ESZTER SALAMON | France & Germany | Dance
Eszter Salamon opens up our eyes to wars that have not yet found their way into European history books. Using dance, songs and bodily percussion, Eszter Salamon interprets the dances of a century of warfare. Forgotten bodies, masks and silhouettes appear from the darkness like ghosts of a suppressed memory. The end-product is an amazingly sombre yet at the same time surreal scenario that becomes an almighty death dance.
The Hungarian born choreographer Eszter Salamon researched war dances from regions in which ‹the West› has waged war – the result is a unique examination featuring over
60 dances from all five continents. Whether of a religious or ritual nature: dance is a way of preparing people for an extraordinary event – or a way of coping after a traumatic one. Eszter Salamon reflects on a century of global conflicts while bringing to the stage a major choreography for the 21st century.
90 SECONDS WITH ESZTER SALAMON
For your group performance “MONUMENT 0 – Haunted by wars (1913–2013)” you bring together a stunning range of different war dances and dances of resistance. What was the criteria for your selection?
I wanted to follow a rather empirical and not an anthropological approach. I was looking for dances originating from conflict regions in relation to the history of colonization. I was interested in the dances that were pushed outside of the fiction we call “Modern Dance History”, this means folk or traditional dances, and especially those that are from territories where the Western World has been ruling for centuries, even though the Western World always tries to minimize and repress this role. The dances come from South East Asia, the Middle East, from different regions in Africa and Central and South America. The artistic gesture was to put in relationship those two histories and look at what has been excluded or forgotten or repressed.
Can you tell me a bit more about this opposition between what you just called the “fiction of Modern Dance” and your interest in folk dances?
Modern dance created a mute body with little to no facial expression and made complex rhythms fade out little by little. North American dance technics developed since then, like ballet before them, got exported into the rest of the world in an almost colonial manner. Back then, when those technics have been invented through experimental practices they were important and empowering. But today, we can see how they became a dominant way of moving worldwide. Since I have an interest in multiple expressions and ways of moving of the body, I critically oppose this form of dominant smoothness, because I don’t think it is valid for everyone and everywhere. There are so many different constructions of the body and countless ways of moving. And every way of moving is a way of being in the world and to relate to the world.
How does the idea of a “monument” – as the title suggests – relate to dance and bodily movements?
MONUMENT 0” is the first of a series called ‘monuments’. I consider these works to be anti-monuments, always starting with a 0 and remaining under the threshold of 1. Usually, monuments are built from hard and enduring materials; they almost exclusively commemorate official history. These monuments are ephemeral and performative, they have to be actualized to be seen. These works are occasions to relate my own artistic practice to history and to engage in active history making, which is based on some sort of archaeological research as well as speculation and fiction. In various ways, these works dig out something from the past that was not valued but rather repressed or sometimes not even created. Because the way we relate to history has a history, therefore the questions of how do we learn and why do we learn, and what do we remember and how do we remember become very crucial.
Künstlerische Leitung Eszter Salamon | Dramaturgische Mitarbeit Ana Vujanovic | Choreografie Boglárka Börcsök, Ligia Lewis,
João Martins, Yvon Nana-Kouala, Luis Rodriguez, Corey Scott-Gilbert | Tanz Mario Barrantes Espinoza, Boglárka Börcsök, João Martins,
Yvon Nana-Kouala, Sara Tan, Gervais Tomadiatunga| Kostümdesign Vava Dudu | Assistenz Kostümdesign Olivier Mulin | Lichtdesign Sylvie Garot | Sounddesign Wilfrid Haberey | Szenografie Sylvie Garot, Thalie Lurault, Eszter Salamon | Wissenschaftlicher Berater/Historiker Djordje Tomic | Technische Leitung Thalie Lurault, Michael Götz | Produktion Alexandra Wellensiek (Botscha Gbr), Sandra Orain / Elodie Perrin (Studio E.S.) | Koproduktion HAU Hebbel am Ufer (DE), Internationales Sommerfestival Kampnagel (DE), Les Spectacles Vivants / Centre Pompidou (FR), PACT Zollverein (DE) als Teil von Départs (Europäische Kommission, Kulturelles Programm), Tanzquartier Wien (AU), Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon (FR) als Teil des Residenzprogramms | Mit Dank an Bureau Cassiopée, Yvane Chapuis, EDEN*****, Zohar Frank, Danielle Kaufmann, Moritz von Rappard, Alexandre Roccoli, Frédéric Seguette & dem Team CCN Montpellier-Languedoc-Roussillon als teil des Residenzprogramms | Gefördert durch Centre Chorégraphique National Ballet de Lorraine (FR), Accueil Studio 2013/2014, The Regional directory of cultural affairs of Paris (FR), Ministerium für Kultur und Kommunikation Frankreich (FR)
Unterstützt durch das NATIONALE PERFORMANCE NETZ Koproduktionsförderung Tanz, gefördert von der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.