The Sighs We Share

Flamenco is based on the harmony of contrasts. It can be just as delicate and gentle as it can be passionate and wild. Virtuoso or, as they say in flamenco "a tierra", that is earthly - slow - sticky, painful and cheerful, unexpected and measured, contemporary or authentic - says Zsófia Pirók, whom we asked about her new premiere, her first independent evening in Hungary, entitled Suspiros - Sighs, which will be performed at the Marczi Community Space on 12th November.
Suspíros-Sóhajok _ Pirók Zsófia önálló estje

 

Have you ever had your own evening on a large stage or is this the first on a Hungarian stage?

I had a chance to present my first independent evening in Hungary last year. It was the Colours of the Woman at the 9th Hungarian Dance Festival in Győr. My mother, Andrea Lippai also danced in this, and helped me in the creative process as well. Sighs, however, is my first evening in Hungary which I completely dreamt up and created on my own. In addition to making, and of course dancing the choreography, I also worked a lot on musical editing and on the dramaturgy. I would specifically like to emphasise this as, owing to the genre of flamenco, I work with live accompaniment, so in many cases the dance is created first and then the music is composed to go with it, which was of course composed by my excellent and professional musical companions.

 

 

Would you please introduce the guest artists, and could you tell us how you met them?

Two excellent guest artists are arriving from Spain. I chose Cristina Soler for her very special and extraordinary singing voice, which I think will sound beautiful with the ethereal angelic voice and violin playing of Edina Mókus Szirtes. Cristina Soler is only 25 years old but her talent has already been recognised at several competitions, and it is indeed an honour that she has been able to undertake the performance. I met Mókus in 2010, when she featured in my mother’s, Andrea Lippai’s Lorca evening, then she also played in her performance of Bailamor in 2011. I listened to her spellbound, and then when I got to know her personality I was captivated by her openness and her interest in musical genres. I have followed her work since then. Together with Juan José Bando’s flamenco guitar accompaniment she is one of the main pillars of the performance, she helped me the most at the composition stage. She also appeared in the performance the Colours of the Woman in Hungary and she usually accompanies me on the guitar in my performances in Seville. In flamenco it is very important for the musicians and dancers to pay continuous attention to and respect each other as we must be able to speed up and slow down together, we must be able to breathe together. I expect Gergely Tar on percussion instruments on the stage; he is perhaps the one I have known the longest. He became acquainted with flamenco many years ago in my mother’s company. Since then he has become one of the most professional percussionists in Hungary. He has experienced countless bands and genres. As a matter of fact I can say very little about each of them considering what fantastic musicians they are. So I am honoured to be able to take the stage with them on 12th November. My task was only to bring them together, to anneal them to flamenco.

 

Winning a Viktor Fülöp scholarship gave you the opportunity to create Suspiros. How long have you been working on the performance?

The idea came to me a very long time ago, which means about two years ago. It was also a long time ago that I decided that this would be my first completely independent evening. I continuously collected new ideas, took notes if I read something that touched me. I recorded it if I thought of a choreographic detail, and I could barely wait for everything to come together around me at last and for this piece to actually be realised. I could say that I won this scholarship in the best possible year, and what is more, the musicians I wanted to work with were all able to accept my invitation despite their busy schedules.

 

How was the idea put together?

The idea is really nothing more than a mirror of my momentary vision of the world. We draw some kind of conclusion, experience from every situation, which we take onwards with us. In my case it was the multitude of experiences during the years in Seville. I met a wide variety of people when I was very young, and I noticed that indeed, each person is a separate world, but still there are moments and emotions that everybody experiences one day. I tried to collect these moments and present them in the language of dance and music, through sighs, since breathing, pulsating and heart beats are just as common in all of us as these moments.

 

What does it mean that this topic was inspired by Eastern philosophy?

It means that I felt I could draw a parallel between the philosophical thoughts that I encountered or sensed in my readings and my form of expression that is my daily life/vocation. In Eastern cultures a strong bond with nature can be observed in their art, as well as in sports and in medicine i.e. in their daily lives, which has been preserved to this day. We have quite lost the connection in Europe, although in recent years writings have continuously appeared that prove that we are beginning to return to it more and more. I also do yoga so I constantly feel the importance of this, and I have noticed that I can also find and experience this unity in my form of expression, flamenco. While dancing, I can “break out” of my body and experience a kind of ecstatic state at the same time, while the contact with the ground is still constant all the way through. It takes effect even more in flamenco with the powerful foot tapping, but also with the delicate stretching of the arms towards the sky. This contrast, however, is held together with rhythm and music and the movements are the results of this harmony. I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than this.

 

How do the dynamic, passionate flamenco and the spiritual oriental topic suit each other?

It is very simple. Flamenco is based on the harmony of opposites. It can be just as delicate and gentle as it can be passionate and wild. Virtuoso or, as they say in flamenco “a tierra”, that is earthly – slow – sticky. Painful and cheerful, unexpected and measured, contemporary or authentic, but the audience will bear witness to all this anyway.

 

Renáta György

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