Total Pageviews



WORKSHOP – KÖM (Critics’ Self-Educating Workshop) by L1 Association – led by Orsolya Bálint

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 ( and short cues for the daily Festival Memo. They also participate in the open discussions after the performances (, 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


echoes_quick scan Chris Leuenberger & Matthew Rogers: DESIRE & DISCIPLINE by Mónika Kunstár

Just like untamed wild horses roaming the meadows, honestly and restlessly; their every movement is an expression of freedom and indestructible life force. The space is free for the sound, for the movement, for the half-naked men in blue jeans, running around bare feet on the stage; and singing – this is crazy! – the song Lemon Tree. It is a game and no game at the same time, the rhythm and the sincere pulsing of speedy breaths. 

photo: Roland Szabo
Desire & Discipline (created by Chris Leuenberger, Matthew Rogers and Thomas Jeker) is a really loveable piece; I will be still researching its metaphors tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and until the next moment, when I can roam against the wind wherever my feet take me. Look for this moment, free the Mustang inside yourself! Loved it! Jeans, freedom, Mustang forever…

Mónika Kunstár – member of KÖM by L1 Association


echoes_Uri Shafir: THE KOLOKLUM by Orsolya Bálint

Nothing and all

„I was playing with a physically impossible task – being everywhere, and doing everything in each moment.” (Uri Shafir)

We are all destined to fail at one point or another. It is a genuine result and ‘byproduct’ of human endeavor (see Beckett’s “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”). Setting ourselves impossible tasks, trying to meet real and imaginary expectations, wearing too many hats is a master class in failing on the most peculiar, most glamorous ways.
Trying to be everything and everywhere in each moment results in not being really present anywhere at any time, losing first the focus and the authority over our own actions, then over our own lives, feeling an ever growing inertia and incapability. We want it all, and at the end, we are left with nothing.
In this particular case, we are left with a dance performance about nothing, which is something, isn’t it?

photo: Roland Szabo
The stage is a super-condensed reality. The choreography is an inventory of well-planned actions and desires of certain moves, which have to be performed, at the ‘right’ time, in the ‘right’ order. The performance is an output, what is left to be achieved, accomplished. But there is the fragile human element, the organic ingredient, the dancer himself. He is surrounded by an overwhelming expectation and a pressure of having to do something – and not just ‘be’ – on stage. Where is his self behind his movements? How can he claim back his presence, from being caught up in actions?
Uri says, the Nothing allows him to summon the presence. Because there is nothing in everything – otherwise it wouldn’t be EVERYthing. The two words even collide in the title of the performance, The Koloklum, meaning ‘all or nothing’ and ‘all and nothing’ at the same time. The tiny conjunction ‘and’ makes a huge difference, setting the two elements not into opposition but to be on a par. Maybe there isn’t just nothing in everything, but there is everything in nothing? Nothing is the state of giving up and letting go – of all the expectations, all the goals and tasks, and the pressure to perform. This way it becomes a tool opening up the freedom – of action and non-action, ultimately the freedom of choice and free will –, which was previously missing, and revealing the self, being present, without any outer or inner restrictions.
When Uri is trying to be everywhere and everything, his body parts become jammed and fly seemingly out of control, meeting his physical limits, even exceeding his (as the performer’s) and the space’s limits, when he jumps on an audience chair and leaves the theatre for some seconds. To freak us out even more, his shirt is checkered and spotted too, wanting to be all in one. In between those hyperactive and ‘imperfect’ movements, being complemented and overdone again by the gracefully majestic adagio of Samuel Barber, the Nothing appears like an invisible, but tangible footnote.
In fact it appears in us, in the audience as well, when we let go of our pre-consumptions and agendas, even of the need of complying with what we think the audience’s role and responsibility is (like, trying to make sense of what we see), being just present, alive, being ourselves, dissolved in collectivity, left with feelings instead of ideas.
We are all destined to fail at one point or another. Uri fails better every time.
Orsolya Bálint – KÖM by L1 Association

echoes_Dominik Grünbühel & Luke Baio: OHNE NIX by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

We offer nix
Certain things in life can never be boring: like reading, playing super cool computer games, hanging out on Netflix, making love and watching performances about creating performances. Obviously, you can always learn from your books, relax during playing and watching series, investigate the layers of hidden energies in the bodies…
But what’s the big deal with performances that are about creating art works? – you may ask. And I totally understand that question since there’s nothing new or unusual in that. And still: conceptual thinking is one of the most exiting lines of questioning when it comes to talk about art. Actually, it’s a deep cut of art that whispers about the communication process between performer and performance, murmurs about presence and absence, and queries the borders of representation.

photo: Roland Szabo
Dominik Grünbühel’s and Luke Baio’s piece, Ohne Nix is a sudden, complex show that follows the way of conceptual thinking. It’s a metakinetic performance, which connects different timelines in the same space. But the meeting of past and present opens up the space and makes it possible to invert the rules and roles of certain theatrical elements.
There are two talking heads in the room: masks from gypsum that are lightened as faces with a projector. They are the copies of the performers who narrate the ‘events’ in the present. They talk about the tiny failures of the creating process, as they note: ‘We offer nix’.
And there are also two performers in the room: the ‘original’ versions of the virtual masks. They are bodily men who illustrate the narration of the heads, who belong to the time of the past.
Interesting situation, huh? Present belongs to absence (virtuality) and absence belongs the present (reality)… If you think about this subverted theatrical relation, you may realize the heads are not lying: truly, Ohne Nix offers nothing but nonsense.
On the other side of the fence, nonsense’s always been a good fertilizer of humor. And Grünbühel and Baio let us laugh, allow us to be entertained during the performance. That’s how the structure of Ohne Nix becomes a whole: it gives us the chance of horizontal identification; therefore it can involve us into the performance. Performers and spectators, we are the same, in a certain way. We both are the skin of the performance (nix -> niks -> skin), just sitting on the other sides of the virtual fourth wall.
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – member of KÖM by L1 Association

echoes_quick scan_Dame de Pic/cie. Karine Ponties: HAVRAN by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy

Out of balance
There is a man lying face down on the ground. Under his mouth, he holds a huge long bamboo stick. Some deep music mutters just like the noises directly before the sky falls down.

photo: Roland Szabo
After a while, the man gets up slowly with the stake between his teeth, and the dark dance begins: man and stick in a robust, rustic duet where everything seems to be pointless and haphazard. We could pair some meanings to the movements (i.e. we could say that Jaro Viňarský acts like a scarecrow) – but I prefer not to search for concrete meanings. Why? Because Karine Ponties’ Havran is actually a poetic summary of a state of being; a chunky asseveration of a subverted world order, where everything just begins to tip out of balance.
Viňarský is both the builder and the sustainer of the world around himself; he creates a wrong, hostile environment and his movements cannot find their place in that. Fighting and abdication follows each other in his movements, there’s no chance for escape.
Zsuzsanna Komjáthy – member of KÖM by L1 Association