Interview with Csaba Varga!

Eva Duda Dance Company presents its brand new double bill night show which named Neuropean at MU Theatre on the 8th and 9th of December. Two young emerging artists got the opportunity to create two piece for the Company: Csaba Varga who’s name is already well known in the Hungarian and Europen contemporary dance field and Quan Bui Ngoc, Belgian-Vietnamese dance artist from ’Les Ballets C de la B’.

How did you become a well known/acknowledged dance artist from a sportaerobic champion from Balatonalmádi? What did lead you so far, why did you choose this profession?
The love of movement and luck.
Since I was a child I have enjoyed sporting and moving and although I was not an outstanding talent in any of them – except sportaerobics – I did not give up with basketball and athletics for a while. I wanted to be an aerobic trainer for a long time but I did not succeed to start the University of Physical Education. After highschool one of my former classmate persuaded me to try ourselves in a dance audition which was organised by Petőfi Sándor Theatre in Veszprém. That was the first time I met contemporary dance which did not impress me but at least I got a job, however this kind of dance, based on modern techniques were quite far from me so that job was a great challenge. Then someone from the theatre’s company recommended me the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy where I was succesfully admitted the year after. At BCDA I had the opportunity to learn many various dance techniques which were more impressive for me and my progression started from that point. The quality and energy of the scene always had a very important role in my life. BCDA was the first place where my environment loved me and accepted me as I was.

As a dancer you worked with Hodworks, The Symptons, Máté Mészáros, László Fülöp, Eléonore-Valére Lachky, Anton Lachky, Kubilai Khan Investigations, Kaori Ito, Hiroaki Umeda and also with Company Linga from Switzerland. At this time you were invited for a creation as a choreographer. What did you experience, how did the switch between the two role feel like?
Fortunately I already had a „shot”. Two years ago I created a very short piece for the examination of the graduated students of Dance Academy in Győr. However it was completely different to work with students compared to a professional dance company, yet I was enriched with experiences and ideas. Beside this experience it was still difficult to be a choreographer. When we are present as a dancer, creative co-creator, we have ideas, suggestions, productions, but often we can be completely passive because we do not have to make a decision, it’s the choreographer’s responsibility. For this I was not prepared enough at all times. Every minute of every rehearsal I should’ve been confident, I needed to know what and how I wanted to, but that did not always succeed.

What is the difference in mental/physical preparation when you start rehearsing a new piece compared to the preparation when you start to choreograph? Is there any special method or “ceremony” that you use in either one or in the other case?
Of course these two are totally different.
You are right, these are the keywords: physical and spiritual. As a dancer I often do not know what to expect except to move, so the most basic thing to get ready is warming up. As a choreographer, you do not have to warm up, but the more you have to think. At daytime I usually can not focus my thoughts which means I create before I fall asleep: I am listening to music and trying to visualize what I want to see. Or I watch the videos which were recorded on the rehearsals and imagine how it could continue.

In addition to work relationships, mutual years in school and friendships connect you to the members of the Company. What do you think, was it a complicating or facilitating factor during the creation?
Yes, all of the dancers are very good friend of mine. Some of them I know for ten years, some of them I’ve just met in the last few years. I felt both effects: This creation process is very physical and exhaustive. Every dancer is involved in other projects, sometimes there were injuries and personal problems. Because of these circumstances sometimes I felt that they could have collapsed in any moment. I know this kind of state very well, so it was not easy to figure out what could motivate them. So I often allowed them to rest a bit more and time to time I let them mark the choreography instead of doing it full out during the rehearsals. Of course in the end they warned me that there is nothing to do, this was their job, they had to solve it. On the other hand, there were no gaps in communication that would surely appear if I would have worked with an unkown company. The mood, even if not everyone was on the top in the morning, usually became more positive after the lunch break, which was a great help for the progress of work. Many times we just had fun without noticing the time goes by but we know where were the limits of joking.

As a resident teacher of International Dance Week Budapest you have a lot of experience in teaching. Is there any method you use in teaching and also in instructing as a choreographer? If you had an opportunity to create again would you change something in your working process?
I offered them my help a couple of times in the realization of the movements, through technical corrections and ideas. But all of them are very mature dancer with very good technique so I didn’t need to act like a teacher. The working method was shaped by the concept itself, so I think a new concept would mean a new method.

What did inspire you in your creation? Is the material based on improvisation or fixed movements? Did you plan ahead what you would have liked to see in your piece or did you let it develop?

Almost all of the material is fixed but we also used improvisation. After warm up I always asked them to move from one end of the studio to the other and trained them with improvisation tasks I usually use in my classes. It is necessary because improvisation produce more exciting movements and connections. If we found a movement in their improvisation which fit to the choreography I usually asked them to repeat it, to dance it again and then I let them continue. If the movement was fixed we went on with the creation with the same method again and again. So I planned it partly, but I also let the rest evolve naturally. The conception was quite stable and I insisted on it, but the creativity of the dancers shaped the path of the piece.

What does the title mean and why did you choose it?

Helix is an object having a three-dimensional shape like that of a wire wound uniformly in a single layer around a cylinder or cone, as like DNA which is a double helix. Vortex is a self-absorbing, twisting helix.
After a couple of weeks we were ready with a 10-15 minutes long material. We started from the beginning and we moved linearily towards the ending. My aim was to create a dance piece based 100% on movement and not on a story. But when I saw this 10-15 minutes long material first it was clear that it had a meaning. This title covers the meaning of this creation in an abstract way but it is a personal context. I would be very happy if the audience would have the opportunity to leave a paper on their chair with their own title ideas after the show.

Let’s talk about music and lights. What can we expect?
I planned very simple stage lights. I want to create postapocalyptik ambience. The music composer is Adrian Newgent, a dutch musician who dreamed a psytrance style music to the show which follows the rythm of the piece, it goes from the slowest to the craziest speed.

Have you seen Quan’s dance piece?

Yes, ’Blurry’ is awesome. I liked it very much when I saw it first, but I know they are still working on it so I don’t want to watch it again till the premiere.
What do you plan with your creation in the future? What is your greatest dream where it should be performed?
I will get in touch with those theatres and festivals where I performed in Europe and Asia, it would be great if the piece could go on a tour. Of course everyone knows me as a dancer not as a coreographer, so it is not a simple situation, but if the audience will love the piece, this can not be a problem.