Tuesday, October 2, 2012

written thoughts by Adrienn Pásztóy_1st day

Cie József Trefeli / Jinx 103
Two dancers and one roll of barrier tape; that is all Jinx 103 needed to amaze me. The simplicity, the dynamics, the playfulness, which was somehow maintained with dead serious tools, the atmosphere; all of this contributed to the birth of an astonishing performance. 
The piece started out with the two dancers, József Trefeli and Gábor Varga chanting a Hungarian nursery rhyme and using a roll of barrier tape to create evanescent, ephemeral sculptures. These postures are held out for no more than a couple of seconds and then followed by another one. The tape falls helplessly to the floor, having completed its artistic mission. It might be interesting to note, though, the pejorative meaning of this. Barrier tape is usually used to, for instance, keep ordinary citizens out of a dangerous territory, such as a crime scene, or some major construction site. And somehow this function of the prop is realized, too; after this series of tape-sculptures, the two performers create a circle on the stage, they mark their territory, shutting the audience out, excluding them from the playground which also happens to be a fighting arena, even if the duel taking place in the ring is a playful one, reminding one of a teasing display of power.
The nursery rhyme itself is also a ghost of childhood, and just like the fact (at least for me) that the performers let this tape-tures fall on the floor without any regret, there is no compulsive clinging to the past; letting go is a matter of attitude, not a matter of fear. 
The nursery rhyme goes as follows: “Egyedem-begyedem tengertánc, Hajdú sógor mit kívánsz? Nem kívánok egyebet, csak egy szelet kenyeret.” The second part of the rhyme is worth some emphasis: “I do not want anything else, just a slice of bread.” In Hungarian, if you break bread with somebody, it means that you are becoming friends. It suggests simplicity and a kind of ritual, just like the whole choreography. Furthermore, the word “sea-dance” in the first line also somehow reminds me of the belonging, the vibration shared by the performers, and the co-dependency appearing in the structure of movements.
The choreography was created in the spirit of the title; when two persons say something at the same time by accident, in English you say “Jinx” and in Hungarian you say “103”. The only difference is that in Jinx 103 these meeting points are intentional: one of the dancers starts a dance pattern and the other follows, so the dance movements include both identical and contrastive segments. The choreography abounds in traditional Hungarian folk dance steps, and a part of the music is also of Hungarian folk music. The energy of folk dance is perfect for this function of playfulness: it is loud from all the clappings, it is dynamic thanks to the kicks, and it requires undivided attention from the dancers to synchronise the movements. It suggests concordance and equality. 
The battle appearing in this dancing ring is only a teasing one, as if the steps of one performer asked the other, “what will you do now? Will you follow me? Can you keep the tempo?” This joyful dual is supported by the dancers keeping almost continous eye contact with each other, the audience functions only as a group of witnesses for the scene of playful teasing. Using Hungarian heritage and joint meeting points, the performers create something that is serious and childish, ancient and modern, entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. 
I honestly hope it was not the first and last time I saw the performance.
Pásztóy Adrienn

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