It seems that lately, Hungary’s young and mid-generation of dancers and choreographers wants to talk – more than anything else – about themselves. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise in the age of selfies and Instagram. But in art, self-expression often goes together with self-reflection and even self-doubt, and that is where it gets a bit more complicated
Hodworks’ performance Sunday asks existential questions about contemporary dance, while reflecting on dancers’ lives and the company’s former pieces. It opens with the performers talking about the rehearsal process and their experiences on stage. Some of what they are saying is probably true (like Csaba Molnár’s cynical account of his parents’ reaction to his art), some of it is clearly a joke (like Zoltán Vakulya thanking the choreographer, Adrienn Hód, for the extra rehearsal time in her bathroom). But we can’t be sure of what is true and what is not, and so the fine line between the private person and the onstage persona is smudged.
Then Molnár theatrically announces: ‘Let the dance begin!’, and the performers start with taking their clothes off. Hodworks is no stranger to nudity and while it isn’t always sexual, this time there’s no mistaking the eroticism in the way with the bodies intertwine, slide, bounce and pulse. But a sudden shift in mood sees them behaving more like dancing machines, the only aim of their frantic movements being to wear themselves out. As the tension rises (underlined by a thumping live DJ-set), screams and roars burst out of them, they spray-paint each other and sprinkle fake bodily fluids all over the stage. While all this madness is supposed to have a strong effect on us, ultimately it feels like we have seen it all before.
Where do we go when we are running out of taboos on stage and the shocking has ceased to be shocking? Hodworks has gazed into the mirror, but hasn’t found the answer yet.