On February 13th, a bus full of ADA dancers and actors arrived in Ljubljana, Slovenia for a four-day study tour. Our students had the incredible opportunity to participate in dance and movement workshops with internationally acclaimed dancer Iztok Kovač and his company EnKnapGroup, as well as workshops in Psychodrama with expert in the field Tomi Janezič. Students watched a performance by Iztok Kovač and artist/author Janez Janša called “How I Caught a Falcon,” and a performance by renowned double bassist Tomaž Grom. Janez Janša later gave a lecture to the students on the arts publication and organization MASKA. Read on for interviews with Iztok and Tomi!
Can you speak a little bit about Psychodrama in relation to acting?
On the journey of learning, there are some frustrations that are difficult and necessary, like in life, but there are many which aren’t really necessary, so can we avoid those? […] I encountered many difficulties and frustrations in artistic schools that are not very productive and creative and don’t lead anywhere. So actually in Psychodrama, I think I’ve found a very practical means of dealing with contents that other techniques don’t really deal with. There is this space in between art and therapy which is often not dealt with. Artistic schools say, “Leave the personal outside, here we are professionals.” In therapy of course on the other hand, you cannot really deal with artistic questions. This means that we are left alone dealing with our creative challenges, which are personal challenges. I see great potential in creatively dealing with personal issues or questions. Because in my experience with the students, when they make a change there, the whole creative/artistic world of theirs changes. So instead of just doing something superficial, on the surface, the meaningful things happen somewhere else. […] You can think of psychodrama as a dream place, where it’s possible to make your dreams happen with no bad consequences. There is the possibility to try new roles without the fear of being punished.
How does your life as a psychotherapist influence your life as an artist, and vice versa?
I learned so much from that role. It’s more of a role in which you allow things. You wait, or you give space. I think the slippery terrain for a teacher or professor is to be in the role of ‘the one who knows.’ It’s a lie. This doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t know something–of course there is knowledge or experience. But when you put yourself in a knowing position…it’s not productive. The workshop, any learning process, should be a space for people to have space, time, and the possibility to have an experience. So I like when a workshop becomes more of facilitating something. This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be information…basically if there isn’t a need from the student, a gesture of interest, a gesture of taking something out of you, then there is no need for the teacher. I must say that I’ve witnessed this paradox where there is a teacher, and there is basically no need for this teacher, because there is no interest, there is no thirst, there is no desire.
Can you tell us a bit about your compositional style and what you hope students will get out of the workshop with EnKnapGroup?
Since my movement origin lies basically in sports, my work is a lot about the communication: “How do the people interact?” I wish to create an atmosphere where every individual depends on collective, while only her/his technical and creative input results as a group quality. Within the group everyone has enough space and my support to define and develop its own presence and spontaneity/freedom and share it with others after the rules and collective alertness is mastered.
The intention of the workshop is to introduce some of En-Knap movement specifics and for every participant to establish her/his own relation to it. We will be dealing with terms as: bubble (attention of the focus), home (safe, peaceful sensation of the gravity center of the body), separation (upper/lower part of the body in turning/jumping/falling), staccato (sharp reaction on start and stop – suspensions)…
We will work individually, with partners, and do some group exercises as well. We will also meet some compositional principles and devices based on the use of chance that we developed over 20 years ago.
We will focus on 3Q which is a choreographic device invented in 1993, defined as a system of structured coincidence. It is based on pre-determination of three motions of different expressive qualities. The group will consist of a leader who in time-limited units and optional proportions switches from one to another pre-determined motion sequences and other dancers who react to the leader’s performance using three options, which are pre-chosen by throwing of the dice. These three options are limited to stop, copying of leader’s motion, or performing a contra-action, which is fixed by another throwing of the dice.