Maja Hriešik, Lukáš Bobalik, SLOVAKIA
directed by: Maja Hriešik
Dance solo and simultaneously a tennis match performed by one man is a game of stamina.
Dance solo and simultaneously a tennis match performed by one man is a game of stamina. To find the right rhythm, the dancer plays in all directions, ultimately essentially against himself. He explores the limits of his energy, motivation, and purpose. A duo of brilliant musicians (singer Peter Mazalán and guitar player Jakub Mitrík) accompany him on his inner quest, constantly adapting to his match, adding, prompting, without stopping, while dance moves mix with forehands and backhands. How much is enough, when does the match ends, can there be any balance? The highly personal confession of Lukáš Bobalik takes place in a remarkable space, the basis of which are tennis nets stretched on a moving structure. The dancer’s astonishing mastery of tennis strokes and their cadence is also an installation, a sports event and a dance performance portraying dance on the edge of the ruins of a burnt-out society.
direction and dramaturgy: Maja Hriešik
choreography, dance: Lukáš Bobalik
set and costume design: Zuzu Hudek
music: Henry Purcell, Franz Schubert, Jakub Mitrík
vocals: Peter Mazalán
guitar: Jakub Mitrík
lights design: Jozef Čabo
production: T-O-K Tanec/Osobnosť/Kontext, Alexandra Mireková
presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by the Slovak Arts Council, the Nitra Self-Governing Region, The City of Nitra, SPP Foundation, LITA — authors’ society
Maja Hriešik (1978) is a dramaturge and researcher. She graduated in theatre dramaturgy and directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She is independent performer in opera and dance, curator of festivals, international presentations of Slovak dance and workshop series for emerging artists. She publishes on dance. Between 2013 and 2021 moderated at the Slovak Radio, a programme about public space and activism, and about film. She published collected essays about body dramaturgy in contemporary dance (2013) and lectures at the Faculty of Music and Dance of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (courses in dance dramaturgy, history and aesthetics of dance). She is a founding member of PlaST – Platform for Contemporary Dance that advocates for better circumstances and visibility of Slovak contemporary dance (www.plast.dance).
The performance of the dancer Lukáš Bobalik and stage director and dramaturge Maja Hriešik deals with the very current issue of burnout that affects people across generations and can affect anyone – including an artist. Bobalik often collaborates with the creative artists of his generation and with older choreographers. Such workload can prove borderline, even if it may seem that a twenty-year-old does not yet have to experience burnout. Nonetheless, the pace with which dancers throw themselves after graduation into the daily cycle of life of a freelance artist can make even an older matador spin and can be an adrenaline sport. It gave Bobalik the experience of states of elaborate weightlessness, when a one loses the drive to carry on creating. Through a tennis match or practice, the dancer demonstrates during the performance the path to mental and physical exhaustion.
The scene affects most dynamically and functionally the action in the tennis game. (…) There are four surfaces in the space – metal mesh, which the dancer uses to the full extent. He moves the rebound surfaces, which turn into a cage, with Bobalik wrestles with at the end. He tries to create space for himself in it. Yet it is virtually a Sisyphean task, for he must maintain his pace, speed, dynamics and overall movement technique. Bobalik alternates the rhythm of the game. The dance performance is controlled by tennis technique, as well as the graciousness associated with dance.
Marek Godovič: NuDanceFest in the Time of Corona: Closer to Each Other or Closer from Each Other [NuDanceFest v čase korony: Bližšie k sebe či bližšie od seba]. In MLOKi [online]. 25. 9. 2020. Available at: https://mloki.sk/nudancefest-v-case-korony-blizsie-k-sebe-ci-blizsie-od-seba/