Awards 2015

Award Committee: Pia Brezavšček, Blaž Lukan, Sabina Potočki

CHOREOGRAPHER / AUTHOR: Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik
Collective of dance pedagogues of Secondary Preschool Education & Gymnasium Ljubljana – Contemporary dance programme (SVŠGL): Maja Delak, Mojca Dimec, Nina Fajdiga, Andreja Kopač, Vita Osojnik, Sinja Ožbolt, Špela Repar Lomovšek, Petra Pikalo, Matjaž Predanič, Miljana Sgerm, Dušan Teropšič, Nataša Tovirac, Tina Valentan, Urška Vohar, Matej Voje, Ana Čigon and the school headmaster Alojz Pluško 

Mateja Bučar

Mateja Bučar has continuously worked as an independent choreographer on the Slovenian contemporary dance scene for over twenty years. When her ballet background clashed with the conceptual and formal possibilities of the contemporary dance she met with abroad and in the Dance Theatre Ljubljana, she evolved from a dancer to a choreographer. She addressed a complex relation between the two forms of dance already in one of her early works – Discipline as a Condition of Freedom. Ever since, she has constantly surprised with the original, conceptually and visually refined spatialisations of dancing bodies. In their autonomous dance expression, the bodies in Mateja Bučar’s choreographies are not self-sufficient but in an active relationship with either physical or projected scenographic objects authored usually by her artistic and life companion Vadim Fiškin. The technology and set design are never an end in themselves but closely connected to a thoughtful choreography which is never redundant and is able to schematize a body in a way to speak through a bare form most generally. Such are Bučar’s early performances Pleasure in Displeasure, Dependance, Telborg, Media-Medici, O Quadrate and Room&Road which had a remake last year. Undoubtedly the performances which influenced many Slovenian dance artists’ and theorists’ way of thinking dance. Mateja Bučar is an artist who does not succumb to the dictate of the new and allows the artistic concept several emanations. In her recent works, such as Sorry out of ideas, I would’ve been a palm tree and Point-Less, she explores the intertwinement of a dancing body and technology whose mutual relation is an impulse for a (re)presentation of a more fundamental problem of human existence. Her latest works cross the threshold of theatre and enter the public space. Most discreet and yet formally refined and conceptually clear interventions in public space in her performances Green Light, Parking Packing and The Unnoticed, open a new chapter in her oeuvre and significantly contribute to the collection of contemporary works which expand our understanding of contemporary dance and choreography. May this award not a be a drawback for today as active and astute artist as in the past who has collaborated with several generations of dancers, but a tribute and acknowledgement for the invaluable contribution to the development of contemporary dance in Slovenia as well as an impetus for further artistic creation.

Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik

The choreographies by Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik take place at the intersection between the daily reality and its aesthetic overcoming and between choreography and anthropology. In the performance Time Body Trio (2013–2014) we follow dance through the anthropological research mainly in relation to the children and the elderly; it is not a “scientific” but rather poetic research and a lot more: it employs the elementary empathy, the ability to share other people’s feelings, the communication skills and a gift for instantaneous translation of the revealed and found in a sensible choreographic form.  The ephemeral forms, hardly perceptible movements which fundamentally affect individual’s-artist’s-spectator’s cognitive and receptive skills, a wish to stop the passing of time (hence resorting to a “museum”), to mould it, and the simultaneous awareness of its transience which nevertheless can every now and then be chipped off a fragment of life for oneself: this might summarize Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik’s choreographic work. In the last two years (including the projects Nezaznavni vzgibTelo v hiši, hiša v telesuGib in glas and Neavtorizirano), Andreja’s dance has been more relational than “aesthetic”; it has more relations than states, more statics than movement, more thought than metaphors, along with an abundance of elementary human curiosity, “naivety”, expectation of the unexpected, a new definition of “event”. In short: genuine openness and strong awareness of many possibilities dance still has to offer.

Jurij Konjar

Jurij Konjar considers dance the only possible medium that allows him breathing as an artist. When we see him dance, it becomes obvious that dance is his modus vivendi which – due to anything but ideal work conditions – forces him into another sort of movement, into the modern artistic nomadism from one residence to another. Nomadism is not just an external condition the artist accepts on behalf of his work, but it becomes a productive part of his approach to dance. This happens in terms of content, for example in his solo For Juliano Mer-Khamis, in which he, without unnecessary pathos, tackles the question of the artist’s role in a given social situation often paralysed by the precarious nomadism. It is even more obvious in terms of form; in Still he searches as opposition to the constant movement the stability, a point of reference, a “score” which could open a field for an event of encounter in this inevitable transience. In addition to other means of expression, for Konjar dance is the one which allows the event, it is the holder of the superlative and the unspeakable.  Rather than submitting to the existing structures or dictate of fixed choreography, he prefers inventing new modes of existence for every individual situation. In this respect, his contribution to the concept and practice of dance improvisation is of special value. His dancing body has the attributes of a curios child in play. Indeed, to him dance is an inexhaustible field of the possible which does not stop at the usual solutions but always finds that “something more”.  And this has for ever been the feeling and thinking body which in the middle of its unequivocal virtuosity concisely embeds abrupt stops, syncopes, stumbles and thereby sensitively tells the story of a life.

Collective of dance pedagogues of Secondary Preschool Education & Gymnasium Ljubljana – Contemporary dance programme (SVŠGL): Maja Delak, Mojca Dimec, Nina Fajdiga, Andreja Kopač, Vita Osojnik, Sinja Ožbolt, Špela Repar Lomovšek, Petra Pikalo, Matjaž Predanič, Miljana Sgerm, Dušan Teropšič, Nataša Tovirac, Tina Valentan, Urška Vohar, Matej Voje, Ana Čigon and the school headmaster Alojz Pluško 

Dance teachers at the Secondary Preschool Education and Gimnazija Ljubljana (SVŠGL) – Gimnazija specialised in performing arts, contemporary dance: Maja Delak, Mojca Dimec, Nina Fajdiga, Andreja Kopač, Vita Osojnik, Sinja Ožbolt, Špela Repar Lomovšek, Petra Pikalo, Dušan Teropšič,
Since 1999, the curriculum of SVŠGL – Gimnazija specialised in performing arts, contemporary dance, has allowed its students to develop their talent in dance and theatre on the basis of professional and high-quality educational approaches focused on the development of individual’s qualities. Hence it is not a surprise that more and more of SVŠGL graduates are not only active in the field of dance but some have also evolved into excellent dancers and choreographers. Of the last two years, we want to draw special attention to the 2013 and 2014 edition of Pre-premiere and Dance Solos: both events were the best possible display of the teachers’ quality work as well as the progress and achievements of the young dancers. Despite their young age, in addition to contemporary dance techniques the students are in command of all required stage skills and qualifications. The annual Pre-premiere and Dance Solos are distinguished by an interesting and current topic related to the contemporary dance that the students guided by their teachers together explore. In such a way they are included in the creative process and improvisation as well as engaged in all the levels of the educational process both in theory lessons and dance classes. In terms of art, the acclaim and the number of participants and audience both events were extraordinary stage experiences. Other achievements include successful international exchange of the Slovenian and Czech dancers and teachers of SVŠGL and Prague Duncan Center in 2014 who mentored by Maja Delak had a dance performance in Ljubljana and Prague, and the initiation of PRAKTIKUM pilot project, a one-year active training and education in the field of contemporary dance aimed at the SVŠGL graduates as well as all active professional and semi-professional dancers (2014/2015). With the dancers educated and trained by the SVŠGL teachers we don’t have to fear the future!

Tomaž Grom

The all-around music and sound innovator Tomaž Grom is well-known in the music, dance, theatre and film circles on and outside the independent art scene. For many years, he has been an important co-creator also in the field of contemporary dance which is testified by a number of collaborations with choreographers and dancers from 1996 to this day. As a composer, improviser, double-bass player, member of most varied ensembles, as well as a performer, mentor and an indispensable artistic director of Zavod Sploh he actually surpasses the usual standards of a “sound designer”. Hence we give him the award for various music&sound masterpieces related to the contemporary dance: excellent music and sound design in the performances Ant Ferocious and Falcon! and the performances of Via Negativa, for the ingenious concept and implementation of the creative workshop Z Zvokom o Plesu in collaboration with Špela Trošt and produced by Zavod Sploh, and for his invaluable role of the initiator and programme director of NEFORMA, a regular series of music&dance improvisations which has for several years allowed the dancers and musicians the exchange and reflection on creative principles and approaches, and the audience a valuable insight into the creative potentials in the aforesaid fields. May the award be a sort of a commitment to this year’s winner to remain – despite his many engagements – a faithful companion of contemporary dance also in the future.

Luka Curk 

Luka Curk is a stage manager at the Španski Borci Cultural Centre and a light and sound designer. In the last two years, his light design of several performances at Španski Borci (such as Ant Ferocious, Falcon!, Dramaturgy of Rebellion, No Manifesto) and elsewhere (Hunting Season, Virtual Truth, New Age Gypsies, Pas de tea) didn’t go unnoticed. As a light designer, Luka Curk is able to creatively adapt to the available technical equipment of an individual venue and achieve maximum aesthetic and conceptual effects with limited resources. In the performance Falcon!, he literally recalls both dancing figures with light and assigns them two light islands in which they dance away the overture of performance. What matters is the play of shadows enabled by thoughtful stage lighting in order to playfully evoke a fundamental relation of lighting design – the relation between light and darkness. In the performance Hunting Season, Curk’s light substitutes the set design: with vertical neon sticks in the background and the trusses on the left and on the right, he precisely confines the setting and thoughtfully changes it through the performance by introducing colour so that a series of various settings in terms of scenography, atmosphere and dynamics opens up in front of the dancers and spectators; these settings clearly locate dancing not only aesthetically but also conceptually. Equally intuitive, by a delicate use of colours and reflexes he changes and intensifies the raster of dance floor thus offering the dancers a possibility to “switch” to different emotional and physical states required by the performance.

Jasmina Založnik

Jasmina Založnik is active in the field of dance in various roles: she is a programme director, producer and artistic associate of domestic and foreign festivals, an active member of various conceptual and organisation dance initiatives and events, a theoretical performer and first of all a dance theorist, dramaturge and a critic. The range of her activity has a twofold productive effect on her theoretic and publicist work:  it helps her write about dance as an “expanded practice”, i.e. related to a number of contexts and relations in which dance enters, whilst simultaneously she “reads and feels” it in touch with a “lingering” dancing body which not only gives birth to dance as such but also its reflection and theory. Over the last two years, Jasmina Založnik was a critic at SiGledal portal and Radio Študent, the author of theory contributions in the journals Maska, Teorija in Praksa, Performance Research etc., as well as a dramaturge, producer and co-author of the projects including CoFestival, Hodi Mesto, ABCDE_F, Prestopi, Nova Garda Pleše… Jasmina Založnik is an indispensable part of the Slovenian dance scene that she enhances with her theoretically thoughtful and socially engaged writing thereby giving it the value it needs and deserves.

Petra Hazabent

Petra Hazabent works as a producer, curator and cultural policy researcher with several local and foreign organisations and authors on the art and culture scene. Despite her young age (she finished the study at Ljubljana’s Faculty of Social Sciences in 2008 with a comparative analysis of the models of cultural policy in the Netherlands and Slovenia), she has had behind a large body of projects important for the development of contemporary dance and performing art scene both locally and internationally. She is given the Ksenija Hribar Award for her work as producer over the last two years for the production and programme direction of the Experimental Movement Festival NAGIB produced by Plesna Izba Maribor (2008–2013); for the concept, formation as well as a successful and resounding two-year activity of the international partner network of experimental dance artists from Slovenia, Croatia and Australia (2012–2015); for the foundation of NAGIB – Association for cultural production and affirmation of art processes in 2013 which she also presides over, and the organisation of Nagib on Stage, the first ever attempt of a continuous monthly programme in the field of contemporary performing arts in Maribor.

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