Ksenija Hribar Awards 2021

Award Committee: Maja Delak, Tina Valentan, Rok Vevar

DANCER: Boštjan Antončič
PRODUCER: Teja Reba / City of Women
COMPOSER: Milko Lazar
PROMISING DANCER: Anamarija Klajnšček
THEORY: Mala Kline / Maska
for performance Thinging


In August 1999, in the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia, Marko Mlačnik floats in weightlessness in the farewell ceremony Gravitation Zero / Noordung Biomechanics, together with some key artefacts from the time of the local historical avant-garde and with the performers who are a representation of the main dance and theatre paradigms of the second half of the twentieth century and their futures. In this iconic moment, recorded with a camera, Marko Mlačnik is a living and enigmatic artistic emblem, which prompts the viewers to ask themselves who is the artist and what he represents.

Marko Mlačnik began his dance career in the Studio for Free Dance. At the beginning of the 1980s, Mlačnik, Sinja Ožbolt and Ksenija Hribar laid the foundations for the establishment of the Dance Theatre Ljubljana, already as part of the Slovenian Youth Theatre and the Danes zadnjikrat (“Today For the Last Time”) collective. The realization of choreographic and dance potentials, with which contemporary dance in Slovenia had to be established on new, professional foundations, kept Mlačnik busy with concrete dance roles, co-creation of dance context and individual performances, from Adagio, Schubert Quartet, Concert, Alpine Dreaming, Lost Opus no. 2., Nostalgia and Panopticum to The Tropic of Odysseus, to name but a few. He collaborated with Ksenija Hribar, as well as with most of his dance choreographic colleagues from Dance Theatre Ljubljana: Maja Milenović Workman, Sinja Ožbolt, Tanja Zgonc, Matjaž Farič, Brane Završan and Mateja Bučar. In 1987, he received the Golden Bird Award for his dance work.

But in terms of art, Mlačnik is neither an unambiguous artistic function nor an identity, but rather a difference, as he repeats and transcends beyond functions, disciplines, fields and paradigms as a decisive artistic link between them: as a choreo‑engineer of anthological works of performing arts, which have been able in the last four decades to materialize choreographically with his knowledge, imagination and mediation. With him, this art not only turned into Time, but was able to create its own Time. It has become a paradigm.

From the very beginning, Mlačnik has been a key collaborator of Dragan Živadinov in the choreo‑engineering of the bio-mechanical works of art by the Neue Slowenische Kunst retrograde pact, and a bio-mechatronic co-creator of post-gravitational art: from the Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre, through Red Pilot and Fiat to Noordung projects and their derivatives. In 1996, he co‑authors the choreography for the Silence Silence Silence anthology together with Vito Taufer, with whom he has collaborated since the director’s legendary debut Class Enemy in 1982. He co‑creates encyclopaedic works of the Slovenian Youth Theatre with his physical plasticity as an actor and his compositional and construction knowledge as a choreographer. In 1989, he receives awards at the Sarajevo MESS and the Belgrade BITEF for his role of Shah Zaman the Blind in Pandur’s Scheherazade. From here onwards, Mlačnik’s artistic connection extends to the Glej Experimental Theatre, Muzeum, and the Anton Podbevšek Theatre.

Although Marko Mlačnik only authored a handful of choreographic and dance-theatre projects – Something for Nothing (1995), Left Terrorism (2008), Nijinsky’s Last Dance (2010) – and the performance Ton-ka (1992) together with Mateja Bučar, his choreographic and dance artwork probably make him the most famous shadow author in the recent history of contemporary performing arts in Slovenia. In order to grasp the scope and rhizomatism of the Slovenian contemporary dance project, which was given a new impetus in the 1980s and 1990s by a collective named Dance Theatre Ljubljana, and the affinity for different forms of knowledge with which various forms of performing arts were given body by their very members, one must deal with the artistic opus of Marko Mlačnik. Its volume is astounding. It is an artistic emblem that rises from the ground in August 1999 and floats in weightlessness. We are proud to present the Ksenija Hribar Lifetime Achievement Award to Marko Mlačnik and his dance and choreographic work.

Artistic and choreographic opus: Andreja Podrzavnik

In the last two years, Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik – a choreographer and “dance artist”, as she describes herself – has transformed her dance and dance-composition skills accumulated over the years into a series of outstanding open dance works, together with her collaborators. The performance What Remains, a collective improvisational format named after the day of the week and the start time, the Special Edition series, and the experimental choreographic-gallery puzzle Lastings testify to the relentlessness of her dance work. Rauch Podrzavnik’s choreographic work has in recent years sublimated into a mature dance-compositional idiolect, in which various spatial and temporal volumes and relationships, inexhaustible kinetic dynamics and their bodies have multiplied into countless flexible possibilities, which, in their own astonishing way, constantly embody themselves as the – seemingly – only choice; surprising, fresh and – real. Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik’s artistic practice represents an example and commitment for the local contemporary dance community, and she receives the Ksenija Hribar Award for her choreographic work in the last two years.

Promising choreographer: Anja Bornšek

In recent years, dancer Anja Bornšek has been working between the local and the German dance arena. In the last two years, she has performed in the open works What Remains by Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik and Just for Today by Maja Delak, in the project Coresonances, where she collaborated with OR Poiesis, and authored the collective choreography Flying Eyes together with Tina Valentan and Barbara Kanc. The spectrum of Bornšek’s dance work is wide: her artistic body, with the knowledge of the systems of fundamental kinetics, the so‑called somatic practices, is always the listener and the performer at the same time, the experience and its perception and thought. It is with this knowledge and perspective that she can enter various situations with her specific dance mindfulness. Her dense dance presence is always inhabited by time, which brings the layers of her physical experience close to us, so close that we begin to negotiate the future of each moment with her dance or with her highly distilled stage actions. In these contexts, Anja Bornšek can surprise us. When she performs in other artists’ projects, her dance role is never merely interpretive or performative, but rather distinctly co-authorial, using the performances to simultaneously upgrade and develop her own dance-choreographic tendencies and interests. She receives the Ksenija Hribar Award for promising choreographer for her diverse original work, which is needed by the domestic contemporary dance scene.

Dancer: Boštjan Antončič

Boštjan Antončič’s professional biography is a classic story of the dance diaspora that is not willing to make artistic compromises with the local dance context. Antončič has been a regular collaborator of Anne Therese de Keersmaeker and the Rosas collective since 2005, and is currently one of its most prominent members and performers of the repertoire. He became a kind of dance emblem in the musical-architectural choreography of the Flemish virtuoso, one of the particular conditions of her choreographic signature. The range of works in which he danced – from D’un soir un jour, Bartók/Beethoven/Schönberg—Repertory Evening, Steve Reich Evening, Zeitung, The Song, En Atendant, Cesena, Drumming, Vortex Temporum, Work/Travail/Arbeid, Mitten wir im Leben sind/Bach 6 Cellosuiten to The Six Brandenburg Concertos – is impressive, and many of the above works he has performed on world dance stages in the last two years are part of a regular repertoire of one of the most important choreographic corpora of our time. We present Boštjan Antončič and his dance work with this award to pay tribute to his artistic achievements, which give a sense of pride and bring an example to the domestic dance arena that cannot be overlooked.

Producer: Teja Reba (City of Women)

For the last decade and a half, dancer, performer, choreographer, producer and curator Teja Reba has been an unstoppable creative and artistic force of local contemporary dance, contemporary performing arts and other artistic and cultural practices. In addition to individual works of art that have frequently eluded public affirmation due to their radicalism, Teja Reba has recently been a decisive and influential creator of the production system and curating of the City of Women Festival, as well as an active advocate of inclusive programme and cultural policies that provide well-deserved visibility to artists, cultural workers and creators, and as a result, indirectly to all invisible and excluded social groups. Reba’s curatorial and production policies are feminist: they draw on different traditions of historical and contemporary feminism, conscious of the fact that forms of social marginalization, sexisms, misogyny, racisms, and phobias are always related to class issues and profits that always capitalize on forms of exclusion. The complexity and scope of Reba’s cultural and artistic work are monumental and far-reaching. We present her with the Ksenija Hribar Award for achievements in the field of production in order to affirm her contribution to the development of contemporary dance and to the visibility and work of female artists who – modesty aside – dominate this field.

Composer: Milko Lazar

Composer, conductor and pianist Milko Lazar has been collaborating with local contemporary dance and ballet artists for many years. Although he uses and masters both classical and modern compositional instruments in his contemporary artistic practice, his musical creativity also includes experimental procedures of the so‑called new bands that understand the musical landscape extremely broadly and that endorse much of what the composer knows, needs or hears. He demonstrated the scope of his music enterprise, which is able to use various compositional, reproduction and performative means to address and problematize the production of music in the contemporary cultural system, without giving up direct sonic effects, in the excellent choreography De Facto (go with yourself) with Leja Jurišić, which could be described as a choreographic situation where situational boundaries speak with their cultural-production contradictions. We are thus presenting Milko Lazar with the Ksenija Hribar Award for his compositional and performing work in the last two years, bearing in mind that we can thus gratefully repay him for his musical contribution to the development of the Slovenian contemporary dance.

Make‑up artist: Tinka Prpar

Theatrical and film make-up artist Tinka Prpar has been one of the few names in Slovenia in recent years who engages in the art of make‑up in an exploratory, studious way, with an insatiable need to spread technical knowledge and, at the same time, with a subtle sense for transforming physiognomic facial and body features into imaginary, histrionic character sign or bodily abstraction. Tinka Prpar understands such content and thinks them with her creative, artistic tools. Through her experimental and research work, she has mastered the art of make‑up, from a thorough knowledge of stage make‑up through the research of silicone applications, transforming the body, either in film or theatre, into a full, at times monstrous otherness. For all of us who do not engage in this type of work, it is difficult to understand the extent of the study of technological processes required and how many attempts are unsuccessful for the art of make‑up to achieve the desired results. With the erosion of the professions in the field of contemporary performing arts and contemporary dance in the last two decades due to the production conditions, this kind of work is a true rarity. Her masterpiece in Image Snatchers is perhaps most evident in her play with gender registers, the project Just for Today features an interesting play between the epidermal homogenization of the collective and its differences, and Evin Hadžialjević’s MA thesis entitled As Breath includes a playful toying with make‑up and bulk materials that transform into an abstract dance partner. Tinka Prpar is awarded the Ksenija Hribar Award for stage make‑up in the field of contemporary dance.

Promising dancer: Anamarija Klajnšček

After completing the contemporary dance programme at the Secondary Preschool Education and Gimnazija Ljubljana (SVŠGUGL), dancer and choreographer Anamarija Klajnšček went on to study at the Amsterdam’s AHK in 2014, where she completed her studies at the Department of Contemporary Dance in 2018. Already during her high school years, it was clear that her exceptional dance talent, diligence, intelligence, and the need to understand the art of dance could develop into a top artist. Already during her studies, she collaborated with a number of choreographic colleagues, such as Keren Levi, Roser López Espinosa Julio César Iglesias Ungo, Uri Ivgi, Johan Greber and Milan Tomášik, and after graduating, she joined the TanzMainz ensemble in Germany, where she worked with choreographers such as Sharon Eyal, Guy Nader, María Campos, Guy Weizman and Roni Haber. Anamarija Klajnšček lives and works in Barcelona, ​​where she collaborates with Roser Lopez Espinoza, most recently in the new production Trama. In 2020, she co‑created the duet COSSOC with Magi Serra, in which the artists reduce stylistic dance kinetics to a series of fundamental, material gesturing actions that can be read narratively or merely somatically. Anamarija Klajnšček has technically perfected her dance-kinetic instruments to the point where she can handle an extremely wide range of choreographic and movement challenges, and her flexible dance nature can enter virtually any choreographic dynamics without losing its effectiveness. In addition to her performances, however, we also appreciate her creative choreographic ambition, the need to understand, research and develop concepts in which her dance talents can be fully embodied. We present Anamarija Klajnšček with the Ksenija Hribar Award for a promising young dancer.

Theorist: Mala Kline (Maska)

Dancer, choreographer and philosopher Mala Kline published her doctoral dissertation Gledališča Potencialnosti – Med etiko in politiko (“Theatres of Potential: Between Ethics and Politics”) in Maska’s Transformacije collection in 2020, in which the philosopher uses Agamben’s concepts of singularity, materiality, potentiality and contingency to reflect on uncertain, ongoing processes of collective and individual subjectivity using the examples of six selected works of art. With the reference spectrum of the philosophy of biopolitics, Italian radical thought derived from operaism, structuralism and poststructuralism and the post-Althusserians, and with contemporary theories of the performing arts, Mala Kline develops thinking about the politics of the performing arts in relation to life and necropolitics of contemporary capitalism. Mala Kline is interested in the processes of breaking with regimes of expected and capitalizing modes of actualization that, beyond representational models of performing, deal with the critical modality of action, of the doing itself, in order to reconfigure the experience of community and the common outside of semiotic or reading acts. More than what theatre is, she is interested in what and how contemporary theatre does what it does, or in the words of Hans Thies Lehmann, how the performing arts are shifting from performative to informative forms, to stage zero of their doing in order to get to the Real, in which the conditions of the political re-emerge. The fact that Mala Kline’s artistic opus is excessively extensive and one of the richest in terms of quality among artists of her generation provides the philosopher with an exceptional conceptual apparatus with experience and extraordinary analytical insight, and, last but not least, complex mental clarity. The book Theatres of Potential: Between Ethics and Politics is a unique achievement, both domestically and internationally, that goes beyond the stereotypical demarcations of theoretical and artistic talents, proving that it is possible to work autonomously in both fields, that both field can mutually provide each other with inspiring material, and that there is neither without imagination. It is with great pleasure that we present the Ksenija Hribar Award for theory to Mala Kline.

Lighting Designer: Janko Oven

Janko Oven entered the field of performing arts with his technical and engineering knowledge at a time when the great lighting effects of the 1990s were being replaced by forms of light in procedural performing and choreographic approaches that couldn’t tolerate neither lighting effects nor stage illusions. The light of minimal differences, focusing on physical and performative materials, prevailed. For him, the non-institutional performing arts sector became an informal faculty of light design, where experiences, decisions and considerations began to host design imagination and concepts. Oven’s design spectrum with which he has co-created artistic choreographic works in the last two years is exceptional. It covers everything from light compositions and constructions to open works in which light becomes a body; an active and responsive dance partner. His light writings are subtle, thoughtful, holistic, and relational. In 2018, he participated in various choreographic works as Normal by Veronika Valdes, There. Nearby. Matevž Dobaj and Just for Today by Maja Delak, in 2019 in Three Versions of Space by Barbara Novaković Kolenc, Tina Valentan and Maja Kalafatić, in The Feline Project by Dagmar Dachauer and at Ctrl.Shitf.Esc by Natalija Manojlović Varga, and in the last year at the performances 2gether / Al (l) one by Johannes Randolf and Jerca Rožnik Novak and THREE bitches, TWO planets, ONE rocket by Urška Vohar. We are very pleased to present Janko Oven with the Ksenija Hribar Lighting Design Award for his achievements in the last two years.