Sunday, August 11, 2019

Gyula Berger (H) – Interview with our guests at L1danceFest 2019

L1danceFest 2019
Movement-based International Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts
18th annual edition organized by L1 Association in Budapest
Interview with Gyula Berger
– At the beginning of June you received the Endre Jeszenszky Award for your work as a dance teacher. How did you feel when you got to know that you were honored? How do you evaluate being rewarded, what role does it play in your professional life?
Photo: National Association of Hungarian Dance Teachers
– I was very surprised, because I have received my first and only prize 25–30 years ago and that was awarded by the National Association of Hungarian Dance Teachers as well. It was gratifying that the Association once again thought I am worthy of a prize, and Ii am not indifferent that the prize was named after one of my former masters, who – although I got far from the style he represented – I highly respect and I am thankful to. Surprisingly many people (former students, colleagues etc.) wrote me nice words about the award. And although I like to think of myself as being more of an internally driven person and therefore less dependent on external recognition, it was a heart-warming feeling and a motivating force. As a creator I have not received any awards yet, so we can say that awards play no role in my career as a choreographer.
– Ever since you have been maintaining a studio called ZéróPlusz Dance Studio at the Jurányi House, you have also developed a permanent education program, where dancers can go deeper into various styles. What kind of motivation and goals did you have and where are you going now?
– I enjoy teaching. I first started with it back then when I was studying at Jeszenszky, so it has accompanied my career ever since. I have always felt that I learn the most through teaching, not only because I have to understand first what I want to pass on to my students. But also because teaching is a two-way exchange of information. I always felt that I learned as much from my students / dancers as they did from me. Otherwise, my strong desire to create a more complex educational program for those who were interested in it, was born during my years at European Dance Development Centre – EDDC. I didn't have the energy and time to go into it for a long time, and then – an otherwise unfortunate and damaging incident – the diminution / lack of the support of creation gave me the right push.
Photo: Roland Szabo
– When will you go back on stage (if you plan it)?
– I'm not planning it yet, but who knows what life brings? A lot has happened to me that I didn't expect, so even that could happen.
– What is life like in the L1 Association, both as a former president and as a current member?
– Pleasantly relaxed. It is good to see how much the Association has evolved and that it is flourishing mainly thanks to Márta Ladjánszki, Zsolt Varga and some very active members. I think the L1danceFest plays an important role in the contemporary dance life in Hungary, but I could not bear any longer the fast-paced stress of its leadership, next to my current job. So I watch things from a little off the coast, sometimes I yell in, and that's just fine.
– Interview was made by Emese Kovács (L1 Association) – 
www.L1.hu

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