Thursday, August 7, 2014

Questionnaire with participant Benjamin Jarrett (USA)

photo: Végel Dániel at CEU

Have you been (when) to Budapest - Hungary with your pieces and artistic works earlier?
No. My only involvement in the dance community here, until this project with Márta and Zsolt, has been through my dance workshops, first at the Mozdulatmüvészek Háza from 2008-'10 and '13, and later at Zéróplusz Táncstúdió in 2013-'14.

What do you know about Hungary and what kind of informations do you have about our dance life?
This is such an open question I don't think I could answer it in brief. I know a lot and a little, depending on the angle from which I put my attention and whomever listens.  

Could you share with us if you have any idols in theater/dance life?
I've spent too long idolizing certain performers and teachers in my life that I rather would prefer just to say that I have huge respect for certain (if I only list the living ones) people like Ladjánszki Márta, Mateo Lugo, Haruko Nishimura and the Degenerate Art Ensemble, Sherwood Chen, Nora Chipoumire, Ivo Dimchev, Anna Halprin, Min Tanaka, company Derevo, Czap Gábor, Nagy József, Ohad Naharin, Yuko Kaseki, Diego Agullo ... I could go on and on.

What kind of piece will you bring to L1danceFest and does this piece mean any differences or similarities to your earlier works? Where did you perform it already?
The solo Márta and I have made is a meditation. It starts and finishes and one of my challenges throughout the performance of the piece is to stay in contact with that elusive thread which connects each piece together. This is the first time I've asked someone to choreograph a piece on my body. Of course the process was/is collaborative in nature, but it's Márta's vision, direction and aesthetic, all of which I have huge respect for, which is why I asked her in the first place. 

We've performed the piece once at the Trafó rehearsal studio as a work-in-progress showing, and at the CEU campus as a site-specific public showing, however the performance for this festival will be the official premiere, along with full lighting by Czech lighting designer Tomas Moravek.

Do you have your artistic statement, could you share with us?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona amid the sun, cactus and hard ground.  My acting training stems from my own social survival skills as an extremely shy child. I developed a way to be socially involved, yet able to escape at any moment. I learned how to disappear, blend in, and to go with the flow; but this training also taught me patience and sensitivity to atmosphere.

I am a father, a husband, a feminist, a dancer, a creator, a teacher. I am multinational, multicultural, multilingual. I have not one home but many. My home is the desert, the ocean, cityscape and countryside. I am an equal resident of both Central Europe and the Western United States, and feel at home in both. At the same time, I feel foreign in both, and it is this polychotomous, rather in-between, existence that has given me a unique perspective which I bring to my work.

I’ve performed internationally for/with such artists as Anna Halprin, inkBoat, Tadashi Endo, Mateo Lugo, and Márta Ladjánszki; simultaneously staging my own pieces and teaching regular movement workshops in Serbia, Hungary and the San Francisco Bay Area.

My greatest teachers are my wife, Petra, who is a constant inspiration to me, teaching me something new every day and always keeping me on my toes; and our daughter, Ilona, who lives each moment what I strive to learn and share: relating to everything and everyone in her environment as equals, with respect and playfulness.

Do you have any hobby beside working as a performer or creator?
I love to cook, especially Indian and Arabic food recently.

Can you write some details about your artistic life - which direction did you come from and which direction do you go right now? Tell us some important steps from your background!
Oh my, so complicated. Let's see ...
... competitive swimming, Japanese martial arts, classical ballet, modern dance (mostly Graham a little Limon), Cunningham, Klein/Mahler Technique, contemporary, Alexander, Feldenkrais, Anna Halprin's whole body of work, massage therapy, Body Weather (mostly from Sherwood Chen, but also from Min Tanaka and Oguri), West African dance, Hungarian folk dance at a few táncház, Judo, Kalaripayat, Vipassana meditation ... 
Where to go from here? we'll see.

How did your summer time go? Did you get any new inspirations? Do you have a best experience during this summer?
10-day Vipassana meditation course. 

Does it mean any differences to play your pieces in different countries? If so, could you please tell us in what sense?
Of course - other countries, even other cities within the same country, or different neighborhoods within the same city, or even the same people on a different occasion or in a different venue. 
What I'm getting at is that each performance is slightly different because I'm different, the audience is different, the day is different, etc. As far as a whole other county goes, I can't say that I'd pay too much attention to that; there are just too many factors to consider that it becomes immaterial. What's important is to perform a piece with integrity for whoever is there with you.

What does it mean to you to be in the process and to show the work to the audience? What kind of feedback are you open for?
In process means that the piece is not really finished. Finished would mean that I am satisfied with the structure and execution of a piece, enough to show it to a wider audience.

Do you read critics about your works? What kind of critic do you need?
If someone says they loved it I get very little; same for if they say they hated it. I'm interested in three things:

1. what did you see?
2. what did you feel? or: how did it make you feel?
3. what kind of associations did you make (ie: what images came to mind?)

These are the most helpful to get a sense of what's actually coming through from here to there.

Do you criticize other’s works? Do you write about it?
Not publicly.

Are you open for a round table discussion with the audience after a premier or after your show?

Here you find some words, could you put them in sentences which could be kind of ars poetic of yours!

Do you have any question?
Nope :)

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