Première: 08th October 2020
Korzo Theatre (NL)
Created and performed by Samir Calixto
Light Design: Pavla Beranovà
Assistant to the Choreographer: Quentin Roger
Music by G. I. Gurdjieff & T. de Hartmann
Played by Alain Kremski
SEEKER※SOLO is a co-production of Korzo Producties & Scenario Pubblico (IT)
Supported by Gemeente Den Haag, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
SEEKER※SOLO is one of the most intimate and personal works of Samir Calixto to date. In this solo, which is also his farewell to Korzo as his home base after ten years, he dances this journey himself. In this piece, he embodies an endeavor pursued by many: the quest for truth as an antidote against the false sense of reality reconstructed by mankind. Here he takes the music of George I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann as the heart of the performance. With these often meditative compositions - which originate from Eastern melodies heard in monasteries in the Middle East and Central Asia - he conjugates the vision where scientific limits and ancient knowledge are touched by spirituality. While drinking from this inspiration, SEEKER※SOLO will tackle the core of Calixto’s work: a look upon human beings as part of a larger scheme, and as beings that through will and watchfulness are capable of realizing their full potential, searching through the ways of the body to achieve deeper knowledge. Joined by visual artist/light designer Pavla Beranovà and assistant Quentin Roger, SEEKER※SOLO is a work with strong visual, emotional and sensorial layers. A solo of profundity and simplicity in which movements are the pathway to the most essential in ourselves.
FROM THE PRESS;
'Samir Calixto transcends the cliché of an esoteric search'
Calixto manages to lure us into his inner space and transcend the spiritual cliché of an esoteric quest. With fluttering hands, trembling fingers and wavy arms he sets air in motion. At first he holds his hands close to him, but slowly they wriggle upwards, along his black curls. To the light, beautifully dosed by lighting designer Pavla Beranová. (...) Calixto also transforms along with it. Through the earthly energy of his muscular body Calixto keeps in touch with us mortals in a theatre. - De Volkskrant
'An elegant act of rebellion'
Calixto is committed, he dives into each exercise calmly, taking the time to transition from one state to the next. His searching in every quality is actual, present, and enticing. (...)The density of his presence is enhanced by Pavla Beranovà’s light design (...) in that dark landscape, combined with a clever use of theatrical smoke, Calixto’s hoped-for sense of initiatic ritual is beautifully achieved. Everything seems ancient in the quasi-dark. (...) It all bathes into – or stems from – the equally simple yet utterly powerful modernist piano compositions by T. de Hartmann. (...) In the negative space between the notes, we are allowed to revel in resonance. Just as the breathing is paramount to the texture and quality of Calixto’s movement. Just as the light seems to come only from the acceptance and the embracing of the dark. - Movement Exposed
Or ‘The War Against Sleep’
Program text by Samir Calixto
Every new creative process is, in itself, some kind of a journey. Some journeys are intense, some others milder, and yet travelling between two points, literally or metaphorically, always proves to be an enriching experience for all people involved.
The journey of this new piece is a conglomeration of multiple journeys. The first one, and possibly the most obvious, is the artistic journey. After over a decade choreographing professionally, it became inevitable to wonder what is there to say that reflects the essence and content of my work. For the past years the question on how to keep nourishing the idea of focusing on humans and their relationship to a larger scheme has always been present in my creations. Nevertheless, negotiating this rather anachronic vision and the current trends in the arts has not been easy, thanks to the way creative works are currently instrumentalized as if their existence needed to be justified by any direct social or economic value. Of course, those are relevant aspects to most contemporary artistic works. However, I see them as adjacent values, firmly believing that the human value is what remains in its centre, followed by the rest. Living in times when the development of things seem far more important than the development of people, I have consciously refused to embrace such utilitarian, and therefore reductive, vision of things.
That is where my artistic journey leads to a personal one. Questioning these ideas have led me to reassess my position in society and, most importantly, to look honestly into my inner and outer life. It has been reassuring to realize that through every single work I have done there has always been an alignment to my deepest quests as a human, and that this has permeated every relation with the outside world. It has been revealing to see that, since I can remember, I have always been some sort of a seeker. That is reflected in my eager interest in multiple teachings, philosophies and traditions, with very little interest left for whatever is transitory or fashionable. In practice, the challenges on my artistic path only fuelled that quest even further, making me wish to be more and more aware of the integrity and constructive content of what I share with others. It has become crystal clear the necessity to keep myself alert and declare war against the sleepiness we all fall in our ordinary lives, in our personal and professional dealings, often distracted by all sorts of conflicts around us while battling with our ever-shifting wishes and desires. These realizations define the genesis of SEEKER※SOLO.
Traditionally, the figure of the seeker is that of a person who searches incessantly for answers, someone who understands the necessity to ‘die’ so a kind of rebirth can take place. Such idea of metamorphosis is old, but yet so alien to our contemporary mindset. Possibly because it demands from us a tremendous amount of voluntary struggle and uncertainty - everything that our society, so focused on comfort, a false sense of security and permanence, avoids at any costs. A seeker isn’t necessarily a saintly figure, a superior being, detached from worldly things, but often a frail, inquiring human who is conscious of his condition, his dualities and therefore ready to risk a lot guided by those inescapable questions about life. Bearing this in mind, this piece is about looking mercilessly at the midnight of one’s soul, and a human being’s conscious efforts to evolve, to grow, and to seek for truth.
Discovering the music of George I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann, as well as the ideas behind it, was an essential stepping stone into the creation of this work. Composed under very special circumstances and carrying an apparent simplicity, it dialogues with something very ancient. It is fruit of genuine seeking, made to hit spots which lie dormant in us. These compositions are like echoes from distant times and places and therefore a link to access what is most immutable in our human condition. To tackle them now feels incredibly timely, because more than ever we are called to distinguish what is relevant from what is not, to understand what is our place and responsibility in all the events surrounding us. In this perspective, seeking equals the road to understanding.
To all of you in the audience tonight: thank you for choosing to be here in times when leaving home seems like an adventure in itself, and for supporting our good old form of human encounter - despite the tempting allure of booming online entertainment. I hope you can see at least a small reflection of your own paths in this small hour. Conceived much before the current pandemic - and yet mysteriously synchronized to the challenges it brings - it speaks about all of us, our universal quests and our striving to become beings worthy of our own nature.
Wishing us all a good journey.
Special lines of gratitude:
This new work marks a very special momentum, the closure of a beautiful cycle: the end of a ten years collaboration with Korzo, a place that has been my artistic nest, launching platform and creative home. Here I was nourished by many who passed by or who still genuinely give their zest to it. It is thanks to these years and these people that I can now leave as a man and an artist with some clarity of vision. I am carrying with me the spirit of the very first squatters of this house... the essence of those non-conformists who managed until very recently to swim against the tide and safeguard the space for art as something holding its own values.
My gratitude to all those tenacious people in the house, in special to my two ‘godfathers’: Leo Spreksel and Stacz Wilhelm. Thanks for going through the roses and the rocky patches together, and for always doing the good work in spite of the odd tides.
To my ‘famiglia’ at Scenario Pubblico (IT): Roberto Zappalà, Maria Inguscio and everyone, for the unconditional support even in such challenging times.
Also to my newly found family: Amiyo Devienne, Chetan Greenberg, and all the other seekers whose love and light have been so nourishing throughout this process.
To the late Alain Kremski, special soul whose music will follow me every night, and his brother Laurent Petitgirard for kindly allowing us to create on his music.
My immense gratitude to my two other halves in this journey: Pavla Beranovà and Quentin Roger. Without our incredibly intensive exchange of love, creativity - and sometimes our mighty disagreements - this search would have been entirely different... together we pushed each other to look at everything with an enhanced sense of humanity and honesty.
Last but not least: thanks to every spirit - living or not - that has guided me until here. And to all seekers who keep the flame burning.