Rita Góbi’s Volitant, premiered in 2017 and selected as part of that year’s AerowavesTwenty, was the masterpiece of a long-experimented and crystallised movement language. Of course, Góbi is at a much earlier stage in her career than Frenák, but Volitant is still a very important station on her artistic road; it’s exciting to see where she goes next. Her newest piece, Snapdragons, shows that for now, she still lingers at this station. It has a lot in common with Volitant, involuntarily making the latter into a reference point as well. But there are differences too, of which the biggest is that this time Góbi choreographed for other people rather than for herself. The six female dancers are all very young, emerging performers, and the show feels a bit like a demonstration of Góbi’s teaching method and artistic style, or a first step towards building a company.
After the bird-like creature of Volitant, Góbi once again let herself be inspired by nature, this time choosing flowers as her ‘protagonists’. She works with the same collaborators as well: lighting designer Pavla Beranová conjures coloured shadows for the snapdragon-girls on the back wall, recalling both a beautiful summer field and an art installation. Dávid Szegő once again creates more a vibrant soundscape than music, consisting of curious, unidentified noises. Similarly, dance is not really dance either, but then why would it be: what we see is not humans expressing emotions through dancing, but the instinctive movements of natural beings. Góbi’s language is quite made for that: repetitive, almost involuntary gestures (like repeatedly sticking out tongues), angular forms, micro-movements and the isolation of even the smallest body parts have become her trademarks now. In some of the postures that the performers take up, we don’t even recognise the human body any more. Every body part is equally important and even the smallest gesture (like the rolling of eyes) is planned, which evokes ancient Oriental dance styles as well.
Although there are six people on stage, they don’t really dance with each other – yet there is a kind of natural force that keeps the whole composition together. Just as in nature, the snapdragon-girls go through a slow unfolding that progressively turns into wild and boisterous blooming. This, according to the choreographer’s concept, is what connects them with human nature as well: just like snapdragons, people tend to sometimes open then close up, shine then wilt. Wouldn’t it be great to preserve some of that playfulness that these flower-girls bring to the stage as well? Apart from a few uncertainties, the young dancers deliver Góbi’s rigorous choreography precisely, practised to perfection. Although Góbi is a unique and charismatic performer, this piece shows that her movement language works without her on stage as well. And still I find myself wondering about that next station of her career. ●