INTERVIEW WITH GEORG BLASCHKE
with Regina Lissowska
Renata Lissowska: It is visible in your works that you are interested in going beyond boundaries; it is somehow incorporated in release and the Feldenkrais method you employ. This is why I would like to ask how you perceive boundaries in the context of the body and space as well as in psychological and theoretical aspects.
Georg Blaschke: It is a very interesting question. A boundary is a cognitive tool. It refers to the Feldenkrais method which is very important in my work, both, when it comes to the aspects of the body and representation in the sense of aesthetics. It is a wide topic. In the Feldenkrais method, the boundaries are called constraints. It means starting with the smallest movement abilities in joints. One can experience, naturally or consciously, that there are some constraints in moving. But there are also constraints which we can impose ourselves, like in the situation when we block one limb using other one. The very constraints give us new possibilities of movement because those force us to look for new solutions in order to go around the obstacle. From the somatic point of view, this is the way of exploring new spaces and movement awareness.
I also use this concept to develop the internal and external presence. The pictures presented by bodies can be transformed through self limitation. Additionally, physical contact, like in the case of partnering, creates boundaries – one is not free anymore since a constellation of bodies is created. So it’s a somatic tool enabling us to produce pictures which could be read by the audience. Nevertheless, I don’t stop here, I go further – I draw from the architecture, which naturally sets space limits. What I find interesting is how it is possible to use the architecture for discovering new ways of going beyond the constraints. I would like to delve deeper into this problem. When it comes to release or the Feldenkrais method, it is a process that starts inside and extends to the outside. Starting with the body work, I precede to the partner work, to the group work, and then to the work with space and the architecture. It could be discussed from the social and psychological point of view. All the constraints are very inspiring for me. They are a source of new possibilities of representing the presence, as well as the physical and aesthetic forms.
R.L.: What other fields are you interested in? Do you draw inspiration from other forms of art?
G.B.: As I have already said, I’m inspired by everything that surrounds me, namely, the space and the reality. I don’t utilize many factors coming from the outside. I consciously exclude them because I want to stay as close to the somatic approach as possible. It can be exteriorized so I don’t need any additional inspirations. Somehow, it is always new and, in some sense, also rich. I find the fusion of space and choreography very inspiring. All the performances I have been recently working on are adapted to the space characterized by different distances, light patterns and architecture. I’m interested in phenomenology of contemporary sculpture - the way the sculptures or bodies are inscribed into the surrounding space, how they transform the space and what kind of relations between them is established. Apart from this, I take interest in archetypes of the human bodies and their differentiation – young and old, masculine and feminine, etc. Currently, I’ve been cooperating with a light architect and a musician, it is very inspiring too.
R.L.: One can clearly notice the deep theoretical awareness present in your performances. What is the way from the theory and inspiration to the act of communication with the audience?
G.B.: It takes time. I’m not a conceptualist, philosophy and phenomenology come later in my works. It is a process; during the last five years I’ve been developing a kind of a language combining the somatic approach, which is influenced by release, the Feldenkrais method, Body-Mind Centering, as well as my own experiences. All this is related to the way the body is presented in space, in relation to the architecture, etc. I don’t search for new spectacles, I rather deepen and transform the already existing forms. It is a complex process as the somatic approach reveals various issues.
In the case of “Jetzt bist Du dran,” which was performed here during the Festival, the former choreography was reconstructed. I was analyzing the form of the choreography, I was trying to capture the essence of tendencies in space through the somatic approach. I was thinking what to do with certain tendencies – should I elaborate more on one thing or place the other somewhere near the space limits? What follows, should I extend the presence to longer distances? I’m curious if I could filter the feelings through the somatic approach, in order to obtain new quality and extract the essence. “Jetzt bist Du dran” represents the very approach to the reconstruction. It undergoes the process of changing, next year it will be something different. I develop it through practice and the next step will come later.
R.L.: Will you continue the reconstruction approach in your future performances?
G.B.: The already existing performances are interesting for me. I’m also inspired by dancers’ bodies, their personality and history, I would like to redefine those. I have some concepts but I don’t want to reveal them now.
R.L.: I would like to change the perspective now. What do you, as a spectator, expect to see on stage? Which performances were especially inspiring or shocking for you? Is there a spectacle that is embedded in your mind?
G.B.: I could talk for hours about the performances I have seen because there have been a lot of them during the last twenty-five years. I have seen spectacles which were very inspiring, some of them, but not many, were shocking. When I go to see a performance, I try not to have any expectations. It is not easy as we all have a tendency to compare things; with the years, we develop some patterns in our heads. If I were to describe my expectations, those would probably be high taking into account how I perceive dance. But it is also a part of my job that I’m trying to leave the expectations aside and to look at a piece less critically. Anyway, later it will become clear what attracts me in the performance.
R.L.: What do you think about the Conference?
G.B.: I feel well here. I’m for the fifth time in Bytom and I like to come back here because I love the spirit; I see that people here are really engaged in what they do and respect each other. When I teach my classes, I see that the students are eager to learn something and to share their experiences. I feel really attracted by the space here, for example, by the postindustrial sites. I like the rawness, like this of the old power plant, one can find here. The lights and the colours present in the ambient are just wonderful. Probably many Poles think that this area is ugly as they have in mind the damages caused by coal mining; nevertheless, the atmosphere of this place appeals to me. From my observations I can tell that the Festival provides chances for the local community as well as for dancers from other parts of Poland. Here, one can be bitten by the dance bug.
R.L.: Thank you.