From endangered species to using the body as an instrument; contemporary dance at its finest
Interviewed by Elena Peneva, edited by Scott Green, photos by Teodora Simova for Antistatic Festival
The Antistatic Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance has presented us with another great lineup for this year's 16th edition of the festival, opening with a moving piece by Romanian choreographer Sergiu Matis with his “Extinction Room (Hopeless)” about the endangered and extinct species around the world.
“During the research time for the project I came across recordings of animal species that are already extinct, and those sounds left a big impression on me. It was like listening to a forest of ghosts, sounds that will never ever be heard again in the world, except in the form of these recordings, these digitalized conserved data. Not only the individuals that were recorded are gone, but these entire species don’t exist anymore. That’s how this digital forest became the soundtrack and the core, the content, of my dance project about nature.” Sergiu responded when asked about his inspiration for this work.
Reflecting on the challenges involved in making this work, Sergiu noted that it was the number of species that are already extinct or are on their way to extinction was the hardest part. Which animals’ voices needed to be shared, which was more important than the other? “Also, the deep sensation of loss and grief, the entire emotional aspect while working on this topic was quite heavy, and still is. Seeing people moved and being moved ourselves by the stories again and again, gives us a certain satisfaction, as we can be resensitized, and empathic to other life forms.”
When asked about the impact dance has on people’s lives and how dance can raise awareness about environmental issues, Sergiu responded by saying, “Dance is quite a special manifestation of life. It takes the bodies out of the quotidian (daily life), it queers reality and enhances imagination, opening possibilities of being together with others. Dance is weird and we need more of that. As long as we can dance, life on Earth is still possible! A dance performance isn’t necessarily activism, but it can indeed move people, raise awareness, even motivate towards action, most importantly it’s a way to resensitize the human body in relation to the natural world.”
The Antistatic Festival has presented us, via dance, with many important topics to ponder, and while Sergiu’s performance has passed, you can still witness a thought-provoking piece by American choreographer Bully Fae Collins, and his "Songs of the Dopamine Carousel" where he shines a light on the incoherence and confusion of our times, and how social media perpetuates it with the constant bombardment of information we receive.
There are four performances left of this 16th edition of the Antistatic Festival.
15 May, 19:30 - 20:30, Songs of the Dopamine Carousel. Derida Stage "Tsar Samuil"
16 May, 19:30 - 20:20, BLOT - Body Line of Thought. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
17 May, 19:30 - 20:45, The Ninth. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
19 May, 19:30 - 20:30, Being Moved. Toplocentrala "South Park - II"
The full schedule can be viewed here. Tickets can be booked here.