Assemble in différance; Mirage Hodworks review

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Zoltán Vakulya & Jessica Simet performing Mirage

[A Hodworks review by Zsuzsanna Komjáthy]

There is an obvious connection between movement and voice, and as it is said in certain eastern cultures, it might be breathing. Both movement and speech begins and then returns there, to that tiny air gap in-between, what binds and interrupts the activities of body and mind.

Breathing can be conceived as silence, or as an atemporal emptiness that unconsciously connects and then deviates the curvature of movements and voices. It isn’t a coincidence that breathing has always been in the focus of dance history (just think of William Forsythe’s breath scores), while many dance techniques are built upon certain breathing methods. Nevertheless, being invisible and uncatchable, the breath still offers a lot of room for further scrutiny.

Emese Cuhorka, Jenna Jalonen, Csaba Molnár, Jessica Simet, Zoltán Vakulya performing Mirage; Hodworks review
Emese Cuhorka, Jenna Jalonen, Csaba Molnár, Jessica Simet, Zoltán Vakulya performing Mirage; photo by Gergely Ofner.

Adrienn Hód in her latest choreographies joins the discourse about breathing, as she has been researching the correspondence of movement and voice, pushing the limits of the domain further and further, to create constellations which may eventually highlight this atemporal emptiness.

In Dawn (2013), voices are written into/by the body, to be more precise, in the noises of the colliding naked bodies and in the noises of the revealed body. The opening apertures of the dancers invite us into the dimension of obscenity that is rendered as a noise, carving out a bigger and bigger role for itself in the next performances of Hód.

In Conditions of Being Mortal (2014), through gibberish attempts and with the unconscious movements that emerge from flesh and nervous system altogether, a kind of ‘baconish’ logic of sensation is realized, what seems to be as indivisible, cruel and motorized as the figure in the painting Lying Figure in a Mirror (1971) by Francis Bacon.

Jenna Jalonen & Jessica Simet performing Mirage; Hodworks review
Jenna Jalonen & Jessica Simet performing Mirage; photo by Gergely Ofner.

If we continued our examination with Grace (2016), Solos (2017) and Sunday (2018), we would discover an arc, or rather a vortex in the surface of choreographies regarding the development of the connection of movement and voice. There is a tendency, in which movements are more and more limited and (dis)closed, while voices/noises are more highlighted and choreographed. Just as if Hód’s goal would be to realize the reciprocal of the usual moving-music constellation in dance performances, and pourenfinir to create pure vocal choreographies told in the ‘language’ of movements. And that’s exactly what seems to be accomplished in the latest piece of Hodworks, Mirage.

In this performance, the field of inquiry is quite tight. In the beginning of the show, there are two, three and then all the six dancers onstage, barely and haltingly moving, forming amorphous, animalistic and bodily noises like gurgle, burp, laugh, and voices that don’t even have names.

Zoltán Vakulya & Jessica Simet performing Mirage; Hodworks review
Zoltán Vakulya & Jessica Simet performing Mirage; photo by Gergely Ofner.

The first half of the performance can be considered as a series of still-acts, where these voices seem to paralyse movements as the dancers freeze from one pose into the other. The whole stage becomes a ring of static movement-study that usually painters create to examine the relationship between the different elements of the picture. However, in this choreography, it also allows us to examine the changing accomplishments of reflexivity of subjectivity today.

So being a sort of study, Hód’s Mirage can be considered an anatomic investigation of dancing and subjectivity, a study that endeavors to divide and disperse the different elements of the art of choreography, just to recognize a deviation, an excess of elements (the atemporal emptiness probably) and then to assemble the elements differently. Differently? That’s not the adequate phrasing. Assemble in différance – that’s more expressive.

The question is, how to move in différance? Not to aggravate this review, I would sum up it as a counterpointing and concentric structure that circulates between proximate points (voice – movement; voice – voice; movement – movement) just to dissolve one in the other. Voice attempts to be movement, yet movement tries to transform into voice in this process. So there is a continuous moving, a sort of becoming in the background, to be more precise, “a becoming-space of the body, and a becoming-body of space”. (Lepecki 2016: 181.)

What is particularly interesting here is that the source of moving is not placed in the bodies of the dancers. At least not in the usual meaning. The source is rather between voice and movements that also encompasses the realized movements. However, voice is not owned by the speakers, as we can conclude it from the references to animalism, dunging, birth and infancy. There is always an Other breathing in-between, who steals (winds up) voices.

Csaba Molnár performing Mirage; Hodworks review
Csaba Molnár performing Mirage; photo by Gergely Ofner

So the question remains, how to move in différance?

Albeit there are no proper answers, Hód finds one, or at least utilizes one that may be satisfying. After this analyzing first part, in the second section of Mirage, a singular constellation of voice (music) and movement (dance) is rendered. The two quality move next to each other in parallel, without forming a correlation. To the tunes of classical melodies, a rocker (Zoltán Vakulya) and a naked ‘ballerina’ (Csaba Molnár) arrives; their dance just does not fit into the environment the music would suggest. While hearing Hungarian folk music, a tough rapper (Jenna Jalonen) is moving in front of us, etc.

The choreography is constantly moving in the field of failure that never condenses to be a whole. It follows the structure of a ‘broken thing’ that read from a certain perspective, can represent the fundamental quality of human nature. On the other hand, it also makes possible to deploy humorous acts emerging from the deviation of music and moving, to reflect on the choreographer’s personal relationship with creating and to make visible some aspects of the creation process itself.

This is how the medium, i.e. the texture of the performance is cracked from many perspectives, just to come to an end without an exact lesson learned.

Click & read the portrait of Adrienn Hód.

Click & read the portrait of Emese Cuhorka.

Click here to read our thoughts on Sunday by Hodworks.

Click here to read our thoughts on Solos by Hodworks.


Performers and co-creators: Emese Cuhorka, Jenna Jalonen, Máté Horváth, Csaba Molnár, Jessica Simet, Zoltán Vakulya. Music / Béla Bartók: For Children and Ábris Gryllus. Lights: Miklós Mervel. Costume and props: Csenge Vass. Dramaturge: Ármin Szabó-Székely. Choreographer: Adrienn Hód. 09/02/2019. Mu Theatre.

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