Marion Darova: Minimalism is one of the faces of the beautiful

Contemporary dance is presented in the festival programme with the performance “FREEFALL” by choreographer Marion Darova, part of the Showcase. Anita Angelova met her for an interview.

FREEFALL is a group choreography that you created after your previous project WO MAN, in which you were in a duet with Martina Apostolova. Many see the piece as a step forward for your choreographic practice. What is its significance for you?

I couldn’t compare the two performances, they are different in approach, although structurally they have some things in common. If one can speak in an evaluative mode at all, FREEFALL is a larger performance – there are six dancers, there is a scenographic object on stage and its initiation came as an invitation from the ONE DANCE WEEK contemporary dance festival in Plovdiv. For the first time two years ago, thanks to this project, One Foundation, Lachezar Tsotzorkov Foundation and the Centre for Contemporary Arts  Topocentrala in Sofia partnered to help a freelance artist realize a performance for the big stage. I appreciate the trust placed in me. To continue this practice is especially important for the development of dance in Bulgaria.

FREEFALL photo: Mihail Novakov

The themes that are of interest of you are related to gender, sexuality, identity. What do you want to express through them in the context of dance and choreography?

Dance is the only art form in which the instrument for its creation can also be the subject of research, its focus or theme. This instrument is the body, and we could not consider the concepts of gender and identity without it. I’m interested in the ways and extent to which a person is shaped by society and culture and how they are inscribed on the body.

The minimalist movement language with a limited set of movements but with repetition often appears in your pieces. How does it appeal to you?

Repetitions have been used in contemporary dance since its beginnings. Repetition denotes a certain approach that I have also adopted as a good one because it resonates with my understanding of contemporary dance. In animals, for example, repetitive movements are abundant, and they have a structural function, as in choreography. Minimalism is also a way to represent a lot through reduction. Apart from the intellectual play it requires, it is for me definitely one of the faces of the beautiful.

Marion Darova Photo: Yanitsa Atanasova

In FREEFALL, we see on the stage an object by the renowned visual artist Vikenti Komitsky. What provoked your collaboration?

For the first time for FREEFALL I had the opportunity to work with set design, the reason for this was financial, and the intuition came up in me that I should bet on Vikenti, he and I have known each other for a long time. He accepted without a second thought, we had many conversations, really hectic conversations, working with him was a pleasure.

How do you choose the dancers to work with?

Once I have an idea of the image and movement language I want to work with, I choose the people with a lot of intuition. Martina Apostolova has been involved in my last four projects – she is a thinking artist and she and I have built a respectful and relaxed partnership.

FREEFALL Photo: Mihail Novakov

You say that you avoid clear messages and that you just find it interesting to observe things from everyday life. What are the things that sparked your attention and became part of FREEFALL?

Yes, I notice a lot of things in the everyday, but depending on how you look at them, they can stay on the surface or be the most direct path to complex topics. The way someone turns around, drinks a glass of water, or just looks can bring up content even from the subconscious that can haunt your perceptions and thinking without you being able to understand the cause. It is not the action itself that is important, but how we see it. In FREEFALL, it’s the positions of the bodies in relation to each other that give simple codes for what’s happening – when they’re mirroring each other, or when one is standing up and everyone else is on their knees. Of course, this is just one of many planes through which the viewer can “read” the performance.

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