Oren Lazovski Interview
Deutsche Oper Restaurant
Can you describe the work we’ve done in the last two days?
As a musician you train you train your muscles in a specific way, especially as a wind instrumentalist you are trained to breath in a certain way, to squeeze your lips in a certain way so you are able to produce a sound. As a dancer we are learning, and I’m sure you know from your dance studies also, about expanding your natural abilities beyond what is common in daily life. So it’s a matter of perception, when you play music you do something that is unnatural and when you dance with technique you also do something unnatural, and we are making it natural. We take it in the body and we realise the moment that you did it once you can also do it again so it doesn’t make a difference anymore. I think the right term is muscle memory. And this is how we dancers learn stuff. We repeat stuff and we develop of course a visualisation of space. This is the difference as when you have a sheet of paper or music and you look at it, the space, the musical space, is written down to you and you have to observe each other and be very attentive to each other with our eyes and other senses to feel energy field in a way and then we are able to execute the task we are given. At the end of the day it’s just the same thing its just a matter of like a Rubik’s cube, you just have to make a click. It’s still the same cube but the colours are different. It’s still energy, it’s still music and dance. One is sound waves one is light waves. We just change their place. So in the moment we are perceiving this idea it’s much easier also to execute this vision differently. This is the way I experience it because for me it is very natural to play music but it it’s also very natural to dance. -------- So the moment you are learning the basic, you do need to have a structure. This is for sure I think you also shows you that’s why I deal so much with the frame. I tell you keep a frame, keep a reference point, keep a musical reference point, you can always go back to it. When you can go back to it you can go away from it, you can break it. That’s the way it works. So first you definitely need a parallel studies of education I mean in a way it’s also it’s possible but it’s also got to do with the of course life consequences.
Why did you decide to combine your dance and music simultaneously as a performer?
For me I as I said I start to play accordion it was really my first love, I was always dancing as a kid, it was very natural for me but I always wanted to play the accordion. I saw it in kindergarten and was like gasps that was the thing for me. So then the reason I stopped studying music I felt I don’t express myself enough. I felt this like here the breath is stopping and because accordion sits here I have these extra lungs here I felt this is it, it doesn’t go further. And that’s why my emotion I wanted to be over myself (extend further than myself?) and for the music I felt too limited, I had to sit, I had to practice I had to be very concentrated but my mind would always go away and I had this energy, so this is how I started to dance actually. And I was also doing [both] parallel until I was 16 I was already studying dance and music but when you start to realise that ok, one point you maybe want to do something more serious with it you need to make a serious choice. So I think to find people who do the same, you can train people like this but it also needs to be a conscious choice and it’s not for everybody. But this is exactly what’s beautiful about it because we are offering here a new niche, or a niche that has not been discovered yet, or still not explored yet. And that’s what I see here. We talk a lot about fusion in general in the arts today is the big word for years. But to go deeper into the fusion like in this case we talk very specifically about a personal story. We first have to go first of all to your self. If you understand yourself you understand the world. And you can reflect on what’s happening around you – that’s the way I perceive it. So my story I had a crisis with dance. I felt I wasn’t happy with dance anymore and didn’t feel fulfilled and was missing music. I was always playing at home for myself but I didn’t perform music anymore. And I looked for a way. I did not trust myself to just start making music so I made a dance with accordion, a solo, which I used the accordion as a breathing device, or set of lungs, and that’s the way to develop. From this I had all these clicks, I could draw this conclusion. I was also observing musicians, I love to observe orchestras to see what’s happening with the people while they’re playing. Also while sitting, what does it do to you?
Can you describe what happens for you when you are playing your instrument and dancing at the same time? And how does that compare to when you do them separately?
For me it’s a different awareness. A different level of awareness. When I only dance I get an adrenaline rush, a bit like making love, it’s a whole body function, and when you’ve done that you disappear in the moment you forget who you are.
- Manon interjects: You forget who you are but you never forget who you are if you hold your instrument.
Exactly, it’s a different awareness. And when I play music I usually enjoy the specific sounds that I make I will enjoy a specific feeling that I know I create I maybe enjoy more the action not so much the flow of it. It’s different.
When I do both then I’m of course busy carrying it but at the same time there’s a very strong emotional connection because psychologically I’m carrying it with me so it’s part of my body so you have more of a responsibility, a responsible awareness, so it’s not so much like falling in love with yourself – like when you dance. When you play it’s a bit more brain [function]. You are still, like you said yesterday, Device, it’s a device. You’re still working with a machine. So find a way find the golden ratio between the two it’s interesting. So its different awareness. Neither her nor there.
Ross: For me it’s more like a dance, my music becomes a dance in a way. As we said about muscle memory, there’s a whole physicality of playing. There’s a quote
So when you do both it is as you say about awareness and using your entire body and deciding how you want to use that.
Oren: The difference is though that you have two sides of the brain working at the same time. Danga? Really work coz the music in the end is a mathematical thing. Really it’s a form of mathematics, of energy that we are putting into these frames, and when you dance it’s more of an instinctive feeling. So of course we try when we try to dance more -I don’t want to say professionally - more aware, then of course we are dealing with frame. The idea is of course to diffuse the frame into the body and that’s what dancers do. We are trained in this way that the dance looks natural. Although it’s sort of not natural. Like classical ballet for example. The great ballerinas look like they’re flying because actually we are imitating animals from nature. If you think about it in ballet they do these jumps and then you see why we stretch the feet – because aerodynamically it’s better to cover more space. You know the birds have a beak that’s slim and cutting the [air] quicker. So we’re imitating nature in this way. And the moment we’re reaching this ability to put inside the body, the enjoyment is much bigger. You become more than the normal person that you are, you’re not just a ballerina you’re open you’re whole body in a different direction. Musicians do it but it’s more this brain satisfaction. And putting it together is a challenge. Right like really assimilating, that’s the word we’re looking for, assimilating the instrument into the body. Like Friederika did it very well rolling with the flute [on the floor], it really became a part of her body, it was very vivid, very strong, you know, you also think how you had to adapt your breathing into the flute, it was very exciting to see.
Do you think there’s a sound, specific approach or method for combining the two art forms?
A we did in the workshop, you need to take something that is complex and take it apart and take it in small portions. We started with first of all
Understanding the body, understanding the qualities of movement and how to work with the body (awareness)
The next step we did was to build a phrase and then to understand how our education as musicians already gives us the frames and forms that are there already (musical language)
The next step we did afterwards was to break it, try to make the opposite, first we did legato then staccato, then we did static and then moved in space – see you build it step by step. (musical language)
The next thing was how you approach the instrument, we have to deal with first the weight, the shape of it, the placement of it in space (instrumental awareness)
after we got this done, we start to be more courageous, take more risks, move with it more, roll on the floor, change dimensions, get inside of it, again, step by step. (take risks)
Afterwards the next step was of course when you really try and to add more movement so again we’re trying to take one step forward we already established how we move and play, but now how we’re deepening into the movement (go deeper)
The next step actually if we had another week would be work in couples, [with those] limitations, and you can just build and build and build and from that you create images and from the images you create is a story (pair work and group work)
I think the way to approach it is again is first of all to understand what is required in order to make each task and then to have the clarity of it and the complexities to put it together so it’s like in layers. You don’t just take and you start, ‘cause then it doesn’t make sense. You don’t just start on the piano playing a piece of Chopin because it doesn’t make sense. To make some kind of sense you have to read first. You have to read first the notes you first need to know the movement so you need to build again the structure and then you can deconstruct. And then you can put it away and then you can walk away and then you can start from the beginning. Or from zero or from totally different direction.
Do you use musical language as a way of communicating form?
For me when I work with musicians definitely. Because I cannot speak with you in the language of ballet for example. I would not choose terms with which you’re not familiar. So of course when dealing with musicians. I mean it’s about just direction that’s it. You just need to find direction and still to find the right words that. So if you want to direct dancers you would not use “accelerando” because most of them would not know what that means. But you can tell them faster, slower, gently. So in music we have very specific terms that are talking about dynamics or volume [etc.], and with dancers it can be either very dry but it can also be very personal – you give images. For example you would say “what’s the story behind her I go from here to there because someone is waiting for me there
Ross: so purpose
Purpose, exactly, so we have to find a purpose
Do you think it is possible for you to perform the accordion to the best of your ability and to dance at the best of your ability at the same time?
What is the purpose behind it? Am I trying to impress someone or do I have a message behind it. If I’m going to flip with the accordion, what does it give. That’s what we talked about before, the effect, whether it’s poetic or deeper. If I crawl on the floor for example with my instrument on my chest, it’s already arousing so many questions, why is he on the floor? Why did he make this decision? And of course you’re curious to see what happens next. If I just do something very virtuosic or impressive then you ask yourself, why? What would be the purpose of it? What is the intention?
I don’t mean virtuosic on both accounts by any means, I’m more asking about a high level of quality.
This I think it is possible to reach a very high level of quality and I think today we saw it also. We could continue and work and really refine the elements and to see how much more there is to discover there. I could have worked with all of you for example on just how to walk. How to approach the instrument. Only those few steps into the space can have so much meaning. Only the way that you bring in this instrument to your mouth. It could be abruptly, it could be quickly or slowly. So when we talk about quality there’s a range of possibilities and again finding the purpose behind it.
Have you ever worked with dancers that also play an instrument, or have some kind of musical training?
Besides me, no.
Have you considered it at all?
I work with dancer who’s also a drummer, but in my show specifically she didn’t do it. But I am looking for this kind of collaboration to see how far it can go. Until now I only did solos, I did big pieces. One but it was really short. That’s the next project – to find people who are really… and then we take it on
Was it a conscious decision to only work with musicians?
It was because of my crisis with dance when I was not very happy, and I was looking to go back to music, I by coincidence got to know a lot of musicians. It was really pure coincidence that I was working with a drummer, recently I took it to Chalet in the summer, in the club, I used to in berlin three summers ago. Kind of events it’s called the Achmistic? Cabaret and it was kind of open jazz stuff, open. And then I had an opportunity to work with the drummer I thought maybe because he knew I already do my solo and I thought that maybe he’d want to try. And then I realised this is a whole different field which is still not touched. You know musicians that dance. But we talk about more move artistically. I saw some stuff on TV and I was like that’s not it, I’ve got a better idea. I saw once with a whole orchestra with a violin hanging but everything was so slow motion and so you saw they were not directed correctly. And I think with the right direction you can do very much. You can reach very far. It was a conscious decision in the fact that I find that there’s inflation of choreographers today that deal with the body and since I have this strong attraction to music and playing music myself it was a natural choice for me.
Where do you see this ‘Integrated Instrument’ work heading?
I would like to come to the moment when I can really engage more people, I have some visions I would like to realise. Actually I have a vision for a work with the piano and dancers, again I would like to work with the pianist that is able to move, like really dance, and integrate it with 10 dancers to make something like a breathing piano so you don’t know because you know the piano is itself is a huge monster. For example it’s a refuge island. Actually I work first with a pianist and he was amazing Icelandic guy I did for him a solo as a jazz pianist. And then he left so I did the solo I performed it once myself. So I always find this is the kind of work I’d like to do. To make with the violinist, like the sword (saw?) and like I have all kind of vision I would like to develop and one day it will become a bigger thing. We go from here but still it’s a process because what I’m happy to see is what it does when you have to open, then open mind, also if you’re not the best dancer for that you still can achieve a lot like ____ yesterday it was really like surprising, I didn’t expect. And also the last workshop the guys that we had like ____ was amazing. So just with the right openness and you know when you don’t make it a limiting thing you know I remember the first day they said “yeah but I cannot dance” and it’s not about dancing it’s a playground.
Ross: yeah it’s a new art form we’re discovering
It’s a playground we are trying to see where it goes. We don’t know what will happen. But then most of the people it’s about actually the bottom line about everything is trust. If you are trusting yourself and trusting your body.