Video/ New Technology collaborations in Eastern Europe are now
considered to be a new realm of exploration for contemporary
dancers and filmmakers. However, Eastern European dance and
film have repeatedly encountered each other throughout the history
of cinema. For example, world famous film-ballets and ballet-animations
were created. One of the great examples of such dance film encounters
is Alexander Belinskys Anyuta
based on Anton Chekhovs story Anna na
shee (Anna on the neck) with Ekaterina Maximova
and Vladimir Vassiliev. This ballet was created specifically
for the camera. In his book The Old Tango, Belinsky
ruminates on the notion of televisionnost, i.e.
different ways to expand the choreography beyond the stage such
as changing action locations, having the same dancer play different
characters, etc., he writes, Televisionnost
is something that is not possible in the Ballet theatre; it
is supposed to be figured out in the script, it gives dynamism
to the spectacle and compensates for real time on screen. Anyuta
was the first film-ballet that demonstrates televisionnost'
consciously rather than intuitively." Belinsky introduces
the term montage choreography, and points out that Vladimir
Vassiliev, the choreographer of Anyuta, constructed
all mass scenes in the editing room. The success of Anyuta
was so remarkable that the choreography found its re-incarnation
on the stages of the Bolshoi and Naples Theatres.
that film-ballets have been the major form of dance and film
collaboration is that during the years of the Soviet era, ballet
was almost the only "allowed" form of artistic expression
in terms of body movement while most of the film production
happened under the umbrella of the large film studios and on
35mm. As a result, experimental film tradition has never fully
developed and therefore, unlike in the US, for example, the
space for short dance film experiments has never been created.
the word choreography has not been alien to filmmakers
since the day film technology allowed filmmakers to pick up
the camera in their hands and virtuously pas with
it creating intricate choreography to express a certain idea
or evoke a certain feeling. One of the stunning examples of
this kind of choreographic exploration is I am Cuba,
a film by Mikhail Kalatozov.
In this film, cinematographer and cameraman Sergey
Urussevskii repeatedly choreographs complex multi-layered
scenes. In the opening shot of the film Urussevskii journeys
with the camera from the roof top of the hotel where a jazz
band performs, through the staircases portraying the views of
the city to the pool area where wealthy Americans are brunching
and finally diving into the pool itself. There are quite a few
similar shots in the film and each of them requires precise
and meticulous coordination, i.e. choreography, of the actors
and the camera around them.
last fifteen years, with the fall of communist regimes, the
re-birth of modern dance in Eastern Europe, exposure to a diverse
range of contemporary dance traditions from around the world
and the de-centralization of film production new alleys have
opened for every dancer and film / video maker to experiment
with and explore the hybrid genre of dance film. At the same
time, the Eastern European audiences have yet to discover the
potential of the dance film genre. There are only a few dance
films made in each Eastern European county every year, and most
producing companies and TV stations in Eastern Europe have quite
a limited understanding of dance film. They treat it as either
a documentation of a performance, a reportage about a dance
festival or other dance event, a TV special about a ballerina
hosted by a renown critic or, in the best case scenario, a film
adaptation of a ballet. For many producers, dance film still
stays a mystery.
are exceptions in each country. For example, in Slovenia, the
dance company En-Knap managed
to obtain support from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture, and
every couple of years produces a short film on 35mm. At the
same time, in Poland, a town of Lodz, a home for the Polish
National Film School and one of the contemporary choreography
centers, hosts the Festival of Kino
Tanca. The directors of the festival brought film
and dance school together and as a result, the first dance films
were produced. And finally, our own festival KINODANCE
in St. Petersburg.
fall of the iron curtain, many Eastern European
choreographers and filmmakers work and sometimes even move abroad.
Although they live outside Eastern Europe, their work often
possess certain sensibilities in the spirit of Eastern European
Literature, Theatre and Cinema phantasmagoric narratives
and characters, dark humor and sarcasm, surreal hyperbolized
sets and design along with lyricism, romantic sadness, and eternal
quest for perfection and redemption of the soul through deep
20 min, 35mm on video, 1995, Slovenia
Director: Patrick Otten, Iztok Kovac;
Choreographer: Iztok Kovac
point of reference in Iztok Kovac's work is often his home town
Trbovlje. Trbovlje is a mining town and and also the Slovene
symbol of gray, polluted and forsaken landscape of socialist
heavy industry. Kovac's returns to his home-town should not
be understood merely as nostalgia or personal sentimentality,
but as a return to the source of his own physical constitution,
which was formed when surrounded by the bodies of workers and
miners, in the alternating rhythm of work and rest, in the environment
constantly reminding one of the irreconcilable conflict between
civilization and nature.
Thus his film Narava Beso reveals, on the one hand,
his personal attitude towards the realistic ambience of his
home-town and on the other, enriched with wider connotations
and forming itself into a certain poetical structure, his understanding
of the actual world."
film takes place in seven different locations that have one
thing in common: they are places of the past, of someone's
youth and childhood, places from a different social climate
and human history where hard physical work took place. In
the film, suddenly this site, marked with activity, which
had stopped due to certain historical necessity, is taken
by a group of dancers. Yet, surprisingly, they do not move.
Instead they are just listening to the far away sounds and
rhythms. But if or when they decide to move again, they move
carefully and thoughtfully, as following the complex energetic
currents, encoded in this grounds". - En-Knap
is a solo dancer, choreographer and the founder of
EN-KNAP, an international dance group. En-Knap
was founded in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1994. With nine dance
projects choreographed by Iztok Kovac - Spread Your
Wings (you clumsy Elephant), Sting and String
first touch, Codes of Cobra, Far From Sleeping Dogs,
Emanatio Protei, The Perfect step? Hu Die,
Met Kocke and S.K.I.N., the company has
introduced and established its own aesthetics inside the European
dance scene and formed its own idiosyncratic identity. En-Knap
have had over 300 reprises of nine performances, held on world-known
international dance stages and festivals.
72 min, 35mm on video, 1998-2002, Hungary
Director: Ferenc Grunwalsky;
Choreographer: Andrea Ladányi
Orbán Composer: György
is a series of dance, music, and memories, in which photos,
dance, and film imaging is mixed with 20th century documentation.
It focuses on the journey of the ”reviving body”:
a series of visions and tribulations. Andrea Ladányi’s
movements are a combination of beauty, sport, acrobatics, and
dance, both classical and modern. Her dancing figure is a phenomenon,
evoking an ancient Greek statue, and is contemporary and otherworldly
at the same time. Just like planets in motion, ”none other
but perceptual movement and music of many sounds to erect a
milestone at the vast river of time.” (34th Hungarian
Film Week, Budapest 2003 – Prize to the Director for Visual
Expression; Special Prize for Best Performance to Andrea Ladányi).
Photo by Ferenc Grunwalsky
extraordinary symbiosis of the modern dance of Andrea Ladányi,
the music of György Kurtág,
the graphic drawings of István Nádler, the poetry
of Ottó Orbán and Grunwalsky's own talent as
a director and cinematographer. Kurtág's music is increasingly
internationally famous, yet his atmospheric music has until
now not been heard on film soundtracks—the composer
has forbidden it, not wanting his compositions to become mere
“illustration”. However, Kurtág was so
convinced of the merit of the project (based on a series of
1000s of preliminary still photographs taken by Grunwalsky)
that he gave his consent. As the title suggests, the focus
is primarily on Ladányi and her combination of classical
and experimental dance techniques in a series of abstract
tableaux that cast the alienation of modern life into bodily
form, with dramatic lighting and Nádler's simple line
drawings accentuating the physical space Ladányi occupies.
Between these scenes, we see archive footage of atrocities
of the 20th century: a man being shot, another being hanged."
– Andrew James Horton (http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/festivals/03/25/hungarian_week.html)
studied Hungarian and German Literature and Linguistics at
the ELTE University between 1962 and 1964. He then graduated
as a director and photographer at the Academy of Performing
Arts in 1968. In the sixties he collaborated with Miklós
Jancsó and recently they began working together again.
He signed the social manifesto in 1969 and was a determining
figure of the Béla Balázs Studio for years.
Since 1981 he has been the photographer of György Szomjas.
He made his first feature film, 'Requiem for a Revolutionary'
her career in dance as a classically trained ballet dancer,
graduating from the Hungarian National Ballet school in 1981.
She soon became a solo dancer for the Gyôr Ballet Company
from 1981 to 1986, under the artistic direction of noted Hungarian
choreographer Iván Markó. Ladányi then
decided to expand her horizons, veering from her classical
training into modern and jazz dance in Toronto, New York,
and Los Angeles. From 1989 to 1991, she became a solo dancer
for the Helsinki City Theatre in Finland, under internationally
acclaimed choreographer Jorma Uotinen, going on to become
the solo dancer of the Finnish National Opera for the 1991-1992
season. Over these years, Ladányi experienced important
creative exchanges, both in her complicity with Uotinen, and
in his creative circle.
back to Hungary in 1993, and two years later founded a company
of her own, La
Dance Company. In 2002 she was appointed Chair of the
Movement Department at the Hungarian National Academy of Film
and Theatre. Ladányi has received numerous Hungarian
theatre, dance and film awards for her work, including the
Harangozo prize, the Liszt prize and the Special Award for
Female Performance at the 34th Film Week, a yearly festival
in Budapest. In addition to her work as a dancer and choreographer,
Ladányi has appeared in numerous film and television
projects. These have included: a solo in Miklós Jancsó's
feature film, The Lord's Lantern.