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Study Tour in Ljubljana, Slovenia

For four days this spring, our Physical Theatre students will have the opportunity to visit the Španski Borci Cultural Center in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. This artistic hub is home to such professional artists and companies as Tomi Janežič, Emil Hrvatin, Iztok Kovač and EnKnapGroup.

The Space:
Spanski Borci is the largest contemporary dance venue in Slovenia (a 2200 m² public infrastructure) and has been administered by EN-KNAP Productions since 2009. Each year the center, whose socialist-modernist architecture represents a monument of Slovenian architectural heritage, offers about 200 dance performances and 400 other events, attended by over 45,000 visitors. It has become a performance venue, production center, research and training center, and a meeting point for local, regional and international contemporary dance, performing arts, and music.

Full-Day Workshop 1: Iztok Kovač and EnKnapGroup

Founded by choreographer, teacher and dancer Iztok Kovač in 2007, EnKnapGroup is an international dance company based in Ljubljana. It is the only professional ensemble for contemporary dance in Slovenia. Under the artistic direction of Kovač, this collection of remarkable dancers works with internationally acclaimed choreographers from explicitly diverse aesthetic provinces. Since its establishment, the company has worked with over 30 Slovene and international choreographers and theatre directors, and created 22 full evening stage works and a dance film. The company has over 50 domestic appearances with their repertory over the year, as well as regular international touring.

Full-Day Workshop 2: Psychodrama Techniques and Creative Process with Tomi Janežič

Continuing the work started in Arezzo with Tomi Janežič.

Concert at Spanski Borci: Tomaž Grom

Tomaž Grom is a double-bass player and composer from Slovenia. As an improviser hededicated to exploring an extended range of techniques of playing the double bass, including in combination with electronic media. His creativity is noted for its continuous experimentation with his own sound potential guided by the principle of spontaneity. Grom performed in the most varied ensembles of diverse musical genres. He has made music for a number of theatre, dance and puppet performances. Two of his performances, Bruto/Gross and Ništrc/Off-cuts have made it into Artservis collection (project SCCA – Ljubljana). Since 2006 he has been involved in conceptualizing and leading workshops in the field of electro-acoustic and music improvisation entitled Maksimatika/Maximathics, and from 2009 the workshop called Search and reflect (unidiomatic improvisation). He is the artistic director of Zavod Sploh, an associaton devoted to the production of music and performing arts as well as to education and publishing in the field.

Performance at Spanski BorciFalcon!

Choreographer Iztok Kovač, the founder of the important dancing ensemble EnKnapGroup from Ljubljana, and director, theatre theoretician and performer Janez Janša, now, in their fifties, return to the cult solo performance by Kovač How I Caught a Falcon from 1991. It is impossible to step into the same river, and they don´t even try. The original solo is just a frame for their contemporary ideas about art and ageing, and a basis for their honest testimony about human limits. The original choreography is a beautiful pretext to celebrate dance and to be on stage again. For the perfectionist Kovač who understands the body as a potent, agile machine, it is not easy. He struggles, through the choreography he confronts himself with the production of his youth, and also with Janša who contradicts him. It is Janša who provokes Kovač to dance again, to question the limiting belief that ageing inevitably means the end of the artistic carrier to a dance artist. However, there are no tired and disenchanted old men on stage. Their physical fitness is obvious even today. But even more precious is their playful confrontation with their own past, or rather, with their past ideals. Their locomotive-personal dialogue is carried in a sympathetically civil tone; questions pertaining to the past and future are asked carelessly, charmingly provocatively, as if two friends were teasing each other. They juggle with the relativity of their opinions and ideas about why do we need the dance art today. They question their qualities as well as their past ambitions. The enchanting but mostly playful scenic storytelling is made dynamic not just by their differing opinions, but also by their different artistic directions and different temperaments.

Click on the link for more Information and pictures:

Lecture: Janez Janša  – MASKA at Stara Mestna Elektrarna

Janez Janša is contemporary artist who in 2007 together with two other Slovenian artists changed his name into the name of the conservative, two times prime-minister of Slovenia. Before and after this radical artistic gesture Janša has been working as theatre director and performer of interdisciplinary works that focus on the relation between art and the social and political context surrounding it, reflecting the responsibility of the performers as well as the spectators. Many of his works deal with the very status of performance in neoliberal societies. He created e.g. (together with Peter Šenk) a Refugee Camp for the Citizens of the First World (2004) and devised We are all Marlene Dietrich FOR (with Erna Ómarsdóttir, 2005) as a performance for soldiers in peace-keeping missions in the tradition of famous army entertainment shows. In his exhibition Life in Progress (2008) the audience itself reenacted famous historical performance art actions. He is known throughout Europe and the USA for his visual, multimedia and performance art works such as Camillo memo 4.0: The Cabinet of Memories – A Tear Donating Session, which sought to reappropriate the idea of memory in a time of fluid contemporaneity. He studied Sociology and Theatre Directing at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Performance Theory at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. An acclaimed author and editor, he has been the director of Maska, a non-profit organization in publishing, production and education based in Ljubljana since 1999. For Janez Janša artistic practice, theoretical reflection and political involvement are not separated. He is currently fellow at the International research center Interweaving Performance Culture at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin and Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Roehampton, London.

MASKA is Europe’s oldest professional journal in this field (with interruptions, published since 1920). It fosters high-level critical discourse in the field of performing arts and provides a platform for reflections, confrontations and discussions on contemporary art as well as its local and global contexts. Four double issues of Maska dedicated to specific topics are published every year. In addition to contributions on the dedicated topics, the journal also includes interviews with artists and theoreticians, reviews of performances and books, in-depth contributions on topical phenomena in contemporary performing arts and research findings.

The Old Power Station / Stara Mestna Elektrarna the Ljubljana city power station, is a magnificent technical monument and is one of the rare examples of industrial architecture, which is preserved in Slovenia. It has gone through numerous changes since 1898, when its construction began. It was modernized, upgraded and enlarged until the end of World War II, when the power station with its then obsolete technology, was replaced by a heating plant on the outskirts of the city. Today, the building is a protected cultural, technical and historical monument. It is still owned by the company Elektro Ljubljana, which thoroughly renovated the structure. Some artists “discovered” this interesting building during the 80′s and the 90′s and started to fill it with various artistic components. The Old Power Station is now buzzing with activities including several groups that use it as their rehearsal venue as well as a place for different workshops, which range from cultural management to dance techniques. In the evening, the power station is frequently a venue for various performances and other multimedia events. Stara Mestna Elektrarna still produces no less than one third of the city’s energy as well!

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