The idea of this year’s edition of Ciało/Umysł Festival is reflected by two words: TRANSGRESSING and PLEASURE.  Read out together or separately, they let us interpret the meanings that span between them in numerous ways -  from attempts to melt in pleasure to the search for new paths in life and art.

Festival ...

Transgression for me is some other kind of death which refers to growing, freeing oneself and going beyond. By this I don’t mean the end of something but rather easing off and letting go which allows us to get rid of resistance and resign from the internal struggle to stay the way we have been so far. This is the unique moment when we move from one place and go across the bridge spinning between point A and B, not knowing what awaits us on the other side of it yet. There is something inevitable in it since we have already made the first step and we cannot stop anymore, we are in the middle of the way and we can see the other shore with its promise of happiness looming somewhere in front of us. There are three stops awaiting us on this journey:

FIRSTLY: transgressing as the way towards pleasure. Pleasure understood as experiencing life fully and freely, enjoying it without any blockades of our minds or bodies. Not until we manage to deal with our past, limitations, pain inscribed in our bodies, feeling of deficiency or tension, will we be able to feel the pleasures of life completely – this is what the invited artists seem to say. In order to go further, we need to transgress ourselves and overcome the fears hidden inside us which have made it difficult for us to make a step forward. To do that, one can use a performance applying tools typical for psychotherapy. This is what a couple of Portuguese experimenters well-known to our festival viewers - Ana Borralho i João Galant do in their spectacle titled ”Trigger of Happiness” when they invite young local amateurs who are on the threshold to adulthood to take part in the Russian roulette in search of their definition of happiness. A series of ”coming outs” on stage, ranging somewhere between a group therapy and gambling, allows to transgress one’s childhood traumas and open to the pleasures of being a free man. A Polish choreographer and dancer Iza Szostak, on the other hand, when working on the premiere of her very personal solo titled ”Le journal secret” invited a therapist to collaboration. This allowed her to turn the world of her subconsciousness into the stage movement and tell about the moment of transformation and departing from ”the gods of the past”. This is a requiem for her old self, while awaiting a new life ”with no blame and shame”.


SECONDLY: transgressing. This aspect is going to be presented by the ”three tenors” of new dance: Sciarroni, Harrell, Dziemidok. They are three dancers from different countries in their solo works. Three rebellious artists looking for their own individual ways. Three creators, widely renowned or with a huge success within their reach, need to answer the question: how not to rest on one’s laurels and be born again as a new artist? Each of our guests provides a different answer. One of the most famous European choreographers who has attended Ciało/Umysł Festival a number of times before, the Italian Alessandro Sciarroni rejects the glitz and whirls in his minimalist performance ”Chroma” in the colorful light of the reflectors, looking for a new start and new enthusiasm in himself with every turn he is making. The outsider of the New York dance scene - Trajal Harrell, who was considered the best dancer of 2018 by ”Tanz Magazine”, in his solo work titled ”Dancer of the Year” uses his body and music to construct a subtle and poetic story about what makes and inspires an artist. Rafal Dziemidok on the other hand, the Polish artist who has been following his own dance path for many years, proposes his performative lecture ”How to dance forever”, polemicizing with the autobiography of a legendary American dancer Daniel Nagrin of the same title.


THIRDLY: pleasure. ”The climate we have” in Poland is such that the pleasure associated with body belongs to the taboo. Our history, religion, tradition tell us that we should rather mortify ourselves, celebrate the sadness and not seek the pleasure in our lives. But what if we, faced with uncertain future and omnipresent chaos, changed the negative connotations that surround the concept of pleasure in our culture and chose to enjoy life here and now? Since pleasure is not in the future but means experiencing this very moment we are in. Pleasures cannot be postponed, Mette Ingvartsen, the Danish choreographer and star of the European new dance scene seems to be saying in her spectacle titled ”to come (extended)”. A dozen or so dancers learn how to find ecstatic bodily pleasure at the time of widely accessible pornography and ubiquitous nudity in pop culture and advertisement. This is physically exhausting but also untamingly vigorous reflection on the necessity of never ending renewal of pleasure, constant elaboration on it as well as the effort (including the physical one) that it requires.


If we are ready for change, we need to be engaged and active. We have to trust ourselves and be ready to experience pleasure and euphoria. Let us transgress. Let us enjoy the pleasures of being ourselves!


Edyta Kozak

and C/U team