Cycles: Choreographer Eva Kolarova On Balancing Dance and Art

Czech dancer and choreographer Eva Kolarova arrived in Montreal three years ago via Switzerland, Munich, and France. I had the opportunity to talk to the innovative dancer about her new work, Cycles, created collaboratively with composer Reiko Yamada, cellist Juan Sebastian Delgado, film director Luciana Marcos, and cinematographer Derek Branscombe for the Festival Quartiers Danses.


Nancy Berman (NB): How did the opportunity arise to work with Reiko, Juan, Luciana and Derek?

Eva Kolarova (EK): I moved to Montreal because I was offered a contract by the Grands Ballets Canadiens, but I had already done a lot of choreography in France. I started preparing and presenting my own works here in 2012 and they received good feedback. I worked with Luciana last year when she asked me to dance in her movie. We became friends and coworkers and we share the same ideas; we’re both interested in showing projection and dance together. The composer Reiko Yamada saw my show in 2012 at Théâtre La Chappelle, contacted me afterward, and offered to work with me.


NB: What was the collaborative experience like? How did the process work — did Reiko write the music first, or did you have certain movements in mind that you showed to Reiko before she started composing?

EK: It was very different to have someone composing music for your ideas. Usually we work with music that is already composed. Sometimes I had to modify my movements to fit the music and vice versa. It was a two-way process. Similarly with the film projection — if it’s too powerful it can overshadow the dance, so the balance is important.


NB: What do you mean by “Dance is a balancing act between perfection and beauty?”

EK: What’s most important for me is to acknowledge that when we dance it’s a moment, a unique experience. There is no before or after. Dance isn’t necessarily beautiful movement, but it is always aesthetic. You have to take risks, but you have to know the balance between taking a risk, and falling. It’s a tiny line.


NB: Tell me about the influence of Jiri Kylián and Maurice Béjart, two of your mentors.

EK: When I left my country at age 14 I first went to study with Béjart, one of the most important 20th-century choreographers. He changed the way classical ballet looked, and brought the neoclassic style to the stage. His vision encompassed not only dance, but other aspects of dramatic thinking as well, including singing, drums, and indian dance and other styles. He really opened my eyes. Studying with Béjart made me realize I could do more than classical ballet.

Jiri Kylián was my big idol. He is from the same city and school as me, and is one of the best choreographers of 20th century. He manages to balance narrative and emotion. The musicality is the greatest thing in his work.


NB: Tell me about your latest work, Cycles.

EK: The idea came from the principle of cycles in nature: the life of a human being, nature, the seasons — always cycles. The idea of transforming the notion of cycles into dance fascinated me. I wanted to tell the story of a human being who is born, finds his identity, falls in love, dies or transforms. The projection represents nature. The music represents the power of the universe, which never ends. These are the three elements I’m trying to bring together.

Cycles is being performed Sept 13 as part of the Quartiers Danses festival at Theatre Le Gesù (1202 Bleury). 9:30 p.m. $23/18. You can support Eva in bringing Cycles to the stage by joining the Indiegogo campaign HERE.