Peter Copek (Photo: fragment from promotional material)
CAIRO – 12 August 2017: Amid all the ambitious summer activities came an inspiring extensive contemporary dance workshop, led by Hungarian contemporary artist Péter Copek. The workshop ran between August 7 and August 9 at the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), and featured the modern techniques of contemporary art.
The class featured a blend of improvisation and technical training depicting diversity in production, according to the workshop’s official event page.
“The idea behind the workshop is to introduce new color to trainees and push their limits through given challenges that will tackle both mind and body together with the blend of sensitivity and music which will later help them break all the barriers and try to understand the art they’re producing,” Copek told Egypt Today.
He explained that when contemporary dancers are challenged they tend to learn the notion of mixing physical, emotional, and mind gestures into one production, surpassing their limits and creating a more diverse outcome with a strong sense of narrative.
The three-day workshop featured objectives that exceeded some of the participants’ expectations, such as 24-year old Leila who is a yoga teacher/product designer inspired by the distinction of contemporary dance.
“I am expecting to learn something different that my body would be comfortable practicing, and for some time I was bored of yoga, therefore I wanted to try something different which is contemporary dance as it is, blended with music; relaxing, and inspiring,” Leila told Egypt Today.
She explained that she loves contemporary dance as it makes one feel free and there are a lot of movements that can be made. “There are some common aspects between contemporary dance and yoga including balance and moving certain parts of your body,” she added.
The workshop comes in parallel to CCDC’s mission in merging contemporary art to Egyptian culture through an array of activities.
“This type of art is something you can nurture from while feeding from your surroundings; the idea here is not to import a contemporary scene from abroad but rather to build a contemporary artistic scene in Egypt that would be inspired by Egyptian tradition and history, creating something in the end that is authentically Egyptian,” Nicolas Gilles, Marketing and Communication Officer at CCDC, told Egypt Today.
Pursuing his dance career since he was 12 years old, Copek participated in international festivals and received a BA of Dance at Codarts, Rotterdam Dance Academy and also studied at Artez Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Arnhem where he learned several techniques such as contemporary jazz dancing, he explained.
Inspired by dance pieces composed by Hungarian artists, Copek also adapted the classical traditional old dances where he learned that he should connect with both his soul and body together, mentioning that “many dancers tend to only use their bodies”.
“I pursued many studies and met many choreographers where it was a wonderful chance to start my own taste and flavors,” he noted.
Copek further added that his love for contemporary dance comes in his nature since he was a little boy, stating that as he was growing he sought to express several things that can be enhanced through modern contemporary dance field.
“When I was younger, I saw classical ballet and comprehended that you have to adapt a certain character and trait to carry out this form of classical art unlike modern dancing which grants you more freedom to create your own style by merging your mind and body together,” said Copek.
He pointed out that Egyptian contemporary dancers stand a chance of developing a great artists output despite the limited ceiling of expression provided in the country.
“I performances last year from promising Egyptian contemporary dancers who, despite the low budget and the inadequate space they were given, they have carried out a beautiful effort and exhibited a great spirit which motivated me to teach in CCDC,” Copek stated.
He also added that integrated contemporary dance into Egyptian culture requires opening up to new ideas and being inspired by existing Egyptian art work and small movement gestures to unleash new colors.
Copek sees that the young Egyptian rising contemporary artists are aspiring to change for being characterized by a strong liberal leading mind that will be able to express new ideas some day on Egyptian grounds.
Amid Contemporary dance being perceived as a complex notion, Copek explains that this type of art is tricky sometimes because it is very individual and independent, saying that “it features twists and flavors that you will receive only by opening up your mind and heart in order to be able to understand this type of art as some artists tend to make it even more mysterious and subjective than it already is”.
As he sees potential for the contemporary dance scene in Egypt, Copek advised young rising artists interested in the contemporary field to be more open searching for more styles and watching many videos to get more inspirations. He added that the new generation will follow more incoming ideas and this is the best chance to introduce novel flavors through being exposed to different things that will grow step by step.
Established five years ago, CCDC has previously organized festivals and events and among the recent events was a graduation ceremony organized last February, celebrating the graduation of the first generation of dancers of CCDC, Gilles stated.
“The idea behind our events is to assert that contemporary dance is part of everyday life and is strictly relevant to various forms of art including film and music,” Gilles explained.