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Top Pick: Seagull lands in Bratislava

To transfer a story into a wordless, modern dance and yet leave the work abstract and its conclusion open to taste and interpretation is a great challenge for both choreographer and viewer. This is all the more true in a multimedia performance in which effects enhance, not suppress, the dancing.
Bratislava Theatre of Dance (BDT) accomplishes that difficult feat in their latest performance, The Seagull. Based on myths collected in Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, the 65-minute dance depicts the emotions of a seagull who strikes out on his own in order to fulfil his greatest desires. The hero learns to survive alone - including learning to fly - and later returns to his friends and family to share his skills.
Although the arc of the seagull's life can be inferred from the three-part performance, the particulars of his story are left to the imagination. "The disadvantage of the play is that a viewer who seeks a concrete story won't find it there," said Róbert Meško, the BDT's director. "The advantage is that anybody can create his or her own story."


A performance of The Seagull.
photo: Courtesy BDT

To transfer a story into a wordless, modern dance and yet leave the work abstract and its conclusion open to taste and interpretation is a great challenge for both choreographer and viewer. This is all the more true in a multimedia performance in which effects enhance, not suppress, the dancing.

Bratislava Theatre of Dance (BDT) accomplishes that difficult feat in their latest performance, The Seagull. Based on myths collected in Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, the 65-minute dance depicts the emotions of a seagull who strikes out on his own in order to fulfil his greatest desires. The hero learns to survive alone - including learning to fly - and later returns to his friends and family to share his skills.

Although the arc of the seagull's life can be inferred from the three-part performance, the particulars of his story are left to the imagination. "The disadvantage of the play is that a viewer who seeks a concrete story won't find it there," said Róbert Meško, the BDT's director. "The advantage is that anybody can create his or her own story."

The performance's five dancers - dressed in white and grey - express the passage of time and the emotion of the story with a deep-reservoir of body movements. Their inspirational performance is supported by coloured lights and a video projection on the back wall that changes settings from the seashore to land to the sky. The effects create a vivid atmosphere, but don't overwhelm the pairs of rolling, tumbling dancers, who would be highly entertaining without the support.

"We linked all our effects in this performance so that none of them jump to forefront and the dance remains the focus," said Janet Bučková, assistant to choreographers Slovak Peter Mika and Spanish Olga Cobos. "Even the simple white costumes are combined with grey, so they don't draw attention from the characters' expressions."

The Seagull will be performed at 20:00 on December 19 and 20 in Dom Kultúry Dúbravka (Dúbravka Culture House), Saratovská 12/A. Tickets cost Sk120-180. Tel: 02/6436-5640. See www.bdt.sk for further show times. Information and reservations: bdt@mail.eurotel.sk a t/f: 6542 3274. Special group rates and holiday offers available.

By Zuzana Habšudová

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