Sunday, 22 May 2016

Inversedance casts a Spell

Inversedance  is a Hungarian Contemporary Dance company, with its headquarters in Budapest, founded by Artistic Director and Choreographer Zoltan Fodor in 2010. Originally a project-based ensemble that included Fodor, Assistant Director & Choreographer Kitty Balkanyi and rising talent Zsofia Szeki amongst its performers, the company has in recent years grown into a troupe of 5 full-time dancers* that openly collaborate with international freelance dancers, performers and choreographers. Inversedance possesses a diverse repertoire of engaging children’s performances and thought-provoking adult works, which combined with the calibre of its dancers and performers, gives it a strong reputation that stretches beyond the Central European dance scene.

Traviata ©Csaba Mezaros 2016

The first five months of 2016 has seen Inversedance perform 3 very distinct and different pieces of work in Budapest: the premiere performances of Traviata, a collaboration between Fodor and GG Dance Eger’s Tamas Topolanszky that will tour to Eger and Debrecen later this month; the immensely popular Vuk, the Little Fox based on Istvan Fekete’s classic Hungarian story, which the company also performed in Serbia in 2015; and most recently the Budapest premier of The Enchanted Castle at Mupa’s Festival Theatre.

The Enchanted Castle ©Csaba Mezaros 2014

A wonderfully immersive and theatrical production, Enchanted Castle uses music, songs and Fodor’s unique movement language to tell the story of a reckless little boy, Gede, and his adventure into a magical world. Gede is a bit of a bully who, with his two equally unpleasant friends, delights in causing mayhem and mischief. One day he finds himself in possession of a book that contains within its pages the power to transport him into a fantastical realm (the enchanted castle of the title). Whilst on his adventure in the mysterious castle, Gede meets an array of characters and begins to learn the true value of kindness and friendship.

The Enchanted Castle ©Csaba Mezaros 2014

This is a classic morality tale that is simple enough for the youngest of theatre audiences to digest, but is equally as heart-warming for adult viewers, too. The production makes good use of a classic proscenium stage set-up, enhanced with sets and costumes by long-term collaborator Arpad Ivanyi and lighting by Ferenc Stadler. Enchanted Castle also contains some musical surprises, amongst a montage of familiar tunes are original, atmospheric soundscapes from Attila Gergely. A dancer himself, Gergely has collaborated with Inversedance on a number of their productions including Fodor’s Esther and Home Sweet Home, Lorand Zachar’s After the Choice and his self-choreographed Alleluja.

The Enchanted Castle ©Csaba Mezaros 2014

Being a family-oriented production Enchanted Castle contains just the right amount of amusingly rowdy moments of audience participation, one of which is central to the plot! That’s not to say, however, that the piece is lacking in dance content. Having come to know it a little over the 6 months that I’ve been in Budapest, I was curious as to how Fodor’s sensual choreography would work in a family production. Prior to forming the company, Fodor had an extensive performance career with some of Hungary’s leading modern ballet companies (Budapest Dance Theatre, Ballet Pecs, Szegedi Kortars Balett and Ballet Debrecen) and this wealth of experience has served to inform his highly distinctive movement vocabulary. Paying homage to classical line and technique, Fodor’s choreography pushes his dancers to the limits of their range, emotionally and physically, and is grounded and spacious. In Enchanted Castle, Fodor (assisted by Balkanyi) uses simple movement patterns from the very beginning to convey a narrative, but amps things up stylistically and choreographically as Gede journeys through the castle.

It’s a unique thing to see an established contemporary dance company such as this invest as much creativity, time and commitment to performance into children’s productions as it does into what could be considered more artistically fulfilling endeavours like adult narrative works. Aside from Newcastle’s Ballet Lorent, I’m at a loss to find a UK contemporary dance company at this level that has such successful family pieces in its repertoire. The mission of Inversedance is to ‘help everyone, especially the younger generations open up to become more appreciative of the arts’ and it’s this openness and willingness to engage audiences of all generations that has contributed to the company’s success on an international scale. Alongside an extensive tour in Central Europe, in 2015 Inversedance were invited to perform at the International Bartok Music Festival & Symposium in Ankara, the 8th edition of the Kaay Fecc Festival in Dakar and the XVI Manta por la Danza and XIII Fragmentos de Junio international dance festivals in Ecuador. It is my pleasure and privilege to be able to introduce Terpsichore readers to this exciting company in 2016, and maybe 2017 will bring them to the shores and stages of the UK!

Inversedance are currently performing original choreographies in Beijing, China as part of the Hungarian Month festival. You can view future tour dates here and follow the company on Facebook 

*Bianca Bodi, Peter Bodor and Zsoka Lendvay comprise the rest of the company

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