Stowarzyszenie Projektów Międzynarodowych „INPRO”

More Than A Gesture

#1 Reflection about the Phenomenological Aspect of Classical Dance

Photo: Skevi Laou

 

From the moment I wake up until my eyes close themselves for the night, I am dancing.
When I walk in the street, when I cook, I am dancing. In each gesture of everyday life, my body is acting, my brain is dancing. Even if it hurts, even if it is so tiresome, I always feel free and feathery when I dance.

Classical dance is a really old discipline. We often think that ballet has been invented in France, but it’s not true. Classical dance has been taught in France since the XV century, thanks to Catherine de Medici what makes classical dance an Italian discipline. However, the ballet vocabulary is in French, because the technical side has been made by Beauchamp, the first choreographer of the history. During the XV century, classical dance was invented as a technical code. Everything seemed to be standardized and normative. The body could only express some specific dance steps. Dance was considered to be only a technical discipline. However, nowadays, even if the technique is always the same, even if it is always hard to learn the steps, to learn how to spin, to learn how to be flexible, classical dance is not only considered to be performative.

During a dance lesson, you always see the difference between a dancer with an amazing technique and another with a less technical background. However, it does not mean that one is better than the other. Dance is not only about technique or talent. Dance must be considered as a phenomenological discipline.

Phenomenological is the study of the appearance. Here, an appearance must be understood as something which appears. If you see something appear, it means that your conscience is working. You are aware of everything. In terms of dance, it means that you need to open your mind and to raise awareness of your performance. Everything is about conscience. Grace is about conscience. The only way for a dancer to become more talented is to become more gracious. You only can be gracious if you are aware of your movements, aware of the space around you, aware of your own feelings.

Dancing is a wonderful way of expressing your feelings. With a gracious performance, you can also transmit emotions to your public.
Frequently, classical dance is opposed to modern and jazz dance. People think that classical dance is too strict and inflexible. In the opposite, they think that modern-jazz dance is about creativity and freedom. I think it is the wrong way of considering dancing. In each discipline, emotion, technique, creativity, and rigor are necessary. It is important to learn this technical aspect of classical dance in order to become more confident in practice.

I spent sixteen years of my life learning dance. I started with classical dance. A few years later, I switched for modern-jazz. When I was sixteen, I rediscovered classical dance with a new eye. I was old enough to put my first pointe on. The dance practice has taught me how to be precise, focused, patient and meticulous. It also made me discover that sometimes, pain is just a step to cross to reach all you expected.

Eloïse Busson

 

#2 The Revolutionary Act Monument

 

Photo: Skevi Laou

Art can be considered as a concept but also as an action at the same time. Ballet is an art in these two considerations. The technical aspect, the way you put your arms or your legs is an art in the eye of the action. The way you express your feelings and the way you make people become full of emotions is an art in the eye of the concept.

A dance photoshoot is also an art. Imagine the dancer, using movements, to make his body express a lot of different gestures. And now… it has just stopped! To keep the position in order to let the camera capture it – this is art. The second before and after you were dancing, you are kept in the eye of the camera as a sculpture for eternity. The dancer and his gestures become a sculpture, a piece of art.  With this perspective, we can consider that art is literally surrounding us. Just looking at people moving, speaking, acting… There is also a more common art perspective around us architecture, buildings, monuments, sculptures are part of it.

In Rzeszów, a lot of things could be considered as art.  The Revolutionary Act Monument is one of them. But first, let me tell you a little bit about the history of the city, in order to understand the history of the monument more.

Rzeszów is the biggest city of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship.  Subcarpathian Voivodeship is the south-east part of Poland. Formerly, Rzeszów used to be annexed by the Austrian Empire. Between 1914 and 1915, the city of Rzeszów belonged to Russia. After the First World War, Rzeszów became a Polish city. During the Second World War, Rzeszów was renamed Reichshof, in order to show the world that the city was a member of the General Government.

When Rzeszów was under Soviet control,  the most famous monument of Rzeszow: The Revolutionary Act Monument was erected. It is also known as The Memorial Walk. It was created in order to remember the battles that took place in Rzeszów and its area. The monument was built in Kraków and transported to Rzeszów in 1974.

The funniest thing about the monument is its shape. The designer said that he wanted to create two laurel leaves with statues of soldiers in the middle. In Rzeszów, this sculpture is known for resembling something else. If you look right in the middle of the monument, its shape can make you think of a female organ. This is also why it is so famous.

A few years ago, the government wanted to destroy it because it was a Soviet monument. For two different reasons, 90% of Rzeszów’s citizens were against this idea. On the one hand, this monument is well-known in the city. It is one of the most important constructions. It is considered the symbol of Rzeszów and a famous meeting point. On the other hand, Rzeszów’s citizens are against this attitude of denial towards their past with the Soviets. This is a part of their history and destroying everything from those times will not delete what happened in the past.

For all of these reasons, the Revolutionary Act Monument will stay here as long as possible, decorating Rzeszów’s landscape.

 

Eloïse Busson

 

#3 The Lubomirski Castle

Photo: Skevi Laou

 

Classical dance, especially ballet has always been a sumptuous and elegant discipline. It is not surprising to find its origins in the royal court.

As you may remember, Catherine di Medici introduced ballet into the French court because she was really interested in every kind of art.

We can only guess that if ballet is always so graceful and elegant, with a lot of mimicking and danced to classical music, this could be because it was a royal discipline.

From the Middle Ages until the end of the 18th century, monarchies and royal power were everywhere in Europe. In Poland, a famous Lubomirski family was close to the king. This family has been well known in Poland since the 10th century because of their bravery during the war against paganism. Years after years, they had been increasing their power. In the whole country, they were known and their influence was so big.

The Lubomirski family is separated into five big lines. Hieronim Augustyn Lubomirski had started the line in Rzeszow.
In Rzeszow, a beautiful castle was built in 1458. It is surrounded by stones bastion fortification. In the center, we can find the courtyard.

Nowadays, the castle has been transformed into the District Court. Unfortunately, you cannot dance inside anymore…

Eloïse Busson

 

#4 Ghetto Victims’ Square

Photo: Skevi Laou

 

The history of humanity is full of awful moments. Poland had to handle a terrible period during the second world war. The Nazi occupation started in Rzeszow in September 1939. Less than one year later, in May 1940, the Jewish citizens were not allowed to walk in the main city road. In December 1941, an official ghetto was created in Rzeszow. In 1942, the ghetto was so full than they had to fence it. There were more than 12.000 Jewish citizens confined inside. At the beginning of the war, 15.000 Jewish citizens lived in Rzeszow. At the end of the war, only one hundred survived. In order to keep their memory alive, different places have been created in different parts of the country. In Rzeszow, we can find a park with a monument in the middle of it, named Ofiar Getta. In English, it means victims of the ghetto. This place is here to commemorate the memory of the Jewish victims
during the second world war. The location of this place is not random. Before the second world war, a Jewish cemetery was located in this place. During the war, the Nazis destroyed this cemetery. Nowadays, a square is dedicated to Ghetto Victims’ memory, in the exact emplacement of the previous cemetery.
Today, Skevi and me wanted to think about these people and pay tribute to them. We would like to honor their memory, their life and every good moment they could possibly have.
As you know, art is powerful. One of its powers is to help people pay tribute in the most beautiful way they can…

Eloïse Busson

 

#5 The Independence Bell

Photo: Skevi Laou

 

In the middle of Rzeszów’s city center, in Plac Farny, you can find an impressive bell. This bell has been made in 2018 in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence.

Poland has been occupied during the most part of its history.  Since 1795, Poland was a part of the Russian, Austria-Hungarian, and German Empires.

The 100th anniversary symbolizes the creation of the state after 123 years of partition.

Nowadays, everyone is allowed to ring the bell, to show others the cheerful feeling of being free and not dominated by someone else.

Every year, in order to commemorate this special date and feeling, Polish citizens organize a lot of concerts, festivals or parties. In these events, Polish traditions are presented. One of them is the traditional dance. Polish dance is something really rooted in the traditional folklore. It’s really impressive and beautiful to see. The dance can be danced in a couple or in a group but there is always the same amount of men and women. Both men and women are wearing colorful traditional clothes.  Often, women are also wearing beautiful flower crowns.

Always with a big smile, they sing dynamically in unison. Polish dance is full of positive feelings.

Eloïse Busson