In collaboration with Trisha Brown Dance Company and Josef Nadj, EnKnapGroup presents a double bill that will take us into the 80’s by re-imagining two striking performances that shaped contemporary dance as we know it.
The first half of the evening is dedicated to the incredible Trisha Brown, the icon of postmodern dance, and to her groundbreaking work: Set and Reset. The new piece, entitled Set and Reset/Reset, combines geometry and sensual fluidity, both emblematic of Trisha Brown’s work. The process demands not only mastery of Brown’s unique vocabulary, but also the capacity to capture the spirit of improvisation, to be at ease in the constantly changing situations and relations that occur in a group of dancers. The re-imagined work was created by EnKnapGroup dancers and Kathleen Fisher, one of the key members of the Trisha Brown Dance Company.
The evening continues with choreography by Josef Nadj, in which he returns to the start of his career and revisits the source of the unique artistic expression that marks his work. Together with the dancers of EnKnapGroup he re-invented a part of his first choreography, the cutting-edge piece Canard pekinois. The featured dance material, which is based on a tragic love affair and a dark time full of emotions, raises questions about life’s impermanence and fleetingness, and compares its two underlying relationships: man and a woman, and life and death. Canard pekinois/Dark union is based on a personal story which transcends the subjective and becomes, through artistic transformation, an intimate mythology that blossoms into a universal piece of art.
SET AND RESET/RESET
Set and Reset (1983) is a masterpiece of the recently-deceased icon of postmodern dance, the famous American dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown. This outstanding piece of “pure movement”, which researches elemental body motion, is considered one of the pinnacles of 20th century American art. Set and Reset was created in collaboration with experimental visual artist Robert Rauschenberg and musician Laurie Anderson. The newly made ‘Set and Reset/Reset’ (based on the original piece), will demonstrate a language of movement counterpointed by seductive fluidity and unpredictable geometry.
In Set and Reset/Reset, Kathleen Fisher, one of the key members of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, draws from the original work and encourages the dancers to follow a similar method that Trisha Brown used to create the original work. The goal is to develop a new dance without losing the underlying principles of this iconic 80’s masterpiece. Once dancers are familiar with the dance material, the group uses the same set of rules that Brown gave her company to generate the choreography. It is among Brown’s first cycle of works for the formal stage. She describes it as “a rectangular dance circumventing the peripheral edge of the stage.” Brown says, “I think of it as a delivery system for other smaller units of dance – duets and trios that are issued into the center of the stage.” This building method encourages dancers to develop their unique personal relationships to the material, the ideas, the process and to each other. New variations of the original work may change in accordance to something as subtle as the dancer’s mood. As always with Brown, the dancers represent an integral part of both the creative process and the final result. Brown has stated that she looks for dancers who have “a taste for being off-balance and looking like they are not.” This subtly informs the basic vocabulary of the work. For Kathleen Fisher, the finding of how to be off balance externally, internally and within a constantly shifting matrix of choreography and personalities, while still remaining integrated in one’s own self and actions is something that resonates strongly within our modern society. Fisher says “The dance, at its best, is a blend of chaos and order, simplicity and complexity, bounded by its own parameters and rigorous rules, yet full of freedom and individuality. It is abstract and at the same time, it reveals the dancers’ humanity.”
Choreography of Set and Reset (1983): Trisha Brown
Direction of Set and Reset/Reset (2017): Kathleen Fisher
Performing: EnKnapGroup – Luke Thomas Dunne (Great Britain), Ana Štefanec Knez (Slovenia), Jeffrey Schoenaers (Belgium), Lada Petrovski Ternovšek (Croatia), Matea Bilosnić (Croatia) in Gilles Noël (Belgium)
Music: Laurie Anderson
Lighting: Jaka Šimenc and Hotimir Knific (Based on the original design by Robert
Rauschenberg and Beverly Emmons in 1983)
Costumes: Katarina Škaper (Based on the original design by Robert Rauschenberg in 1983)
CANARD PEKINOIS/DARK UNION
Canard pekinois (1987) was the debut work of Josef Nadj, a dancer and choreographer born in the small town of Kanjiža in Vojvodina. Josef Nadj, who, throughout his 30-year career, has been working and living between France, Hungary and Serbia, wanted to explore the possibility of existence on the boundary between life and death, where death is considered to be the gateway to the world of nothingness. This famous piece has toured around the world and will be reinvented by Nadj and the dancers of EnKnapGroup in the Španski borci Culture centre.
For choreographer Josef Nadj, the revival of this piece represents an end to a thirty-year cycle. It is an opportunity to return to the beginning of his career and rethink the origins of his artistic expression. Working with the dancers of EnKnapGroup gave him the opportunity to isolate a specific motive from the original work and develop a variation of this theme that will serve him as the basis for the new performance. At the heart of Canard pekinois/Dark union is a tragic story of newlyweds who only manage to live a few fleeting moments of happiness before the impermanence of life steps between them. Nadj and the dancers try to evoke the gloomy emotion accompanying this sad relationship, which became almost legendary in his hometown. The event that Josef witnessed as a child acts like a projection in his choreography, and serves as a metaphor for the passing of time and eventually leads us to the beyond. Nadj sees this new work as an opportunity for the new generation to face the core subjects of the story. Interestingly enough, the new piece is much shorter than the original work, while its topic has become much wider – as if one wanted to immortalize the moment for eternity. Based on a personal story which transcends the subjective and, through artistic transformation, becomes an intimate mythology blossoming into a universal piece of art.
Choreography: Josef Nadj
Performing: EnKnapGroup – Luke Thomas Dunne (Great Britain), Ana Štefanec Knez (Slovenia), Jeffrey Schoenaers (Belgium), Lada Petrovski Ternovšek (Croatia), Matea Bilosnić (Croatia), Gilles Noël (Belgium)
Music: Csik Zenekar, Josef Nadj
Light design: Jaka Šimenc and Hotimir Knific (Based on the concept of Josef Nadj)
Costumes: Katarina Škaper (Based on the concept of Josef Nadj)
Photography: Andrej Lamut
Text: Denise Luccioni
Translation: Renata Zamida, Nina Smerkol