The last weekend of February saw the closing ceremonies of the second edition of Like CNDB#1 that brought a relevant selection of contemporary choreography shows to the Stere Popescu stage at the National Center of Dance. The great variety in the program managed to create a theoretical setting that facilitates, through talks/debates and movie screenings, the understanding of perfromative arts and its specific problems in contemporary Romania. The five week-long festival ended with a bang with PIESĂ CU RESPONSABILITATE LIMITATĂ (Piece with a limited responsibility) by the duo Mihaela Dancs – Cosmin Manolescu. It was an interactive and very dynamic piece in which the two artists give into the temptation of an imaginary gain whose limits are permanently defined and negotiated throughout the show.
Mihaela Dancs is bursting with energy and vitality during her alert rhythmic, slightly sauvage dancing. I enjoyed the show OUT OF ORDER as well; the re-telling of the pop-rock show using a choreography that works the body to exhaustion is captivating. OUT OF ORDER was spiced up by the special guests Paul Dunca and Carmen Coțofană.
Paul Dunca is a complete artist that permanently performs, constantly diluting the boundary between public and private in performances that are based on his personal experiences. Paul frenetically dances with all his might, like an elastic-body that never stumbles in the limits of his own articulations. In the show THE INSTITUTE OF CHANGE, Paul Dunca, who also designed the choreography, plays Dr. Pissadora Duncan, The boss, the diva that wants to make the audience constantly question their own mental and corporeal limits. Paul Dunca imagined a utopia where gender identity has been freed from the social constraints and difficulties of changing your biological body. “We embrace life as an opportunity to be on stage, always moving, always creating and recreating/ The group’s interests are: physical activism, gender equality, castrating the authoritarian system by creating a real civil society and artistic freedom” reads the group’s manifesto.
The idea of freedom through movement is seen from another point of view in Georgeta Corca’s NATURA UMANĂ (Human Nature). Four dancers unleash themselves with movement and energy in an aesthetically refined visual with elements of surreal language. I enjoyed this performance despite the fact that I really dislike the concept of human nature. I believe in socio-cultural determinism rather than natural instincts and metaphysical background.
Most performances in Like CNDB#1 have the common theme of investigating personal histories. This sensitive route that is probably more difficult than interpreting exterior situations is the starting point of Andreea Novac’s show DESPRE TANDREŢE (About tenderness). Andreea indexes possible meanings of tenderness in everyday life. She sometimes amplifies the tender gesture and other times reduces it the minimum; the gracious undulating in dance sequences or the sweet total exposure at the end – these are all elements that make up this gestural inventory of tenderness.
I regretfully missed the performance NU TOŢI SUNT EROI (Not everyone is a hero) by Cristina Lilienfeld and Smaranda Găbudeanu whose narrative is built upon the experiences of their grandparents in a totalitarian camp. I’ve seen Cristina Lilienfeld before in a performance in LAY(ERS), last year’s award winning show at Section of Choreography Association. The investigation of movements generated by situations of skin modification is presented in LAY(ERS). Washing, cleaning, peeling, exfoliating: moments dedicated to the outer shell, the protective layer that covers, protects and outlines the body. The performance is a meditation about the layer, seen as an inside/outside boundary. The skin has the marks of exterior contact and the exterior is marked as well.
An old show that still manages to stay fresh and fascinating every time is REALIA (BUCHRATES-BEIRUT). Mihai Mihalcea started the project of fictionalizing his own biography back in 2010, becoming Farid Fairuz. “4 years ago I had to make up a character to keep on living”, says Mihalcea about Faird. REALIA is a one-man-show in which the heteronym Farid takes over the identity of choreographer Mihalcea with his flamboyant personality. The “auto referential” narrative is built with text-sound-movement-image: an imaginary bubble where the two personality-characters come into dialogue, influence and change each other.
Like CNDB#1 was in Bucharest throughout February 2015.
All quotes in the text from the festival brochure.
Valentina Iancu is an art historian and researcher. She works at the National Art Museum of Romania. Her research focuses on aspects of Romanian modernity related to the political realm, East European...