Association Divadelná Nitra, Tanec Praha, tYhle, Nitra, Prague, SLOVAKIA, CZECH REPUBLIC
Directed by Marie Gourdain
The premiere of a dance production created simultaneously in Nitra and Prague that joins professional artists and teenagers from both countries will get festival visitors up and moving to the themes of borders and freedom. The young performers collaborate with a trio of artists each hailing from a different part of Europe (France, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic) to articulate their feelings about the current age and impending maturity. This new production is the result of more than a year-long participative process co–produced by the European Network Be SpectACTive! in close collaboration with Tanec Praha Festival and the Jozef Rosinský Art Elementary School in Nitra.
The dance production Icarus is a reflection on the limits of freedom – on limits and on freedom. A group of teenagers under the guidance of an artists’ trio each hailing from a different country (France, Slovakia, Czech Republic) reveal their feelings about our current age and impending adulthood.
Twelve teenagers from Nitra and Prague were involved in the preparation of this production from the very beginning. In 2019 they met a number of times at physical workshops, lectures on contemporary dance and discussions both in person and online, and visited Tanec Praha Festival and Divadelná Nitra, where they became familiar with the work of numerous dance artists. They chose Marie Gourdain, a French artist based in the Czech Republic, for their joint venture and formulated the theme of their projected work.
This production is the result of more than a year-long participative process co-produced by the European network Be SpectACTive! in close collaboration with the J. Rosinský Art Elementary School in Nitra and the international festivals Divadelná Nitra and Tanec Praha.
The piece is inspired by the mythical tale of Daedalus and Icarus, although the story is not rendered illustratively on stage; instead it served as the point of departure for its combination of symbolism and abstraction – like the teenagers’ scenic movement based on an analysis of human walking and revolving around the trajectorial principle of human movement. Walking is an expression of identity in motion.
In her scenography, which the author dubs the ‘architecture of dramaturgy’, Marie Gourdain has utilized colour rods reminiscent of mikado formed into simple frames, varying shapes, and an impressive, visually dynamic composition.
Slovak dancer Jaro Viňarský performs the role of a disturbing element in the order surrounding him. He amplifies expression, transforming everyday gesture into frenetic, enthralling, unrestrained dance. He represents the element of freedom, varying motifs connected with the work’s theme: the relationship between individual and society, and individualism, which is not merely an achievement of freedom but likewise the root of egoism. He asks where the possibility freely to tear oneself out of the grey mass of the crowd ends and where solitary emptiness begins.
All this is tied together by Czech musician Václav Kalivoda’s character of an (almost) conductor, who controls the rhythm of action on stage and backs the varied scenes with music, as though alternating between different stages of life with diverse colours and intensities.
In this project Marie Gourdain follows through with her exploration of the encounter between geometry and physicality (line and body), different levels of expressiveness and performativity (purposeful movement, informal movement, dance movement), and props as movement’s companions.
The ambition of this project was simultaneously to create a participative work that the artists’ trio may variably remake and present anew with groups of teenagers in other regions and cities and that would build on the feelings, needs, fears and life situations of local teenagers.
concept, set design, directed by: Marie Gourdainová
cast: Jaro Viňarský & Barbara Beňušíková, Lea Hrušovská, Tamara Lacsná, Margaréta Hvozdíková, Janka Milová, Simona Horičková, Anna Strejčková, Leontina Foltýnová, Jaromír Korbel, Eliška Boloňská, Linda Macková, Ladislav Bánovský
music: Václav Kalivoda
technology: Štěpán Hejzlar, Zbyněk Opálka
costume design: Martina Stieglerová
production and coordination: tYhle/Marie Gourdainová, Alena Brožová, Martina Filinová, Anna Šimončičová, Miroslav Zwiefelhofer
co-producers: Asociácia Divadelná Nitra (SK), Tanec Praha (CZ)
Realized in the framework of the European project Be SpectACTive! – Associazione Culturale CapoTrave / Kilowatt (IT), Artemrede – Teatros Associados (PT), Bakelit Multi Art Center (HU), Koproduktionshaus Wien / Brut (AT), Kunstencentrum Buda (BE), Café de las Artes Teatro (ES), Domino Udruge (HR), Asociácia Divadelná Nitra (SK), Dublin Theatre Festival Company (IE), Göteborgs Kommun – Göteborgs Stads kulturförvaltning / Stora Teatern (SE), Institution Student Cultural Centre (RS), Occitanie en scène, Réseau en scène Languedoc-Roussillon (FR), Plesni Teater Ljubljana (SI), Tanec Praha (CZ), Teatrul Naţional Radu Stanca Sibiu (RO), Fondazione Fitzcarraldo (IT), Universitat de Barcelona (ES), Université de Montpellier (FR), Centre national de la recherche scientifique / CNRS (FR).
Supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Supported from public funds by the Slovak Arts Council.
Other project partners: Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investment and Informatization, City of Nitra, Nitra Self-Governing Region, SPP Foundation, LITA – Society of Authors, State Culture Fund of the Czech Republic, Tanec Praha / PONEC – Theatre for Dance, J. Rosinský Art Elementary School, Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra
Special thanks: Marica Šišková, Ivana Beňušíková
Marie Gourdain (1986)
is a French choreographer, scenographer and visual artist living in Prague since 2010, active predominantly in the Czech Republic, France and Switzerland. She graduated in film animation from École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ESNAD) in Paris. During her studies she completed an internship at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Her fine art and sculptures earned her the Frédéric de Carfort Paris Award (2011) and ENSAD Paris sculptor’s prize (2009). As a set designer she has been involved in dance productions with numerous choreographers (including Lucia Kašiarová, Andrea Miltnerová, Rita Gobi, Karine Ponties, Dominique Boivin and Jean Gaudin). In 2016 she saw the premiere of her dance and directorial debut Un at Prague’s Studio Alta. A member of the artistic collective tYhle, she also authored the set to Higher and choreographed the productions LEGOrhythm (2017) and Medusa (2018), which she also directed.
Jaro Viňarský (1978)
is a dancer, choreographer, performer and founder of the civic association SKOK! He graduated in choreography from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 1998 – 2000 he was a member of the Štúdio tanca (Dance Studio) dance company in Banská Bystrica. In 2006 he won the prestigious Sazka Award and Audience Award at the Czech Dance Platform for his solo piece Final Step. Since 2004 he has collaborated with Belgian choreographer Karine Ponties. He leads dance workshops, especially for non-professionals. He is recipient of the prestigious Bessies New York Dance & Performance Award 2013 in the category Outstanding Performer for his performance in The Painted Bird / Bastard, choreographed by American choreographer of Slovak origin Pavol Zuštiak.
Václav Kalivoda (1990)
is a trombonist and musical improviser. In 2015 he graduated from Bard College conservatory in New York and later completed a year-long an internship in Yogyakarta (Indonesia), where he studied traditional gamelan music. Besides his classical training, he also plays as a soloist, in chamber and orchestral ensembles (including Voříšci, Moving Orchestra, Prague Improvisation Orchestra, B4) as well as other genres (jazz, swing, klezmer, samba), produces music to theatre and dance performances, and also leads improvisations with children to develop their natural sense for music. He is a musician in the project Dance to Schools and the Children’s Studio of the Ponec Theatre in Prague.