Dance critics in Hungary are working almost as isolated as hermits in Ivory Towers. Due to the lack of institutional education and professional platforms, they have to learn and develop new approaches and a vocabulary on their own to start writing about contemporary dance. This solitary attitude also alienates them from the subjects of their work – the artists at work.
Members of L1 Association first came up with the idea of establishing a platform for critics four years ago, with the aim to start a dialogue and an exchange of impressions to develop a brand new, collective way of thinking. This revolutionary approach could help to establish a positive way of criticism not based on statements, but more on asking questions, getting into interaction with the artist and the performances as well. The progressive spirit is also reflected in the critical writing, being a mutual exchange instead of unilateral feedback, bringing contemporary performing arts closer to audiences.
Parallel to the annual L1danceFest, Hungarian and international critics were invited to explore the possibilities of establishing a new platform based on these ideas, first as Dance Script Laboratory, then in the framework of MAKT (Mobile Academy of Dance Criticism) and since 2014 as KÖM (Critics’ Self-Educating Workshop) by L1 Association. In 2015 members of KÖM have also attended various European festivals – Performing V4 – Biennial for VARP-PA Residents, Identity.Move!, and Tanec Praha Festival in Prague, Tanzquartier Wien, Zagreb Dance Week and Bora Bora New Nordic Dance Platform in Aarhus, Denmark – to share their good practice and establish co-operation with international artists and fellow critics.
This is already the second year, when KÖM is accompanying L1danceFest, with six Hungarian dance writers coming from different backgrounds, with varying approaches and individual writing styles. They watch every performance and participate on the workshops, discuss these on the following day and write reviews in English for the festival blog (http://dancescript.blogspot.hu) and short cues for the daily Festival Memo. They also participate in the open discussions after the performances (http://talkingthroughv4plus.blogspot.hu/), to initiate conversation between the artists and the audience.
Members of KÖM:
Orsolya Bálint - journalist, dance writer
Kristóf Farkas - dancer, actor, cultural manager, dance writer
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy - theatre and dance theorist, dance writer
Mónika Kunstár - dancer, dance teacher, dance writer
Laura Marx - philosopher, dance writer
Zita Sándor - theatre critic, dramaturge, lecturer, dance writer