Dance is a constant transformation of life itself
Antistatic Festival may be closing for the year, but its impact can still be felt
Interviewed by Scott Green and Andrea Vushkova, photo by Sasho N. Alushevski
Published 14 May, 2022
We are halfway through the Antistatic Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance, there have been 15 amazing performances, captivating the audiences with their uniqueness and important social questions being raised. This isn’t the end though, there are some more great works to come in these last five days.
A highlight in the program for the last days of the festival is the guest performance “How many cm³ is my body allowed to occupy?” choreographed by Sonja Pregrad. Her three colleagues will take the stage on 16 May at Toplocentrala. You can see the Facebook event here.
Sonja is a Croatian dance author, performer, and teacher. She got her MA in Solo/Dance/Authorship at Universität der Künste in Berlin and has been collaborating with Willy Prager, Silvia Marchig, Marjana Krajac, and many other distinguished performers. She co-founded and co-organizes the festival IMPROSPEKCIJE in Zagreb and other dance artistic organizations and programs in Croatia.
The three stars of How many cm³ is my body allowed to occupy? are Petra Chelfi, Ivana Pavlović, and Martina Tomić. Petra has been dancing since she was a child but got lost in her early 20s when she had to take care of her baby and her psychology studies. However, she realized that “one part of me, that makes me complete, was missing. That is moving, dancing, and creating. Since then I have been in performing arts.” Ivana considers her greatest achievement as a performer to manage being “a part of the independent cultural scene that persists in exploring, creating and performing no matter the environment”. Despite the inadequate policies and administrative obstacles she is “grateful that I can be driven by such fruitful and progressive dance scene.”
Martina often gets frustrated by people’s lack of understanding of arts. She really wishes that contemporary dance and arts get included in the school system and “hope[s] and anticipate[s] to achieve a ‘flip’ in their thinking about needing to understand everything and start to believe that they can imagine, sense and feel from performing arts and from our performing, teaching and creating.”
How many cm³ is my body allowed to occupy? challenges the objectification of the female body and is the first “commissioned work” of Sonja’s. About her work, she says: “Who tells performers what to do? A choreographer, a society, a norm. So in playing with the act of drag, four of us (over)performing femininity tackle where this norm is, on the surface of our bodies, in the gaze of the spectators, in the space between us. By making it a little uncanny and uncomfortable, we make it more sensible, what is it that is usually expected of female bodies performing in a female genre.”
Vitktorija is a Macedonian citizen who now lives, studies, and works in Gießen, Germany. When she was a child, she played the fox in a kindergarten play, she also loved reciting memorized pages of text to guests that were coming to her parents’ house. Smiling, she says that her parents were certainly the first to recognize her talent and love for performing.
Viktorija grew up as part of the generation of “children of transition,” as she herself calls it, and says that “this meant that I had to find my own place and voice within my country both as a woman and citizen of a chaotically structured and constantly transforming society. Consequently, there was a need for me to find what I was best at instead of what made me feel good.” This led her to performing as a “means of survival and of building identity.”
Figure it out is Viktorija’s last solo piece and is a Macedonian-German collaboration. In it, she asks 100 questions in a self-interview. When asked how she came up with the idea, she says: “This performance definitely originated out of a need, and it mirrors the introspection, an inner search, or an attempt to understand my identity as a woman. It shifts between a personal portrait and a social one. Or more concretely, I tried to open up questions about female representation in the social, political, and public sphere through some short autobiographical stories.”
Performances showing in these last days of the festival:
15 May, 15:00, Moving in Squares. National Gallery “Kvadrat 500”
15 May, 19:30 - 21:00, The Goldberg Variations. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
16 May, 19:30 - 21:00, How many cm³ is my body allowed to occupy? Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
17 May, 19:30 - 21:00, Healers. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
18 May, 19:30 - 21:00, Figure It Out. Derida Stage "Tsar Samuil"
19 May, 19:30 - 21:00, Thinging. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
19 May, 21:00, Violeta Kachakova & Mirko Popov. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
The full schedule can be viewed here. Tickets can be booked here.
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