Stanislava Vlčeková / Jozef Vlk – Debris Company

Stanislava Vlčeková (1981, Martin)

A graduate of The Ján Levoslav Bella Conservatory in Banská Bystrica, Stanislava Vlčeková went on to pursue studies in modern dance pedagogy at The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and later continued with her studies to acquire a doctor’s degree at the Department of Acting at The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. Since 2011 she is with the Department of Acting at the Faculty of Theatre, The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava as a pedagogue. In 2003 she founded, together with Renata Bubniaková and Lucia Kašiarová dance group MY3 where she was co-author and dancer. She often collaborates with the theatre SkRAT, Theatre elledanse, and a range of theatre- and film-makers (such as the stage directors Jozef Vlk, Roman Polák, Kamil Žiška, Martin Čičvák, Michal Vajdička, Peter Bebjak, Rastislav Ballek, Marián Amsler, Sláva Daubneorová or the choreographer Šárka Ondrišová).

She is core member of the physical theatre Debris Company, as a choreographer and performer. For the Debris Company she has created choreographies to the music by Jozef Vlk for the productions Soliloquy (Theatre Aréna 2006), Dolcissime Sirene (Chamber Studio of the Slovak Radio 2007), Ortopoetikum (A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture 2007), Hexen (Theatre elledanse 2010), MONO – together with Peter Jaško (Theatre elledanse 2010) and EPIC (Theatre elledanse 2012), Clear (Theatre elledanse 2014), WOW! (A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture 2017), The Kidnapping of Europe (A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture 2017), Job (A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture 2018), GLITCH (Theatre Pôtoň 2019).

Ms Vlčeková is fascinated by the physical potential of human body that invites exploration of new opportunities of linking the movement. She convenes and runs intensive workshops for professional dancers, tutors, choreographers and actors in Slovakia and internationally.  

She is laureate of a number of awards, including the 2004 Jury Prize at the 12th Saitama International Dance Contest in Tokyo as co-author of choreography for the MY3 group and the production My Tri My Try (Theatre Aréna 2002); the 2009 TAOS prize as the Dancer of the Season in contemporary dance for the production Hexen; the third prize at the 2012 Festival of Choreography Miniatures in Belgrade for her choreography Rose for the Bratislava Ballet  (Theatre Nová scéna 2011).

 

Jozef Vlk (1961, Bratislava)

Having founded the theatre company Hubris Company (later renamed as the Debris Company), Mr Vlk held a number of music-drama scholarships (Graz, Stuttgart, etc.) and workshops. He is the founder and leading figure in one of the first Slovak independent theatre companies, the Debris Company, having led the group for nearly two decades. He has composed music to a number of dance and stage productions, as well as films and other projects. His name is thus closely linked to a range of stage, film, dance and other productions.

As stage director and author of music he collaborated with many major names in Slovakia and internationally, on music, stage and film projects that featured successfully both at home and abroad. To name a few, Mr Vlk thus collaborated with Matthew Hawkins, Judy Kaplan, Lloyd Newson, Marjolein Sinke, Frank Cox, Jean Michel Bruyère, Pauline de Groot, Martin Burlas, Milan Sládek, Marta Polákova, Šárka Ondrišová, Kamil Žiška, Miloslav Luther, Martin Čičvák, or Juraj Chlpík. In recent years, Mr Vlk focuses largely on theatre, electronic new music, contemporary dance and film. He was convenor of festivals in Bratislava – Bazén, Priestor 98 and Protéza.

He is author of music and stage director of productions that emerged within the past decade as produced by the Debris Company and choreographed by Stanislava Vlčeková: Soliloquy (2006), Dolcissime Sirene (2007), Ortopoetikum (2007), Hexen (2008), MONO (2010) (in collaboration with Peter Jaško), Epic (2012), CLEAR (2014), the trilogy WOW! (2017), The Kidnapping of Europe (2017) and  Job (2019).

In 2003 he directed medium-length dance film Day.

Mr Vlk is laureate of a number of awards. His music compositions earned him the 2008 DOSKY prize for Best Stage Music in the production Canto Hondo (Theatre elledanse), the Jury Prize at the 2011 OST-RA-VAR for Best Music in the Season for the Cenci (Moravian–Silesian Theatre Ostrava) and the 2012 DOSKY for Best Stage Music to the dance production Rose/3Ballet (Ballet Bratislava).

In 2013 he was nominated for the Tatra Bank Prize and awarded in the category Theatre for Best Director and Concept of the Debris Company project EPIC. In 2018 he received the Grand Prix at the festival Nová dráma/New Drama Festival for the production WOW!.

 

Signature style:

The stage director Jozef Vlk together with Stanislava Vlčeková work systematically employing the principle of the quest for music-movement compositions enhanced or directly created by a powerful music and light-visual element. The extensive intellectual theme defined in the depth and width of connotations, delicately set in the detail of references and quotations, becomes an aesthetic standard. Their work within the Debris Company is epitomised by fragmentation, space and movement, their reduction to impulses of association. They serve the spectator to construct their own story of an idea and impression. This also applies to the production WOW! – the first part of the trilogy. 2017 brought its second part, entitled The Kidnapping of Europe and 2019 saw the emergence of the third part, Job.

The production Soliloquy was the first major joint project of the Vlčeková and Vlk team. The female solo is built based on the final chapter of the James Joyce novel Ulysses, where Molly Bloom in her monologue half-way between dream and reality lists, in a single breath, our everyday tragedies, disillusions, jealousy, envy, and extensive bigotry. Ms Vlčeková, in her choreography and interpretation of the incessant flow of movement and gesture embodies the liquid variability of beauty and decay. Within a split of second, the grand and beautiful gesture is caricatured into the fanatical manipulative helplessness, only to change instantly into repenting and kind movements that are then transformed into an expression of despair and pain of solitude. Ms Vlčeková moves along diagonal line from the pedestal from which she steps down in the opening, after the scene of the sung aria. This line bears ritual dominance across the entire production. Between the two liminal points of the stage, and between conscious and subconscious, personal human tragedy evolves of resignation, failed reconciliation, beauty and abomination. The incessant and variable flow of emotions, sentiments, grief and ideas in a staged movement transcription triggers major impression that is multiplied by its pressing currency. The attacking images of the momentum of irreversibility are visually intertwined by original images. This is illustrated, for instance, by the scene of “leafing” images projected on the folds of a skirt. Passionate dance expression by the female dancer, her physical beauty and polarising gravity of the artistic statement in the thought-out stage direction by Jozef Vlk, the master of mystification, create in a production space for stage magic embodied in the dance movement. They thus create beauty that may have the potential to redeem the world.

Mr Vlk developed the social and anthropological themes explored by Debris in the Brechtian production Epic. The aesthetics of the interwar industrial blue-collar greyness, elitist mannerism and German expressive theatre and dance create well-defined framework for the production instruments that are used here. The dance material of the duo or proletarians (Nikoleta Rafaelisová, Daniel Raček) draws form the movements and gestures of silent films from the 1920s and 1930s. Stripped of individualisation, it rather symbolises physical expression of people who mechanically experience their fate. The dancers fill their formal gestures with personal tragedies of the impossibility to change their life, the world and to reach the other bank of the river which also literally divides the stage. The bittersweet dance scenes are brilliant showcase of high performing art. The well-blended dance technique, precision of expression of the stylised expression and the objective detachment of experienced dancers turn their scenes the pillars of the theme and content of the production. The scenes of the lady and her menial (Stanislava Vlčeková, Juraj Hrčka) combine obscenity of the privileged class, their lacklustre amorality and formal lusciousness of gestures. With its exaggerated twist, Vlčeková’s pose which she only rarely and indeed briefly abandons, is a caricature and deformation of her entire movement. Mr Hrčka complements her static pose with chatty, obsequious comments. Like Joker he mixes the cards of awkwardness and cruel ruthlessness; he is the grey eminence as well as a degenerate doggie. The purism of the set design by Tom Ciller adds vigour to the production. Together with the screen projections by Martin Piterka and Alex Zelina it precisely defines the atmosphere of scenes.

WOW! is a visually powerful production about the essence of the emergence of life. It is inspired by the poetry of Slovak author Eugen Gindl, in which life denies itself. The consumerist society, narcissism and admiration of one’s own power, competitiveness and incessant changes called liquidity have culminated, in the 21st century in the shout of wonder: Wow! Astonishment is intertwined here with fright, static cramp with dance, decline with genesis. The genesis of birth or demise of human civilisation is verbalised through a projection of individual evolutionary phases (Abstract, Holocene, GoldenAge, TheLegology, StupidityBoom, ProGnosis, ColorSlide, RedSpot, PornoGraffiti, CyberKlip, VirtualZoom, Decrescendo, Catharsis, Impromptu in Green).

Both performers remain virtually motionless in many parts of the production. They are thrown by the rupture of the storyline into an expansive movement. Those are creatures in the same stage of evolution with uncertain direction between birth and demise. The whisper of the narrator of Gindl’s poem (Braňo Mosný) creates an impression of mystery that is only designated to those chosen.

The projections by Alex Zelina at the background of the stage portrait images of space bodies and structures. They overlap and flow through dancers, as if the very bodies were merely something amorphous, translucent and indeterminate. As the performances proceed, the projection enters the space, becoming increasingly plastic, until it covers the physical presence of the performers. The artistic visual quality of individual scenes, the whisper and music resemble elements from the Brueghel paintings that gradually unveil individual layers of genesis of humankind. The entire composition of WOW!, faithful to the signature style of the Debris Company, extensively uses both musical and visual element combined with precise movements and exaggerated expression. At the same time, it gives the spectator an opportunity to immerse into the depth, to the core of the recorded existential issue.

The incessant immersions into the multiple layers of intellectual themes, opening the parallel flows of the story, precise and opulent visual element, focused dramaturgy and social-artistic provocation with post-modern quotations characterise the projects by the Vlčeková – Vlk team from the Debris Company. In terms of achieving artistic complexity, the long-lasting creative symbiosis within the choice of themes, stage adaptations all the way to their interpretation is a rare phenomenon on contemporary performative stage.

 

A list of original works:

1995 – Code: QUTNXZ84/4Y, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Monika Čertezni. Première: Bazén, Bratislava

1995 – Nobody Knows, Theater Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, assistant director: Martin Piterka, choreography: Martin Piterka, Jozef Vlk, Grazia Pergoletti. Première: Theater Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart

1995 – Beethovenhelikopter, Theater Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart, directed by: Jozef Vlk. Première: Theater Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart

1996 – Connecting Meaning to Movement, Flash/About taking a risk, directed by: Lloyd Newson, creative collaboration: Jozef Vlk. Première: UvA Summer Schooll, University of Amsterdam

1997 – Ode to filth, Theatre, La Fabriks Marseille, Dakar, Senegal, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jean Michel Bruyère, assistant director: Jozef Vlk. Première: Theatre, La Fabriks Marseille

1998 – Cosmidiot, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Monika Čertezni. Première: Umelka Gallery, Bratislava

2006 – Soliloquy, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Bratislava in Movement – International Festival of Contemporary Dance, Bratislava

2007 – Dolcissime siréne, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Daniel Raček, Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Chamber Studio of the Slovak Radio, Bratislava

2007 – Ortopoetikum, A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, Debris Company / Art and People!, concept and directed by: Maja Hriešik and Debris Company, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, Bratislava

2008 – Hexen, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Daniel Raček, Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Theatre elledanse, Bratislava

2008 – Be Bop, Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica

2010 – Between a rock and a hard place, Studio ALTA, ME-SA, Debris Company / Art and People!, concept and choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková, Jozef Vlk. Première: Theatre Studio ALTA, Prague

2010 – Mono, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Peter Jaško, Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Theatre elledanse, Bratislava

2011 – Private prisons, Debris Company / Art and People!, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková, Peter Jaško. Première: site specific, Bratislava

2012 – Jana Bodnárová: Cradles, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Theatre elledanse, Bratislava

2012 – Jozef Vlk a Peter Lomnický: Epic, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Theatre elledanse, Bratislava

2012 – Rose/3Ballet, Ballet Bratislava, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Theatre Nová scéna, Bratislava

2012 – Power Power dance, Divadelní Flora, Olomouc, Debris Company / Art and People!, VerTeDance, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková, Tereza Ondrová, Veronika Kotlíková, Anna Steller. Première: Divadelní Flora, Olomouc

2014 – The Tempest (Prospero, Caliban and The Lovers), Ballet SND, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Jaro Viňarský, Andrej Petrovič, Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Slovak National Theatre, Bratislava

2014 – Peter Lomnický: Clear, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Theatre elledanse, Bratislava

2015 – Roots, Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: Štúdio tanca dance theatre, Banská Bystrica

2017 – Eugen Gindl: WOW!, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, Bratislava

2017 – Peter Lomnický: The Kidnapping of Europe, Debris Company / Art and People!, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, Bratislava

2017 – Miracles, Theatre Pôtoň, Sláva Daubnerová, Honey and Dust, Debris Company / Art and People!. Première: Theatre Pôtoň, Bátovce

2019 – Peter Lomnický: Job, directed by: Jozef Vlk, choreography: Stanislava Vlčeková. Première: A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture, Bratislava

 

 

Videos from productions:

Soliloquy, 2006

Author of the trailer: Juraj Chlpík, Martin Piterka

archive of the Debris Company / Art and People!

 

EPIC, 2012

Author of the trailer: Juraj Chlpík, Martin Piterka

archive of the Debris Company / Art and People!

 

WOW!, 2017

Author of the trailer: Juraj Chlpík, Alex Zelina

archive of the Debris Company / Art and People!

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