Movement is the most important thing
We talked with Michał Piróg, a dancer/choreographer from Warsaw about dance theatre and his own art.
Ad Spectatores: You’ve just finished yours festival ZAWIROWANIA (the Whirls). It’s a quick jump from one festival to another...
Michał Piróg: Yes, it is; it’s sad that the two festivals came at the same time, because everyone has a problem – which to choose, especially when you think how few dance festivals exist in Poland. Also for me personally it’s a hard choice, because I have happy memories of the Conference here in Bytom; I used to come here myself to participate in workshops and watch performances. I would like to stay here much longer, but this time we could be here for just one day, and it’s a pity for us.
AdS: Your theatre was created only recently...
MP: Our theatre has existed for a while, but recently the form of it has changed. Earlier, the Director of the theatre was Elwira Piorun, the founder, who co-operated with Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. “After work” is the first work with the new team. Only Elwira remains from the previous group.
AdS: Could you say something about the origins of theatre Zawirowania? Why did you wanted to connect Opera Narodowa soloists with contemporary dancers?
MP: It was Elwira’s idea: she wanted to create dance theatre in Warsaw, where nothing existed in this art form. Contemporary dance always must always fight to exist and we don’t have our own premises. However, since 2004 we have our festival, which is a big success. It’s not yet a tradition, but it’s a good beginning. Now, we would like to join all contemporary dance theatres on one stage, for something like pre-festival shows.
AdS: This year, you organized a festival of dance theatres from Central Europe, but for this event you also invited theatres from Switzerland, Spain and Canada. Why?
MP: We started with the idea of a central Europe focus, but later we spread from Europe to Russia and even to Canada – it was the main joke of this festival. We’re located in the middle of Europe, so everyone can come here and perform.
AdS: So festival Zawirowania has ended and now you're here at the Bytom Conference, which lasts two weeks. Can you say that the situation of dance theatre in Poland is changing for the better?
MP: Yes, it’s getting better. Unfortunately, it changes only when somebody is trying hard, working and arranging. We still don’t have a tradition of inviting dance theatres to drama theatres. In Poland dance theater is not well known.
AdS: But, your theatre has been invited abroad…
MP: Yes, it’s funny that first we had invitations from abroad, we took part in a very spontaneous project on Crete, arranged at the last minute. We met new people there, and it showed that we can play more abroad than in Poland. Although I’m sure that even in Poland interest in dance theatre is growing. There are certainly people who want to watch dance theatre performances, but we’re in a tough situation because of money. Sponsors prefer giving cash for vaudeville and popular productions. But, I hope it will change, and dance theatre will become more widely available.
AdS: If you had to list some traits, which characterize your theatre, what would they be?
MP: Everyone here has different experience: Elwira was a classical dancer; the others were working in modern jazz, and I am from jazz and contemporary dance. In the beginning there was a confrontation of four people, four styles and predispositions. We had to find something in common for us all - it was some kind of experiment. While we were working on “After hours” we wanted to create something like contemporary dance, but we didn’t want to pressure anybody. Besides, this performance arose – as the title suggests – after hours.
AdS: From 9 pm to midnight?
MP: From 11 pm to 3 am. Firstly, the show had a different title, but we changed it to “After hours” – as some kind of joke, connected with the rehearsal period. Now, we’re heading in the direction of contemporary dance. I’m thinking about a new performance, in which I don’t want to integrate different dance techniques, but I would like to focus on just one of them.
AdS: While I was looking for information about your theatre, I often found the sentence: “theatre expresses emotions by movement”.
MP: Yes, it’s really something like that – the body is an instrument for us. We’re trying to use our bodies, but we also want to speak about emotions. Theatre is more focused on emotional meaning than on pure form. In “After hours” we’re talking about emotional matters, and we’re using only some decoration. Movement is the most important thing for us.