Tomáš Danielis is a graduate of The Ján Levoslav Bella Conservatory in Banská Bystrica. He received his master’s degree at the Faculty of Music and Dance at The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. He was a founding member of the Štúdio tanca dance theatre (1998) in Banská Bystrica. During his time with the ensemble he closely collaborated with the choreographer Zuzana Hájková. After relocating to Bratislava, he collaborated with a range of Slovak and international choreographers and tutors, such as David Zambrano, Steve Paxton, Andrew de Lombinière Harwood, Miroslava Kovářová, Marta Poláková, Frey Faust, Willi Dorner.
His solo debut project I almost met you today (2000) was an instant success. His subsequent works reaffirmed his inimitable artistic approach.
His foremost productions include light art-video-dance performance Landscapes (2011), emotionally charged production Locus (2016), and exceptionally pure project in terms of dance Suites (2016) – that received awards in recognition of the inimitable approach to creating compositions from movement material, inspired by the music by Bach.
For the Štúdio tanca dance theatre in Banská Bystrica he created, in 2010, the production Skin. At the Bratislava-based festival Nu Dance Fest he featured with such projects as On The Red Lawn, Mainly Love, 21 & Counting. His most recent project, 21 & Counting, performance about movement, words, euphemisms and particularly about all that lays behind reaffirms Danielis’ permanent interest in the quest for sources and triggers of social tensions. The performance is based on the delayed celebration of the 20th anniversary of the author and performer on dance stage. He revisits his memories and uses dance and movement as narrative instruments to talk about words, correctness, context, euphemic escapes from reality, and the lack of trust in values.
As author and performer, Tomáš Danielis collaborated on the projects Ardent Body Communication by Frey Faust, Cie. by Felix Ruckert, Cie. Willi Dorner, Freyer Ensemble, Granhøj Dans and many others.
Mr Danielis is laureate of a number of prizes for performing art and choreography, such as the 2007 Contest – TanzRat Wien, special prize for choreography and performing art at the 2007 Theatre Arts Festival in Rybnik, Poland, and the prize for choreography at the same event in 2009. His performing art also earned him the Reumer Prize for the production Men and Mahler from the repertoire of the Danish ensemble Granhøj Dans.
Along with choreographies, Mr Danielis creates a system of trainings in dance technique and improvisation. He has led the workshops in Raffinerie and Danscentrum Jette (Brussels), TQW (Vienna), Tanzhaus NRW (Düsseldorf), Hot Summer (Kyoto), Dansehallerne (Copenhagen), CODARTS (Rotterdam) and elsewhere. He was assistant to David Zambrano, Frey Faust (1998 – 2004) and artistic director of the Internationale Bühnenwerkstatt Tanztheaterfestival (Graz, 2011 – 2013). Since 2013 he has been managing the IG Tanz Steiermark. In the period of 2016 – 2017 he was chief dance master at the Moscow Ballet. In 2017 he founded FEYNMen, a group of artists engaged in dance, performance, visual art and music. Currently, he advances his choreographic and tutorial work largely in Brussels, whilst engaging in additional projects across Europe and regularly returning home to Slovakia.
Tomáš Danielis has long been focusing, particularly in his solo projects, on bringing together digital visual arts, dance and movement. He is known for taking due regard to thematic diversity, whilst creating specific and innovative movement vocabulary. He works with a wide range of folk motives, through contemporary dance techniques, mainstream dance manifestations, all the way to civil elements of movement theatre. His signature style is characterised by high intensity of movement expressiveness, defined intellectual concept and uncompromising dramaturgical stylisation. By cumulating production elements, he cleverly creates tension which he subsequently doses to the spectator. The form he engages in most are solo projects that enable him to build a dance libretto on concentrated personal statement and viewpoint. His inimitable dance performance is epitomised by intellectual cynicism and a sense of humour.
The concept of the solo project Locus – concept of me (2016) draws from exploration of the process of creating our identity as influenced by memory. The essence of genius loci, the space of our existential map is manifested as determining factor in assessing or identifying key moments of being. Mr Danielis is particularly interested in inner space that is covered by seeming banality, everyday routine. That is precisely where he finds sources to explore beauty as well as ugliness. Those are the fundamental forces of the mechanism of our lives. They determine the vantage point of perspective. Naked body, when poetically lit, is beautiful. Its melancholic movement creates visually rich portrait. Mr Danielis uses aesthetic counterpoint, as he puts on a long-haired wig he thus blends into the beauty of human body the irritating drop of vulgarity. The intellectual irritation is, in general, an ever-present element in his performing art. It can be identified in all of his choreographies. The dual principle of identification based on personal history in Locus – concept of me confronts beauty and its deformation. In its fragility, naked body, is tormented in the end in post-orgasmic cramps. In the next part, Mr Danielis subjects a dancer with a wooden puppet in scale of human to similar polarisation. The puppet becomes his partner, burden, comparative alter ego. With its passivity it fends off external factors. He uses it to establish contact with the spectators. Once he puts on civilian clothes, in the dynamic part built on pressing expressivity of technically challenging movements, the dancer dramatically accentuates the currency of the previous nostalgia of choreography. In the contrasting neurotic rhythm of dance sequences, he follows with poignancy on the intimate dialogue with spectators.
In the production Mainly Love (2016) Mr Danielis employs the principles of docudrama, whilst actively using the interaction between movement and digital media. The context of the production exceeds meta-portrait of an autocratic personality that is defined in digital visual environment in motion – in fragments from conversations with five sexually abused women and a single predator. He thus opens discourse, in which he strictly avoids general principles related to emancipation tensions between sexes and simplification of the issue. He works with a wide range of interactive trans-medial and purely movement modes as instruments of expression. The dance diapason is created by a blend of specific movement vocabulary, classical dance technique, luscious mid-way dance aesthetics and the expressiveness of acrobatics. Dance sequences are interlaced with poems and documentary statements.
Despite the strongly performative theme, the production exceeds the limits of sexes. Mr Danielis explores the positions of the sexes, the attitude of sexuality to power, and the consequences of such interactions. Sudden cuts of images along with distinctive musical structure enhance the tension in the expressive movement statement of the performer. Photosensors attached to the body of the dancer and placed across the stage remove the barrier of the source of impulse between the dancer and video-projection, thus escalating the pressing point of the statement. The tension strips naked the untoward nature of aggression of power. The graphic projection of naked female body on the floor and horizon of the stage space create around the laying dancer absorbing space. It is a territory that disappears under any attempt to grasp it. This emerges an image of a blend of fragility and inappropriate power. It is a commentary projected on stage.
The transcription of the painful social theme into the dance language unveils the mimicry of predators. In his production, Mr Danielis is on the lookout for mechanisms that enable tolerance of smaller or grater autocrats and the subsequent tendency to excuse or give reason to their violence.
In the unusual collaboration with the Moscow Ballet, Mr Danielis created a choreography for the production Equilibrium (2017). When staging the project he tested his ability to transmit artistic intentions in creating choreographic material for the ballet company. The leitmotif is the balance between power and choice. Dancers are pulled in a set of games in which they have to solve situations and face related obstructions. They constantly compose strategies that enable their self-realisation, trying to balance action and reaction, keep the balance between self-realisation, integration and public fulfilment. The production is part of the trilogy about power which has been something Mr Danielis has been recently working on. It is a choreographic show-jumping based on game theories and immersions into the depths of human existence. In chain reactions, the movement impulses create fundamental changes, twists, and add drama to the relationships on stage. Both the solos and duets are exposed to incessant influence of the group movement. In his concept, Mr Danielis highlights the need for the quest for an opportunity to make decisions and take responsibility for them.
A list of original works:
2000 – I almost met you today, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: International Festival Art of Movement, Yaroslavl
2002 – Sextet, directed by: Peter Jaško, collective choreography and performance: Matej Bohuš, Tomáš Danielis, Milan Herich, Peter Jaško, Anton Lachký, Milan Tomášik. Première: Bratislava in Movement – International Festival of Contemporary Dance, Bratislava
2005 – Feather, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Štyri (+1) dni tanca pre Vás, Banská Bystrica
2007 – Proxima Parada, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Int. Bühnenwerkstatt Tanztheaterfestival, Graz
2007 – Alone, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: festival of contemporary dance and movement theatre Nu Dance Fest, Bratislava
2009 – In Medias Res, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: WUK, Vienna
2010 – Skin, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica
2010 – Smetiar, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: festival KiosK 59, Vienna
2010 – Damnation, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Štyri (+1) dni tanca pre Vás, Banská Bystrica
2010 – Grenztänzer project, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: ImCubus, Graz
2011 – Landscapes, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: festival of contemporary dance and movement theatre Nu Dance Fest, Bratislava
2011 – Jade, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: TTZ, Tanz & Theater Zentrum Graz
2011 – Back to myself, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Int. Bühnenwerkstatt Tanztheaterfestival, Graz
2012 – On the Red Lawn, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Bora Bora Dance & Visual Theatre a Granhøj Dans, Aarhus
2012 – Behind the Endings, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: La Caldera Les Corts, Barcelona
2015 – 20th Trust, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: International AVAYAVA Contemporary Dance Festival, Pune
2016 – Locus – concept of me, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: TTZ, Tanz & Theaterzentrum Graz
2016 – Suites, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: TTZ, Tanz & Theaterzentrum Graz
2016 – Mainly Love, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: IG Tanz Steiermark
2017 – Equilibrium, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Ballet Moscow
2017 – Souvenir, Platform 1 – 12, team work: Eva Andrášová, Mária Čorejová, Tomáš Danielis, Zuzana Novotová Godálová, Zuzana Husárová, Ľubomír Panák, Jakub Pišek. Première: Platform 1 – 12, Topoľčany
2018 – Maybe, but of course, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Forum Stadtpark, Graz
2018 – Game, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: Theater am Lend, Graz
2019 – 21 & Counting, choreography and directed by: Tomáš Danielis. Première: festival of contemporary dance and movement theatre Nu Dance Fest, Bratislava.
Videos from productions:
LOCUS / concept of me, 2016
archive of Tomáš Danielis
The video can be found at the following link: www.vimeo.com/168176917
Mainly Love, 2016
Author of the trailer: Tomáš Danielis
archive of Tomáš Danielis
The video can be found at the following link: www.vimeo.com/225781298
Author of the trailer: Eggor Kree
archive of Tomáš Danielis
The video can be found at the following link: www.vimeo.com/222258300