For their final intensive some of our theatre students have been working with Dénes Döbrei in Body Memory.
Dénes Döbrei is a lecturer at the University of Novi Sad Theatre Academy (Serbia) and an instructor at the LEDA Theatre School (Toulouse, France) and Theatre de l’Acte (Toulouse, France). He has served as Artistic Director for the Nyari Mozi Theater Community since 1986.
Denes continues to work as choreographer for several Serbian, Slovenian, Bosnian, Hungarian, and Romanian theatre directors, among which Emma, performed at the National Theatre of Subotica (Serbia) – written by Chat Geza and directed by Peter Fekete – won Sterija Prize for the best choreography in Novi Sad (Serbia).
Some of Denes’ past work includes:
Acting in Pál Erdös’ film “Gondviseles” (Hungary) for which he won The Golden Toucan Prize for the best leading role at Rio de Janeiro’s International Film Festival (1986). From 1989-2004 he participated in Joseph Nadj’s National Choreographic Center (Orleans, France) as a collaborator and dancer in La mort de l’empereur; Comedia Tempio; Les Échelles d’Orphée; Woyzeck; l’Ébauche du vertige; L’Anatomie du fauve; Les commentaires d’Habacuc; Le vent dans le sac; Les Veilleurs and Length of 100 needles.
Between 2000-2005, he collaborated with Min Tanaka (dancer and choreographer) on Smiling in the Forest (Japan and Europe). 2011 collaborated with Slovenian theater director Tomi Janežić on Putujuće Pozorište Šopalović, Galeb and Smrt Ivana Iljica.
From 2011-12, as Program Selector, he curated the International Festival of Alternative and New Theatre Infant – Novi Sad (Serbia). In 2016, also as Program Selector, he curated the Festival of Professional Theatres of Vojvodina.
Dénes Döbrei studied drama at Novi Sad’s conservatory 1980-1984. Between 1984-90 he performed at Subotica’s National Theater / KPGT.
Select Choreographies (1986-2017) include: Solanum Tuberossum; Tomato, avagy a paradicsom; Hu Die; Five for Two; La Chute de Belzebuth; HhouAka 1( A ): Skin Garden; HhouAka 2 ( A ): Miel d’éphémères; HhouAka 3 ( A ): Morsure d’Abeille; Lit and Mix Book; Strange Loop; Imago Sonus; Lifkoptikum
We sat down with Dénes to hear about his work with our students and his perspective on art making.
Has anything surprised you about the students, in your time with them so far?
Every time I start to work with new students I have a surprise. I think that The first meeting with new people changes my life, and I think that it changes the life of the others also because we start to have some communication and we don’t’ know which way it can go, sometimes it goes the right way, sometimes we have to stop and we have some problems and we must resolve the problems, so there is always some surprise when you are together with a person. I cannot tell with a group because I must work with everybody personally and be with everyone separately. If we all work in the group also I must see how everybody is in their body. Then I can tell how I can manage that the work is okay for everyone.
Is there a main focus of your body memory work that you hope the students take away from this intensive?
I think that everybody can take away something from this. In the beginning I always make some structure for me that usually changes after the first day because it depends on the students, how the people make a group, how the people follow each other, but usually I have some structure for the workshop. This work is something that is not just now because it can affect you later in the life. We touch a lot of private feelings in the body. We touch the private life, and the changing that happens in the work for everybody doesn’t necessarily happen now. Maybe in one year, it depends on how seriously the person follows the work.
What is your favorite thing about working and living at the villa?
Oh it’s a lot of meeting, nice smiling every morning every day. On the first day, when I arrived, it was empty, there was nobody, and it was a big silence. Now I have my room and I have the eyes of the people who look and smile at each other and it’s beautiful. It’s a nice feeling. I start to feel home in this place. I was a little afraid because I’ve never taught in english before. I have four languages, my teaching language is more French, my living language is Hungarian, and my English language is just communication with the people but not really working. It’s the first time that I must explain the work in English.
Do you feel like working with American students brings a different type of quality than students in other places you’ve worked with?
Yeah. They have a different quality than the people in Europe. Mostly I was teaching in east europe Romania, Hungary, Serbia and a little in france and in Japan. With the American students it’s really the first time. I have eleven students. I was working in chicago and already I was feeling that here the discipline is bigger, everybody has more more concentration and discipline. We start in the morning at 5:30am and somehow it’s working.
When you do this kind of work do you always like to start with the sunrise?
Every time it changes. It depends on where I am. When I work in my home, every year we do workshops and it’s a whole day workshop, so there is no time that we set like we start at nine and finish 12. No we start in the morning and we finish in the night. And every day we decide how the next day will be. And during this we do everything together we cook together, clean together, and it’s a whole day of work.
If you could describe what art is what would you say?
Free creation. To create something together and go in the way we choose to and the form could be anything: theatre, performance, dance. It can be any kind of artist painter, sculptor, musician, everyone together.