道德 Tao Te

Photo credit: Zsolt Puskel

Ferenc Fehér (Hungary)

26 – 27 January 2013, 8pm
Esplanade Theatre Studio
(40 minutes with no intermission)

$30 | $19

www.ferencfeher.hu
Biography of Ferenc Fehér

(Fringe Highlight • Asian Premiere)

Therefore the beings:
some go ahead, some go after,
some sigh, some brag,
some vigorous, some worn out,
some climb, some crash.

- Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching

I left a previous state not in order to replace it with another one but because the previous one was also a lodging along the way. The enduring in thinking is the way. And in the ways of thinking lies the secret that they can be walked both forwards and backwards, and, what is more, you can really advance only by the way which leads backwards.

- Martin Heidegger,
On the Way to Language

道德 Tao Te borrows its title from Tao Te Ching – The Path of Virtue, the famous work of the legendary Chinese sage Lao-Tzu. Tao refers to the path, the way, the universal law, and Te to virtue – the power through which Tao manifests itself. The task is to maintain harmony, and this philosophy is explored and expounded on through Ferenc Fehér's duet for male dancers.

The tension between our search for a virtuous and meaningful life as well as the subsequent failure of this quest is palpable in Fehér's choreography. We are presented with an intense physical dance between two men with different characters and attitudes. Are they friends, brothers or strangers? Their personalities evolve through a series of situations, conflicts, inner struggles and failures. They change and develop, just as the path changes as you go on your way. Can they find the desired harmony in the end?

[道德 Tao Te presents] that which is said or unsaid, a kind of story or moral lesson can be seen on the stage, or at least a piece of referential reality occurs, and each scenic action can be experienced without explanation by grasping it.

- Tanckritika (Dance Critics)

... an endless duel between the two dancers, who seem as if they were living in symbiosis, as if they would not even exist without a partner/adversary. Their struggles are, on the one hand, playfully stylized, as if they were merely the figures of a computer game or of a marionette theatre, and other times, as if they would appear as the heroes of an absurd comedy, or rather, a strange burlesque.

- Kultura (Culture Hungary)

Relationship to Art & Entertainment

What makes a piece of art entertaining? It is entertainment if it is fun, enjoyable, amusing or playful. 道德 Tao Te incorporates all the above, although the title and theme sounds a little serious and philosophical. As the piece has several layers, it works on different levels through its strong physicality through our bodies, as well as through more abstract ways via its intrinsic spiritual and moral qualities. 道德 Tao Te has a special dance language with a unique movement vocabulary that is easily understood and enjoyed. Humour, and in particular humour expressed by movement, is said to be a universal language, and that plays an essential role in this piece. The story draws the audience in, and through the various scenarios that unfold in the performance – from everyday situations to more abstract scenes – we can smile at or with the two characters or just sit back and enjoy the situations presented.