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Report on SuSy program of Jardin d’ Europe

 at Workshop Foundation by Dóra Tamási

 

During the nearly one year that I spent at the Workshop Foundation I had a great variety of tasks due to the widespread activity of the Foundation. First of all I took part in the organisational process of the permanent programmes of the Foundation, meaning the Dancemarathon at the beginning of the season where for two days amateur and professional dancers alike can visit classes from early morning until late evening under very good conditions; the International Dancefilm Festival, named EDIT which beside showing the big classics gives an opportunity for young artists to show their films to the public; the Demonstration of the permanent dance classes, having taken place at the Studio of the Foundation, where the students can experience the feeling of preparing a dance piece, as well as the tension and pleasure of performing on stage. Another aspect of organising that I could get a good insight of was the operation of the Foundation, how it is built up, how to systematise official documents, what is needed for successful work.

Besides these organisational tasks I spent most of my time with EU projects, particularly with my research topic, namely co-operations stretching over borders. In my research, I examined two cases. One of them was the co-production project in the framework of Jardin d’ Europe, the other was Research into the Unknown, an improvisational creative workshop where emerging artists from the field of contemporary dance get the opportunity to experiment in a topic that is not developed yet. My hypothesis was that the language of dance is so much international that it can solve all communication barriers.

In the Co-production programme of Jardin d’ Europe, I could follow the development of the dance performance CITY by Bloom! from the very beginning until the premiere of the piece. I was there at the consideration of the applications, at the decision, I attended the meetings, helped in the organisation and talked to the artists about how multiculturalism worked during the rehearsal period. This was a multinational project with participants from Hungary, Italy and Spain. Everybody brought along his or her national culture which they incorporated into the performance, but in spite of this, one could recognise many similarities from these different cultures in the end product. In the course of the rehearsal period, the emphasis was placed on non-verbal communication, they used improvisation to create the base material of the performance. They did not even need to talk to be able to create and communicate.

The other subject of my research has been Research into the Unknown where the participant dancers have to choose someone to co-operate with from another profession. This co-operation is very often international, which makes the working process even more interesting. This year a Polish dancer Anna Nowiczka worked together with a Hungarian video artist. I took part in the whole process as I was one of the contact persons of Anna, and we have talked a lot about their working method, their ideas, what difficulties they have because of their different origin, how they can communicate and how they can integrate all these into their experiment.  Their common language was English, but one of them did not speak English well, so they had to rely on gestures to express their ideas.  Although they represent different artistic fields – one of them being a visual artist, the other being a dancer – both of them focus on creating spectacles, and this constituted their real common language.

It was also a very useful experience to take part in the Teaching the Teachers conference where not only foreign teachers participated, but Hungarians as well. The participants came from different parts of Europe and most of them did not know each other before, still they worked together very efficiently as if they had been co-operating for years now. It was very interesting that they have found the common denominator right away. Although their work was basically theoretical, they used the language of dance to support their ideas. It is very interesting that they too used improvisation as their working method. This was most probably the case because in improvisation it is easier to find the other’s “tune” and it is very sincere as the movements come from inside.

These experiences have supported the basic hypothesis that the language of dance is so much international that it can solve all communication barriers. The research has also called attention to the importance of improvisation as a means of self-expression and creating mutual understanding.

During my internship I could also get acquainted with many people from the field of contemporary dance from Hungary and other countries alike, due to the Wild Card programme, the several performances I could visit in Hungary and the festivals and performances that we visited abroad.

This year was a very useful learning period for me. When I gave in my application for the SuSy programme I expected to deal almost exclusively with my research topic related to EU projects, but it was a very pleasant surprise that I became involved in so many different things the Foundation is dealing with. It was a real team work with people whom I would like to work with in the future again. The Foundation is an essential part of Hungarian contemporary dance, by giving a vast amount of opportunity for the artists working in this field. It was also interesting to see the way in which a long existing foundation is working. I received a lot of help from them and I believe that it will be so in the future too. It really surprised me that the Foundation is working with only two permanent employees, despite the fact that they have numerous projects and programmes to be co-ordinated.

All in all I can apply right away what I learnt during the scholarship at the Workshop Foundation. Due to the help of the Foundation now I am working for a dance company, where I am among other things responsible for foreign relationships. We would like to build out a connection system in different countries for two reasons. First to be able to show the works of the company abroad; secondly to make it possible for the Hungarian dancers to work with foreign choreographers, and vice versa.   

Regarding the future of the programme, I think it would be beneficial for both parties if there remained contact between the apprentice and the Foundation. In my case I believe it will be like that.

 

14.09.2010, Budapest                                                                                             Dóra Tamási

 

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