Cosmin Manolescu’s “Private Bodies” Premiers in New York
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Performative installation combining dance, video, and photography
Photo by Georgiana Vlahbei
Influential choreographer and cultural entrepreneur Cosmin Manolescu returns to New York for the American premiere of his newest project, "Private Bodies", a performative installation cleverly mixing dance, video and photography to create eerie, haunting effects. Visually striking and based on an original choreographic method, the hybrid show, performed by its author in duo with Cristina Lilienfeld, is a powerful affirmation of what can still make us happy in a life affected by pandemics and wars.
The performance will be followed by a round table "Moving Dialogue: over 25 years of Romanian-American choreographic collaboration" with the participation of New York-based choreographer Ursula Eagly, the 2022 recipient of the Gabriela Tudor residency program at the AREAL space in Bucharest.
"Private Bodies" premiered in November 2021 at Pavilion 32 of the Goethe-Institut in Bucharest as part of the "body.exe" project carried out by the Gabriela Tudor Foundation with the support of the National Cultural Fund Administration.
As the Belgian dance critic and theorist Guy Cools states in one of the texts, entitled "The Importance of the Energetic Body in the Time of Covid", that informs the performance, "the pandemic and the measures taken during it have revealed to me two important things. First, that movement and dance remain one of the healthiest antidotes to immobility and isolation, stimulating self-awareness and helping us stay connected, even if we are far from each other or only in virtual connections…Second, that our energy bodies have become even more meaningful and important, allowing us to scan and influence our own health, but also to do so with other bodies we come into contact with".
A performative installation by Cosmin Manolescu
Performers: Cristina Lilienfeld & Cosmin Manolescu
Video: Alina Ușurelu
Sound: Lala Mișosniky
Visuals: Georgiana Vlahbei
Texts by Guy Cools, Maximilian Haas, Beatrice Lăpădat from “The Body in Pandemic | Dance Essays” (e-publication, 2021)
Producer: Gabriela Tudor Foundation (2021)
About the artists:
Cristina Lilienfeld studied choreography and psychology, constantly looking for the point where the two disciplines meet. In recent years, she has collaborated with numerous choreographers and dancers, but also with visual artists and musicians and has been part of several interdisciplinary artistic groups. Shows that she choreographed – like "Lay(ers)", "Not All Are Heroes", "Deeds of Bravery", "Moving Fields", "Eighty Five Percent Of What You Remember", "See You Soon" – or in which she dances – like "Group Choreography" by Mihaela Alexandra Dancs, "In the Body" (chamber opera) by Diana Rotaru on a libretto by Ciprian Măceșaru, "Dancer In The Dark" directed by Levente Kocsardi, "A Truth, A Lie And A List Of Possibilities" by Andreea Novac, "Alienation or the Desire for Intimacy" by Benno Voorham to name just a few – are still presented in Romania and abroad. In 2016, she was part of the Dance Roads program through which she presented "Lay(ers)" in five European countries. She has collaborated with choreographers Cosmin Manolescu, Alexandra Bălășoiu, Valentina de Piante, Mihaela Alexandra Dancs, Mădălina Dan, Andreea Novac, Benno Voorham, Smaranda Găbudeanu, Virginia Negru; with visual artists Dilmana Yordanova, Mihaela Kavdanska, Alina Usurelu; with musicians Diana Rotaru, Irinel Anghel, Anca Elena KamerArt, LeVant, the Fierbințeanu Band; with writers Răzvan Țupa and Adela Dragomir; as well as with many actors and directors. From 2015 to 2020, she was part of the PETEC Association, supporting various interdisciplinary productions. In 2020, she became a founding member of AREAL | space for choreographic development, where she currently works.
Cosmin Manolescu is a choreographer, curator, cultural entrepreneur and experience designer. He is the Executive Director of The Gabriela Tudor Foundation and, since 2020, the initiator, co-founding member and co-director of the AREAL | collective space for choreographic development. Since 1997, he has played an important role in the development of contemporary dance in Romania and in the creation of the Bucharest National Dance Center (2004). He made his debut as a choreographer in 1994 within the Marginalii Group. His shows and projects have been successfully presented in Bucharest, New York, Paris, Lyon, Rome, Dublin, Porto, Amsterdam, Beirut, Riga, Seattle, and Lisbon. His transatlantic connections are wide. In 2002, as a CEC ArtsLink scholarship holder, he visited Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco and New York with the aim to develop American-Romanian collaborative projects. Upon returning to Romania, in 2003, he organized the second edition of the BucurESTI.VEST International Festival, which focused on North American dance and featured American choreographers Allyson Green, Amanda Loulaki, Homer Avilla along with John Jasperse Company of New York. In 2005, he collaborated with choreographer Allyson Green and visual artist Peter Terezakis to create the performative installation "Hearts Beats Light" in Bucharest and Constanța on the shores of the Black Sea. Between 2000-2017, he was a member of the Suitcase Fund/Dance Theater Workshop network and later of the Global Practice Sharing/Movements Research network and carried out a program of residencies and scholarships for Romanian and American artists and cultural managers as well as a series of shows in New York, San Diego, Seattle, and Portland. In April 2022, he offered a residency at AREAL to the New York choreographer Ursula Eagly and in August 2022 he participated in the residency IIAC – International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium, organized by Peter Sciscioli in New York and Tremper.
Manolescu deeply believes that contemporary dance is an art form that can positively change people's lives, regardless of age, identity or professional background. Since 2014, he has begun to develop his own method – called “the emotional body”-, which is a holistic approach to the body that includes touch, yoga exercises, and subtle sensory movements that he has used in his performances and has taught at home and abroad. Since 2017, he has organized annual emotional trips and dance retreats in India, Japan, Portugal and Greece. He is currently interested in experimental projects that connect the body with the city, landscape, and nature.
Ursula Eagly is a dance artist who has been based in New York City for over 20 years. Her works are characterized by a "rabbit-hole logic" (New York Times), and her research focuses on physical experiences that are not conventionally regarded as material for choreography: the autonomic, the psychosocial, and the perceptual. A multi-faceted member of the NYC dance scene, Ursula is also active as a performer and a writer and is currently on staff at Movement Research.