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SÍN Arts Centre tales: body, space and motherhood

SÍN Arts Centre's dance practices involved a heterogeneous and blended community working on different themes through different tools: writings, games, movements, body, sound and much more. Luca Borsos, audience developer and rooted dance maker from SÍN Arts Centre tells us about this journey of seven workshops.

Within Gránátalma Klub research group first we dedicated our time to get to know each other, get familiar with the space and movement exercises, while slowly introducing the topic of gender and our questions around it.

Quite quickly the group identified itself as a research group of thematics of gender and movement. Inside a very open and warm environment, the different age and background with dancing and movement among participants offered possibilities for our exploration.

We spent our time with games for getting to know each other, defining personal needs and objectives for our journey and playing with movement, discovering possibilities of our bodies.

We only tapped into the topic of gender, gathering associations and sensations around this very contradictory subject now in Hungary. We made a big collection of thoughts and questions which can lead us to continue our discovery. Between the sessions everyone creates a ‘chapter’ in a collective journal about their sensations from the time we spent together. 

Ph credits: Iringó Simon

What about bodies?

On our second weekend our guest teacher was Eszter Gál (dancer, contact improvisation practitioner and teacher). The main theme was the body. The group was really receptive and brave to try out all kinds of exercises.

I’m amazed how smoothly they work together and how engaged they are with the process. We worked with different movement qualities and bodily sensations. We introduced qualities of touch and not only worked with our own body but with others as well. We played with changing perceptions about our view on body parts, space and bodies in space

Starting from these somatic practices, we gained the confidence to talk about our bodily experiences and reflect on how bodies are treated in society. While introducing these movement practices and somatic experiences the group is really teaming up and its members pick up a common vocabulary for further discussions and build in the connection with gender related topics on their own.

Between the two sessions with some members of the group we went together to watch a contemporary dance performance. It was nice to see how the community is building up.

Ph credits: Iringó Simon

Working on the concept of space

After focusing on the body and the bodily sensations, we continued with our next theme: space. The guest for our third intensive weekend  was Kinga Szemessy (dancer, researcher on participatory dance practices and teacher). 

We picked this theme to put our work more into context and remind ourselves that our bodies are always existing in spaces which have influences on our behaviour, movement and life. We implemented lots of games where we examined our relationship to rules and structures.

The group went along very well with our proposals and they became more and more comfortable in their roles as researchers. Our focus during this weekend was that from the already existing and working participatory attitude they also occupy the role of a creator.

Then we start to transform ourselves from dancers to choreographers as well. I find this offering a very meaningful step to gain their authority as a community who research and create together during this long period of time. 

Ph credits: Iringó Simon

Time to share 

The fourth weekend was about preparing for our first open day, where we shared our experience with further audience, family and friends. We went through our memories of the last months and thought about ideas for sharing them.

As workshop leader I saw the challenge of the task but I also felt that it was a positive challenge to the group. They had some tense moments and loads of ideas to share. I stepped back for a while and then offered some framework and structure for their work. They really wanted to share a type of an experience with the public that they have been going through. They were really active and engaged. Working in smaller groups on different tasks was essential.

The next day at the end we led a movement session together (everyone was leading a different part of it), and we created an interactive exhibition space from our drawings, writings and by far created material.

At the end the members of the team invited the visitors for further games and there was free jamming and moving in the space. By finishing the day group members referred to the day as a celebration and turning point on our journey. It was an essential moment to the group cohesion. 


Personal relationship and questions within the topic of gender: honest, supportive and touching moments

During the fifth weekend each participant formulated a question, through they feel connected to gender in their life right now. We created images and movements with those questions and it also initiated a discussion. Our general understanding was that the more personal we reach the topic, the more interesting it gets

When Veronika Szabó joined us, we brought in the topic of performativity and representation. To start, Vera introduced some of the movement qualities of Rudolf Lábán. We decided to create personas from their physicality and their choice of clothing.

Beforehand participants were asked to bring all kinds of clothes with themselves. Clothes they would not wear otherwise, but they are ready to bring in for a game.

After dressing up, we created a fictional television show called The Big Transformation. Participants took the game really naturally and bravely. It was great to see the ability of everyone to transform to all kinds of different personas and to have fun  with them.

Ph credits: Iringó Simon

A meaningful conversation

 We started the sixth weekend with checking in and letting a long conversation unfold while everybody shared how they felt. People opened up really quickly and shared their stories with trust and listened to each other.

It was very difficult to hear that almost all of us felt generally tired, overwhelmed and angry or frustrated with our lifes in Hungary. The group listened with patience and support to the ones who talked. We simply listened. We held space for each other. We stayed. 

Afterwards I brought in two movement games. One was focusing on our breath and another on giving and receiving physical support. We were leaning on each other and held each other. The whole session was very simple, but deep and touching. 

Next day one of the group members offered to lead an authentic movement session. I was happy that these initiations took place and I hope to encourage the other participants to do so.

Afterwards they worked in small groups, gathering different kinds of expectations for boys/girls in different environments such as school, family, relationship, work… They presented their research to the group through experiential movement exercises which they invented on the spot. They found very creative solutions in this task.

I was happy to see them so active and present. I am optimistic about the group's journey towards autonomy and community. Which somehow we already are.

The topic of motherhood for the last weekend together

For the last weekend together we deepened our relationship through games and movement about caring, listening, creating and letting go. With Dóra Furulyás and Vica Dányi (dancers and mothers) we decided that we bring in and widen the topic of motherhood to an extent that not only mothers can relate to the experiences of nurturing.

In the meantime we played games about abstraction through objects, movement and sound as well. Our space has been converted to be a playground. Then we were doing very simple exercises where participants made observations on each other's hand and told stories to each other and practiced different ways of support through leaning on each other, holding each other's bodies while moving together.

The first day ended with a collective storytelling. On our second day we did practices on helping and allowing. After the exercises a beautiful conversation emerged about the qualities of caring.

It’s a real journey to see how our conversations and the quality of our conversations evolve within the group. 

Discover more about SÍN Arts Centre and its artists involved in the journey of Performing Gender.

Ph credits: Iringó Simon

Luca Borsos