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Performer, danzatrice e insegnante, Heléna Hrotkó è una tra le giovani artiste più interessanti della capitale ungherese. Da anni collabora con il Living Picture Theatre – diretto da Zsófia Bérczi – una realtà multidisciplinare che travalica le frontiere tra le arti. Conosciamola meglio, in questa intervista in inglese: forse c’è ancora tempo per un last minute per Budapest.

Performer, dancer and dance teacher, Heléna Hrotkó is one of the most interesting young artists who live and work in Budapest. Let’s try to know her better: we are still in time for a last minute to Hungary.

You are following two different paths: as a dance teacher you are searching for the authentic movement (i.e. an expressive, improvisational movement) and working with Zsófia Bérczi you focus on a synthesis of the arts. Is this a choice? How difficult is it for you to develop performances so different?
Heléna Hrotkó
: «Yes, it is thought that, somehow, they are two different pathways, but in fact – inside my body – they are complementary to each other. In my teaching activity I propose topics, which are the most interesting for me, because of my movement research: embodiment, the deepening of my body consciousness through an experienced anatomical knowledge. As a performer I basically work with the Living Picture Theater directed by Zsófia Bérczi. Thanks to this collaboration, I experience how to open the borders between different art forms, using a variety of tools to express a state (of mind), a phenomenon, and aspects of our existence».

Living and working in Budapest. How do you like it? Would you describe the artistic mood of your city?
H. H.
: «I have to admit that I like it more and more. I feel that there are many enthusiastic people – in Budapest – who are working persistently to develop and enrich the world of art and dance. And I consider myself as one of them. Not so long ago, for example, I had the chance to teach and participate in the 12^th International Improvisation Festival (http:www.kontaktbudapest.huthe_festivalintroduction), organized by Eszter Gál, the “mother” of Contact Dance in Budapest. The Festival was a big success with amazing teachers like Jess Curtis, Jules Beckman and Alessio Castellacci (from Italy, but living in Berlin). But this is just one event.How is the artistic mood in my city? I would say very intensive, at the moment, and I enjoy it a lot».

You have worked with Zsófia Bérczi in three of her performances: Becoming a Butterfly, Octopus Tarot Labyrinth and Etudes for primary colors. Would you describe the creative process behind these performances?
H. H.
: «The three artistic processes were very different. The first pièce I worked in was Becoming a Butterfly, which – for me – was a practice of giving my body and my knowledge fully to a process without showing myself, as a performer. Heléna did not appear on stage. The dancers were moving, all the time, inside clothes, in order to create constantly changing forms that became alive through our movements. Then, I worked in Octopus Tarot Labyrinth, which was a totally different kind of project. Zsófi gave me the role of the Sun and I thought that it was a great gift, because I felt it really fit me. I had many meetings with Zsófi (and it happened the same to the other 24 performers), during which I could imagine and create my scene in the labyrinth. Our latest performance was Etudes for primary colors – where the “main role” was given to the light and its forms dancing through the space».

What kind of interactivity does The Living Picture Company pursue during its performances?
H. H.
: «In the Octopus Tarot Labyrinth, for example, people were asked to pick a card from the tarot, at the entrance of the labyrinth. They received a hat and its color represented the role that they would play during their “journey”. They were the protagonists of their own performances and, inside the labyrinth, they could decide which way to follow. The performers helped them to understand the meaning of their roles and to find out which message was disguised in their cards».

The Living Picture Company needs, for its performances, complex stagecraft and stage design. Do you work always with the same carpenters, electricians, painters, light designers, etc., or do you choose different technicians depending on the perfomance?
H. H.
: «There is a core group that remains always the same. Apart from them, there are some temporary helpers in addition to the technicians who work for the theater that hosts the performance».

At the end of May, you were performing Etudes for primary colors. Where and in which circumstances (i.e. in a festival, in theatre, etc.)?
H. H.
: «We were at Szkéné – the theater of the Technical University, in Budapest. It had already hosted several works of Zsófi».

You have worked in Italy. How did you like it? And do you think that our country is a good place for performing arts?
H. H.
: «The period I spent in Italy was a very precious time from the point of view of my dance career and also my personal development. Right after finishing the Contemporary Dance Academy of Budapest I received a Leonardo scholarship and I decided to go to Pontedera – at Spazio NU. I remained there – dancing and (co-)teaching – for more than six months. It was there were I decided to become a dancer and a dance teacher. I’m very thankful to Massimo Pierini and Floriana Lombardo, the leaders of Spazio NU. I would be very happy to work in Italy, as I consider your country as my second home. I love it – and the language too, which I learned very quickly. Performing in Italy would be a great honour for me».

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