A New Contemporary Dance Company

None of the totalitarian regimes of this century had any particular liking for the modern art trends and made them eventually disappear from the area controlled by them. Too free a manifestation of one's personality meant escaping their power. In Nazi Germany just as it Stalinist Russia, the artists belonging to such trends had to stop creating if they couldn't defect. The paintings of the Russian avant-garde were exiled into the museums' storing rooms until the late 1980's, being only export merchandise at the 1979 Paris Exhibition, and great personalities of the German expressionist dance, such as Mary Wigman, were kept away from the stage until the end of the war. There were no acknowledged or supported contemporary dance companies in Romania during the communist epoch, but the authorities tolerated the odd small group that would have unconventional performances, creations of some people passionate about dance, with no financial support and hosted temporarily on some theatre stage or in museums. As any form of human manifestation oppressed for too long, contemporary dance is nowadays in full expansion in our country, as a result of the after-1989 more open and favorable climate as well as of the numerous direct contacts with the French school of contemporary dance. The phenomenon started with the creation by the Ministry of Culture, as early as 1990, of two companies – Orion and Contemp – and later of the Center for Artistic Expression at the Odeon Theatre, an already dissident group within the Orion company. After that the dividing and separation went on and on – the Marginalii group originating in the Orion company too – and has lasted up to the present moment. The latest "offspring" is Studio DCM, belonging to the choreographer and dancer Cosmin Manolescu who, two years ago, was one of the founders of the Marginalii group. The engine of these break-ups of companies resulting in new groups seems to be a need to manifest one's own personality so acute that no other artistic vision is tolerated around any longer, similar as they may be. Beyond any judgment of value, the phenomenon in itself deserves full attention.Studio DCM made its debut in April with a performance entitled Incursions, an event taking place at the French Institute in Bucharest and produced by the Institute, the MultiArt Foundation and the ECUMEST Program. The weight of the performance was equally divided between music and choreography, both live. The pianist and composer Mircea Tiberian and the saxophonist Cristian Soleanu provided the very good musical part, while Cristian Manolescu's choreographic creation was danced by the author and his partner, Rodica Geantă, both very good dancers, with a good body plasticity.Whole parts of movement were well structured by the choreographer and rendered by the dancers, but the theme of Incursions "…in the life of a couple torn between love, loneliness, and violence" was covered only partially. Meaning that the loneliness was totally visible, the violence could occasionally be felt too, but the love – which is, ultimately, what keeps any couple together – was but vaguely felt and mostly faked.The entire generation of Romanian choreographers that appeared after 1989 is deeply marked by an air of weariness that works upon them with the oppressiveness of a fashion that they don't seem able to overcome, at least for the time being. This atmosphere was imported from their French colleagues, in fact the only choreographers ever evoked as mentors by Cosmin Manolescu, and this in spite of the fact that his opening towards modernity occurred within the Orion company, in the proximity of people such as Miriam Rădulescu, Raluca Ianegic and Ioan Tugearu. Only that none of the French artists present in the past years on the Romanian stages has been so unilateral, each of them displaying also love of life and tenderness and humor. And the only chance of the young Romanian choreographers to avoid getting lost in an anonymous crowd is to recover their cultural roots, for in the universal concert of art only those bringing in a particular note are noticed.

by Liana Tugearu