AREAL is a creative choreography space open to all dance lovers, in an unconventional space in the heart of Bucharest
AREAL is a creative choreography space open to all dance lovers, in an unconventional space in the heart of Bucharest. It has recently become the 46th official member of the European Dance Network. We spoke with one of the choreographers who leads it, Cosmin Manolescu, about AREAL and another intriguing workshop in early June:
“The AREAL workshop, a place for choreography development, is a form of meeting, dialog, and a space for creativity, it is about dreaming, about contemporary dance, because my workshops are atypical. The AREAL space is a new space in Bucharest, led by four choreographers, myself, Cristina Lilenfeld, Alexandra Bălăşoiu şi Valentina De Pliante, who also hold dance workshops in various formats. They follow a contemporary dance retreat in the Greek islands, in Gavdos and Crete, and in early August we will dance in Techirghiol and at the Black Sea.”
We asked Cosmin Manolescu what is challenging about this workshop:
“First of all I think that the themes proposed by the participants are challenging, I think we need to move and experience emotions in various formats, I think it is important to get out of the state in which the pandemic has put us, a languishing state, staying alone at home, far from people, from cultural activities. I think that this format, in addition to putting us in touch with emotions, with our body, as a form of working with yourself, gets us in touch with people, awakens our bodies and souls.”
In this workshop, the participants talked about trauma and the effect on the body, about dreaming, they explored, dancing in a circle, movements with their eyes closed. Sometimes they danced at sunrise in the middle of town, to the delight, amazement, and even dismay of passers by.
We asked Cosmin Manolescu who takes part in his special workshops:
“It is a variety of people, from culture journalists to former students, to people who have their first encounter with contemporary dance, and this is what I like the most, when new people discover a new universe, which I think is really free and creative. In essence, they are beautiful and free people in search of themselves.”
We also asked a basic question: What is, in fact, contemporary dance?
“This is a question that we keep asking, what contemporary dance is. For me, contemporary dance is a form of freedom, a form of courage, of taking on things for yourself, to meet yourself, with your body and emotions, of opening up to people, to the city, and to nature. These are the elements that I have been working with for a while now. I think that contemporary dance changes our lives for the better, brings people closer, and makes us better, at least a little.”
We invited Cosmin Manolescu to answer a question he wishes we had asked him, but didn't:
“For instance, there is a question I have: why is contemporary dance not developing? There are some factors, some objective, others subjective. First of all, dance is seen everywhere as a Cinderella, although as far as I'm concerned, it is an art that develops the soul, the mind, and the body. It is a complex art, that uses the body above all, and I think that if we danced more from childhood to adulthood, if it would be an optional class in school, we would all have to gain.”
One thing we noticed is that the workshops are mostly attended by women, so we asked Cosmin Manolescu what he thinks about too few men attending his workshops:
“I have been asking myself that a lot. I think that men are not attracted by this fragile, special, and emotional discipline. They generally prefer sports, which is their way of putting themselves on display, to build up muscles, to train their physique. I think it boils down to education, the education system does not favor this art when it comes to boys, and I think that many men got to my class only because they were pushed by their wives or partners. I think that if there was more education about it, it would show up more often on TV screens, we would talk more about it, and contemporary dance would have more success with men. I have to say I am glad that ballroom dancing is attracting more men of late, we see more opening towards certain styles of dancing, which is about putting in time and work, and I hope that soon we would see equal numbers of men and women in my contemporary dance workshops.”
AREAL continues to hold courses in their own workshop or outdoors, conducted by Valentina De Piante Niculae, Alexandra Bălăşoiu, and Cristina Lilienfeld. (CC)