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Bareness as costume: Tenebrae

niksi / Kaleidoskop - Vitriol , February 2003.

Many people has written and will write about that contemporary dance opera, called Tenebrae, which was presented to the audience in the Millenáris Teatrum. The Tenebrae - the Latin word means dark - is the common work of two craggy, anomalous artist, Ágens and Krisztián Gergye. The choreography which alloys the parts of the Javanese dance and contemporary dance is the work of Krisztián Gergye; the music conception and the songs are assured by Ágens. I have to declare: Krsztián Gergye pleads the 'body-art', the theatre of moving, not the dance and the production of Ágens is the art of sound. During the performance these two components of the piece, the dance and the song, (the movement and the sound) are pulling each other's way and in the same time are illustrating each other; like the light differs from dark - but it cannot exist without it. The Tenebrae is the tragedy of a special human conflict - its serious art tradition has been developing for the antiquity: the confrontation of the consciousness (Daimon) what is in the prison of the senses and the world of the instinct and the biological force. It calls and pushes the person who forces for the discernment and it makes the discernment impossible in the same time.

So, the message is simple an ancient. The secret of the magnificence performance is that it could say something new in this trite topic. The novelty of the choreography is the elements of the Javanese dance: these movements are slower, more wrapped and longer than in the European moving-culture. Sometimes the most expressive movements are only the sprain of a muscle, the accentuation of a point of the body (the face, the back or the hand) till the ends, or the extreme and amorphous position of the body. Because of the body movements and the play of the muscles the costumes of the dancers were their bodies themselves which was emphasised with the depressing alienation of the sexuality (…) The dancers deputized the foggy, grotesque and dumb sexuality and the world of instincts. The production of Ágens deputized the consciousness, which allows and in the same time tries to fight against the shades of the darkness; it is emphasized in the language as well…Ágens uses sounds without meaning in parallel of Latin chants, players and imprecations of the Old Testament. The strict sound of the Latin language is the contrast of the movements, and the raggedy-ass, black hearse-cloth costume of Ágens is the contrast of the provocative bareness of the dancers, and the craggy consciousness is the contrast of the surging feelings. The audience could see a real unsettling tragedy, which has got an ambiguous beginning (when the audience came into the auditorium the performance had started: Ágens was laying on the floor and she was singing and the musicians were playing), and the end of it shows into the endless. The Tenebrae is a difficult, provocative piece: it joins the most exciting and the most provocative trends of the contemporary music and dance, and it assumes the contact between the traditions of classic and exotic arts (between the Antique theatre and the Javanese dance culture). (..)