International co-productions in the Hungarian independent contemporary dance field

A report on Jardin d’Europe SuSy programme by Lilla Eredics

I took part in the SuSy- Support System internship program of Workshop Foundation (Műhely Alapítvány), implemented within the frame of the Jardin d’Europe five years project. Jardin d’Europe intends to support – besides dancers and choreographers – dance administration, as well. Workshop Foundation has offered the SuSy scholarship since the start of the Jardin d’Europe project in 2008 and I was the 6th intern at the Foundation, chosen throughout open call. So I suddenly found myself in a well working system. Originally, the scholarship period I applied for was announced for 6 months (from April until October 2011) than it was prolonged for another six month until the end of April 2012.
During this time I got gradually involved into the activities of the Workshop Foundation, both on local and international level. I was following closely the Jardin d’Europe project activities, among others the co-production for the season 2011-2012. Workshop Foundation, consulting with other professionals from the Budapest independent scene, has decided to support the Company Hodworks to create a new piece, entitled The way my father imagined it all. From the creation period, October 2011 until the premiere, 23 April I was following the creative process of a new dance piece from the very beginning, watching how the concept, the team and the artistic material was forming and changing, and I was member of the administrative team behind all that. Also I could see how and at what points a 14.000 EUR support can influence the working of a Hungarian independent emerging company such Hodworks is, what possibilities it can provide them and how those possibilities can integrate into the structure.
Workshop Foundation has received eight applications for the call for applications announced in April 2011. Besides Gergely Talló from Workshop Foundation, Beáta Barda, artistic director and Balázs Erős director of MU Theatre, Budapest have been invited to the jury to decide upon support. Out of the eight applications three (the one of Katalin Lengyel, Tamara Vadas and Adrienn Hód) were chose to participate in the second round. These three creators were asked to rework, detail their applications and articulate more the concept. The applications were asked in English with the assistance of a professional manager.
The aim of Workshop Foundation, as member of the Jardin d’Europe network, is to support emerging artist and motivate them to produce international works. The applications criteria reflect also these intentions: citizens of at least three European countries shall be involved in the co-production. In this case Adrienn Hód Hungarian choreographer has worked with choreographers Marco Torrice from Italy and Csaba Molnár who is a Slovak citizen.

The three of them had already known each other and worked together several times, also Marco was resident of Workshop Foundation within the Research into the Unknown project. This aspect was also important for the jury, to be sure that the quality of the international involvement is not occasional, just for the application, but a reliable professional relation between the creators that “worth” to be strengthen with the Jardin d’Europe co-production support. Adrienn was looking for another international partnership so they has organized an audition in Brussels when they met Márcio Cannabaro, a Brazilian artist resident in Germany who was a perfect choice for this piece and since then he has became regular dancer of Hodworks.
The working title of the piece was The Beauty of Unrestraint as the intention of the three choreographer, Adrienn, Csaba and Marco was to work with the idea of inhibitions, limits and limitless, the Unrestraint. Later on, as the material was forming, they have decided to change the title and to find a more appropriate title of the movement material: that is how the more personal title The way my father imagined it all was found in February.
A new piece with three choreographers, one on stage as dancer, is certainly was a new experience in the life of Hodworks but I would rather enumerate the “infrastructural” or functional developments the Jardin d’Europe support brought to them.
What I often see during my career is the difficulty that artists have to face with when they are asked to articulate their concept and key points of a given piece. From this point of view a written application is always a kind of training for the artists – working often without any official manager – especially a call for application in an international context like in this case (English language application process, the application criteria, the Jardin d’Europe network, the European fund, etc.). For Hodworks it was also a new thing that they could afford to be assisted by a professional press staff and by a manager from the very beginning of the creation process. This latter was in charge of all the administration tasks, such as contracts, instalments of fee, tax residences certificates, etc. and he was also responsible for involving other international co-producers.
This is the second landmark in case of Hodworks: thanks to the Jardin d’Europe support, they could join to the international scene by inviting Márcio to join Emese Cuhorka, Júlia Garai, Csaba Molnár on the stage, by covering Marco Torrice’s costs and choreographer and last but not at least, the company could involve other partners as co-producers from France and from the Netherlands with the intensive work of the company manager.
The example of Hodwroks shows clearly how a European funds can contribute to the Hungarian dance scene and how it could affect, both short and long term, the structural development of a Hungarian emerging company.

Budapest, April 2012.

Lilla Eredics

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