Daniel Eszralow - Interview, 1999

For the first time ever three American choreographers, Moses Pendleton, David Parsons and Daniel Eszralow will create a novel performance for the Romanian World and Olympic Champions at aerobics. AEROS – a world premiere that will take place in Italy. Physically extremely demanding dances. Captivating images, full of imagination and elegance. These choreographers came to Romania in February on manager Antonio Niaki from the La Scala in Milan's demand. David and Moses worked in America for three months. It was Daniel's turn to work in Bucharest with the Romanian gymnasts. "Hello, Daniel Eszralow. We meet in Bucharest in a rather unusual place for a choreographer. Where did this wonderful idea come from?" "It was a combination of ideas coming from various people. Antonio Niaki had the inspiration to combine the idea of the multiple choreographer from the world of dance with gymnastics. Yes, you know, I think choreographers have watched gymnasts many times thinking "if only I had the opportunity to work with a body like that". Anyway, I've had this urge for a long time, and there are many choreographers who would've liked to work with athletes. I was an athlete myself before becoming a dancer and what was required of me when I got to dance was to express my soul. I'm sure Michael Jordan expresses his soul as well, anyway, sports have a different orientation, to win the gold medal, to gather points, you know, something like…the referee saying…shoulder too high, minus two points, thigh…For me this isn't the essence of dance…The essence of dance is expressiveness and humaneness, love and hate, beauty…It is a dramatic expression where we are inspired by our own life experience." "I have seen you dancing together: you, David and Moses when you were all in the company "Momix". Sometime in the 90s we even broadcast on the Romanian Public Television a great International Gala from Milan. Why did you separate?" "We've been very good friends for about 20 years. David and I danced together in Paul Taylor's company until 1980. Moses and I created the company "Momix" together and in 1983 David joined us. Then we separated. Moses took the Momix, I founded my own company, David his. We are now reunited to do this show. It's wonderful. I think it's gonna be a hit." "Your company combines various artistic forms – video takes, fashion, drama, music, dance. You have worked at doing shows for David Bowie, Sting, U2. And in 1998 you created the choreography for the Oscar Gala. Is it fashionable to invite choreographers for various grand events?" "Dancing is by definition the most inspired form of communication. The type of dance is not important, but simply the movement expressed in those forms that can produce emotion. What's important is for the public to leave the venue happy." "You were an athlete, David Parsons left the world of sports in order to dedicate himself to dancing. What is the difference between a dancer's and a sportsman's body?" "I don't think sportsmen are that different. We are all human beings. And as people we are full of energy. So many years have passed since we exist on this earth in this form of energy, I am in this body, you in yours, but who knows, maybe later I will receive your body and you mine or maybe some other time we'll be plants or animals, who knows, but now my body needs to exchange energy all the time with other bodies, that's what it's all about between human beings who are called athletes, dancers or businessmen." "Your creations have three essential elements: force, symmetry and harmony. The movements' symmetry and harmony lie in your thinking, the harmony that comes from an extension of the body, of the arms, of the legs, but also from an exchange of energies expressing emotions, passions, feelings. The force lies in the talent of the Romanian gymnasts. Something is different, however. What?" "I think dancers expose themselves to this exchange of energy more, they pay a lot of attention to the touching of bodies, athletes are interested in their own bodies more, so the whole idea is to work with them in order to "open" them. More than the people themselves, each person's environment is fundamentally different. A dancer's environment is the studio, mirrors, the teacher sits and watches, there's no sign of any distractions around, people don't talk, you watch and imagine what the work would look like on stage; in a sports environment everything is different, there are a lot of people, there is no background, everyone frets and moves so the energy gets a bit dispersed. So, if you wanna try a psychological experiment, it's hard to concentrate. So this is what's different." "Moses Pendelton is trying to discover how the body works in a certain state, in a certain type of movement in order to provoke the perception of ideas and emotions otherwise inexpressible. He is in fact a master of acrobatics and experiments combining the harmony and the plasticity of the athletic gesture. What will the performance look like? Will there be a new formula?" "A formula that combines the visual with music and movement and together they will give birth to something totally unexpected, and the audience will say, this isn't film, this isn't dance, what is it then? It's a fantastic experience for the public." "This is your first time in Romania. How do you like it?" "I like Romania. It's a wonderful country. The people are very special, full of energy, I don't want to talk only from a political point of view, but I think everything derives in fact from each person's build. Having been too long under dictatorship, Romania is now like a child taking his first breath of air; it's too much too soon. It only needs the very intelligent people who can say, we'll take one thing at a time and everything's gonna be alright in 5 or 10 years." "Good luck and we look forward to seeing you here again."

by Silvia Ciurescu