with this though, as I can imagine myself creating a similar performance. This piece, however, is common ground. We did all the work together, we never broke up into smaller groups, hence the end result is something that could only come to life due to the price of our joint effort. The most valuable aspect of this process for me was that we were able to make decisions together, which at first seemed a bit like a mission impossible, but we managed to carry it through. it will come later paints an image of what we are capable of together, thus it belongs to us. However, the performance also throws light upon a higher scale, which we, as creators, don’t really have the right to call our own... I think.
This makes me all the more curious: what exactly is this performance?
We tried to say something about effort, something that is beyond the effort the six of us made to create this performance. About the personal and social aspects of effort, what it means to the individual opposed to the efforts of a community or the effort resulting from the operating mechanisms of the universe. We try to show that these different levels of effort each carry a very different meaning in relation to each other, and also how small one can become when viewed next to another! We try to contrast these efforts in order to better understand their relative scales. For this reason we perform in the round. 97% of this performance is dance, a continuous joint movement, with individual actions, that can be solos or duets, constantly leaving and re-joining the main group. This performance is the constant fluctuation of movement between these two poles, showing how individual and communal levels can grow or diminish in relation to each other.
This project was created as part of the international collaboration called iCoDaCo. Can you tell us a little about this?
It was originally initiated by the two directors and founders of ilDance, Israel Aloni, who takes part in our project as a producer, and Lee Brummer, who is a dancer and one of the choreographers in the collective. This show is the fourth process and cycle of iCoDaCo, which grew from being a duo, into a quartet, and has been constantly expanding ever since. There is always an overlap and interchange of creative artists between the different projects, so continuity and reform both characterize iCoDaCo. The dancer-choreographers chosen for this present work are all of various ages, mindsets and aesthetics. We had held video calls with the participating artists and producers already about one year before the first residency and the performance itself was created during a 8 week residency.
What can you gain from such a collaborative work?
Working together for me was very inspiring. The aim was exactly this, to let dancers of different knowledge and experience come together and see what they can get out of each other. The fact that we are all of different ages is in itself a very exciting aspect. It is incredible to dance together with a traditional Chinese dancer-choreographer who has 40 years of experience, a Welsh performer with 30 years of experience, with dancer educated at SEAD and The PLACE, or with dancers who trained in the Gaga movement method. Of course, it is not about the years or the levels of education. Everybody has very widespread professional experiences, which add even more layers to this collaboration. I have worked in projects of various consistencies, but even for me this present one was somewhat of a novelty. The creative roles of observing, executing and initiating were constantly changing. It was necessary for everybody to have firm opinions and open focus at the same time.
In your opinion, which of the following has a better effect on contemporary dance with respect to taste and genre: homogeneity or heterogeneity?
It’s not so easy to decide. You see many examples of both diversity and synchronicity. Almost all of the productions I have taken part in are based on diversity. For me it is probably this present dance project that involves the most varied group of people. Besides diversity, of course, we are all highly experienced and well-trained dancers and creative artists, which places us on a common base. We are all dancers, there are no skateboarders or influencers among us. Luckily dance doesn’t concern itself whether either of the above-mentioned directions are more functional or useful than the other, it simply keeps spreading and growing in all directions.
By the way: there is the issue of caring. How can today’s contemporary dance help its viewers to care more about others and themselves?
It is the aim of every dance and theatre performance to pass on some kind of an essence, or knowledge even when it is not telling a story. Of all performing art forms dance is the most able to create an effect where the viewer can feel that they have been physically touched as well. As they watch they find themselves in a receptive position where they experience physical stimulus prior to the emotional. Dance attempts to share something about the body, and body consciousness: let us inhibit our bodies and view with our bodies - let us experience our own lives.
It is a kind of sensitizing as well, isn’t it?
Absolutely! After all, our performance, it will come later, is also about sitting around in a circle, about being together. This performance can create a very intense physical experience. Hopefully some of the effort we, performers make in order to sustain our attention towards each other, will transfer to the viewers as well, making them sweat as they watch us, make them stiffen and their muscles tighten, and with this ’muscle work’ they help our work too.
Written by: Gábor Csatádi
Translated from Hungarian to English by: Emma Vidovszky