CHOREA Theatre

Choreia, an organic unity of three elements: the rhythmical movement and gesture, the played or rhythmically beaten melody and the sung words, was born out of the collective experience of sacredness. (Edward Zwolski)

Choreia, the most important thing for us, derives from the Antiquity. The actual Greek spelling of the word is choreia, while chorea is its Latinised variant. Choreia was a principle of Greek theatre [...]. It is this principle that our association derives its name from – it defines all possible means of actor’s expression and gathers them into a single stream, one creative process. Means of expression, such as text, movement, singing, music, dance and gesture constitute one whole. This term, a keyword, defines what is most important for me in the theatre at the moment. I would like it to be a path and a way of thinking about theatre – modern, not ancient. (Tomasz Rodowicz)

Activity of CHOREA Theatre is a continuation of work started by two groups: ‘The Anctient Orchestra’ and ‘Dances of The Labirynth’. After three years of an intense, international activity CHOREA Theatre found its permanent residence in Lodz, and together with Lodz Art Center and the City of Lodz created in 2007 new cultural center – Factory of Art.
In the Factory CHOREA runs Theatre and Education Center, which organizes:

- series of cyclical theatre, music and dance workshops, focused on work with human body, voice and rhythm
- concerts
- theatre performances
- performative actions
- theatre festivals

At the beginnings of artistic activity CHOREA took inspiration from the ancient tradition. By researching sources of dance and music CHOREA artists explored the culture of Greek and Roman antiquity. Results of this research were confronted with new art forms and were recreated in innovative and dynamic performances in which tradition meets modern theatre and modern world. Currently CHOREA is concentrated on problem of the condition of modern man and taking inspiration from great, controversial artists, like Artaud, Wyspianski, Herbert, or Grotowski.

“CHOREA is a category borrowed from the history of ancient Greek theatre. It defines how three elements of expression – word, music and movement – function when practised by a single actor and a group of actors. The ancient theatre experience marked the beginning of our quest; now we are trying to avoid a fixation on it, and we are looking for other sources of inspiration. We do not attempt to make reconstructions, enclaves, or reproduce the aesthetic context which would allow for the fullest recreation of remote and contemporary traditions, but we reach for the source, a motive, a piece, and try to hit with it, bounce it off the factory walls, off a piece of metal sheet or crumbling bricks and concrete floor, in order to see and hear something within ourselves.

For us, chorea is a kind of a model, which we try to partly recreate and, in a way, overcome, thus building a new chorea. This is a search for our own way and place in this chaotic running up and down the bridge between the very remote and the very contemporary. Between the question: who should we be? and the question: who were the geniuses who were exiled and burned at the stakes for us, or ended up in mental hospitals? Then, Euripides, Aristophanes, Artaud, Kantor, Herbert or Grotowski ask us the same questions.

NEW CHOREA consists in the fact that, while respecting the principle of organic unity of singing, words and movement, we try to create a new quality in the theatre, by involving in our work contemporary literature, music and extreme movement which derives from dance techniques and experiments of radical trends in contemporary theatre, based on the sharp, dirty and violent movement that always involves lowering the centre of gravity and acting in very stretched scales of meaning in space. At the same time, there must be enough room for sound, rhythm and voice, spoken word and song. We use not only melody and singing, but all the organic sounds which people carry in themselves and are able to emit. We use both full texts and their fragments, sometimes even reduced to syllables and single sounds. The body in music and the body in motion creates a special intensity of actor’s presence – it authenticates the message.

NEW CHOREA is an attempt to find other means of communication, more demanding towards contemporary actors and spectators, because it touches upon the key problem of our culture – and thus also art and theatre – namely, self-identification, the ability to define who you are and where you are. It basically boils down to countless attempts to determine in many ways the basis for building your own identity and maintaining individual sensitivity in the face of apparent multiculturalism, virtualisation of the real world, a new, revolutionary change in the way of communication, data collection and processing. In the face of the creation, for the first time in history, of the global awareness and global memory of the human species.

Thanks to theatre, people don’t need to seek identity through the wall of the screen, through zero-one valuation, but can hear directly from another human the statement in which the same question will be rephrased in many ways: who are we, how do we operate, what for and for whom? Why are we the only species that slaughters itself, longing in the depths of the heart for the presence and love of god?” (Tomasz Rodowicz)

Tomasz Rodowicz – an actor, director, musician, educator, earlier also a historian of philosophy and beekeeper. Born in 1951 in Warsaw. Graduate of the Faculty of History of Philosophy at the Warsaw Theological Academy. Co-founder of Poland’s first social therapy centre for young drug addicts. He collaborated with Jerzy Grotowski in 1974-1979. Co-founder of the Centre for Theatre Practices “Gardzienice” and its member in 1977-2003. Co-founder of the Theatre Association Chorea and its leader since 2004. Artistic director of Art Factory in Łódź since 2007. Artistic director of the RETRO/PER/SPECTIVES CHOREA International Theatre Festival.

„Chorea’s team represent physical fitness on the verge of reality and magic, excellent quality of teamwork, great vocal training, both in the voice production or articulation, and clearness of singing. “

„From the first minutes one can feel the tension, which makes us believe that we are witnessing something exceptional.”

„..this unusual group in an unique way combines music, corporeality, storytelling and thought expression…”

David Adams, Western Mail

„…one of the most original and most interesting Polish groups searching for new means of expression…”

Ewa Obrębowska – Piasecka, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poznan