CHOREA Theatre Association was founded in 2004 in Lublin, as a result of collaboration between two groups of performers. First group – The Ancient Orchestra – was developing musical and rhythmical work. Second group – Dances of the Labyrinth – was experimenting on movement and dance. Since 2004, before they found their residence in Lodz in 2007, they have been working in several locations. The company was first based in Naleczow, Srebrna Gora and Warsaw. Since 2007 they established a permanent base in Lodz, co-founding with Lodz Art Centre a cultural institution named The Art Factory and they own an amazing industrial theatre spaces (for rehearsals, performances and workshops) situated in the 19th Century factories. During 10 years of activity CHOREA Theatre Association fully developed its educational and artistic work. CHOREA artists organized many international workshop sessions, international artistic projects, international theatre festivals, and created more then 30 theatre performances and concerts. CHOREA colaborates with artists from all over the world: USA, Great Britain, Israel, Spain, India, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Syria, Japan, Russia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, etc.
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 practiced 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, virtualization 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?
Artistic Director of CHOREA Theatre