Brutal Honesty – dance and language improvisation practice IN PERSON
Brutal Honesty is a dance and language improvisation practice developed by award-winning choreographer Zornitsa Stoyanova. The practice has a goal of not censoring oneself in movement and the language, stories, emotions, and bullshit that comes up while in it. Initially inspired by the global “pandemic” of alternative facts, Brutal Honesty questions what is honest, real, and truthful and interrogates our personal connection to the idea of truth.
The generation of language and movement is a juggle between the sensual body, memories, feelings, and the here and now. Rooting the practice in the senses is how we interrogate the real from the imagined.
Within this practice, Stoyanova works with repetitions, derailed desire, the form of the confessional, the highly emotional, and the vulnerable.
Join Zornitsa for this one-day in-person workshop research in language and movement practice unearthing the notion of personal truths and what it means to be honest, with yourself and others.
Brutal Honesty practice is part of Zornitsa’s research for a new performance by the same name to premiere late in 2022.
The Fidget Space
1714 N. Mascher Street – 4th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19122
COST: $40 to $75 Sliding scale payment for the whole day
Use the registration link below, or alternatively, you can bring cash on hand or Venmo at @zstoy
Any questions you can contact Zornitsa Stoyanova directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
****This is an in-person event limited to 12 max people – all CDC guides for indoor events are followed. ***
*Notes on pricing * – Live in-person events are no question more expensive. I need to reserve and pay for the space and also extra advertising. In-person events are special too as we have the opportunity to connect and really delve deep into the research. Because of all this and the limited space, I will not be able to offer a super cheap entrance.
Zornitsa Stoyanova writes about her history with dance and improvisation:
Over twenty-plus years, I’ve studied contact, compositional and emergent improvisation with teachers from all over the world.
My work and research focus on improvisation for performance and I always approach the compositional techniques with an eye toward to presence of the dancer – focusing on methodologies to make my performance alive and in the NOW. I’ve been using gesture and speech in my choreography for over 15 years, developing a specific methodology of listening to the senses that bring language forth. I’ve taken workshops in contemporary Indian dance and have always explored gesture as a potential for meaning, as well as a tool to create comedy. I am fascinated by how classical and folk dance forms use gesture and contemporary and postmodern European centric dance forms largely ignore it.
When I teach…
I synthesize my knowledge and use it toward a practice of openness in Performance.
I set up scores and choreographies of states that create unique yet telling experiences using every theatrical and dance skill in my arsenal.
One of my most influential teachers is Deborah Hay, from whom I have borrowed methodologies in presence, open possibilities, poetics, and composing outside of my rigid compositional brain.
In teaching and making work I adapt a lot of Meg Stuart’s scores in working with power dynamics on stage, morphing the body into recognizability and emotionality both in the face and body.
Other noteworthy teachers of mine are Ishamael Houston Jones, Janine Durning, Danny Lepkoff, Nancy Stark Smith, Susan Rethorst, and many others. From 2005 to 2008, I worked with the Emergent Improvisation Project, researching new forms of improvisation borrowed from biology and neuroscience. Dancing in this project, I was on the cover of the book Composing While Dancing by M. Buckwalter. With Graffito Works (2015 – 2017), again an improvisation company, I danced in various museum and art collections outside the theater. In 2021, I initiated the beginning of PIC – Platform for Improvisation and Composition in Sofia, Bulgaria. I have also danced for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Lionel Popkin, and many other less-known names. For me, dance improvisation is an opportunity to reveal the true nature of life, the dancer their psyche, and the reason to be on stage at this moment.
Zornitsa Stoyanova (USA/BUL) is an award-winning performance artist, curator, writer, lighting, and video designer. Based between Sofia, Bulgaria and Philadelphia, US, she directs her company BodyMeld which along with presenting her work, focuses on creating programs in support of independent choreographers in both her locales.
Her stage, video and photographic work uses the female body as an abstract object revealing ideas of strength in female sensuality and emotionality. On stage, she explores feminist ideas, the power dynamics between dancers and audiences, and personal stories revealing vulnerability and strength.
Her last group performance, AndroMeda, was commissioned and presented by The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2020), and her solo performance Explicit Female (2016) was awarded a “Rocky” – the Philadelphia contemporary dance award. Her choreographic work has been shown in festivals around the U.S. as well as in Bulgaria and France. As a dancer, she has performed for Eiko & Koma, Boris Charmatz, Cie. Willy Dorner, Group Motion and improvisation companies Emergent Improvisation Ensemble and Graffito Works. Her work with Emergent Improvisation brought her on the cover of “Composing While Dancing” book by Melinda Buckwalter. Her screendance films have been shown in festivals across the U.S. and in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Ireland, Germany, and Bangladesh. Among her most influential teachers are Deborah Hay, Danny Lepkoff, Meg Stuart, Susan Rethorst, Eva Karczag and others. Her work has been supported by National Cultural Fund of Bulgaria, Citizen for the Arts Pennsylvania, Pew Center for the Arts (previously Dance Advance) amongst others.
Zornitsa is also a supporter for a sustainable dance community and is deeply invested in helping further conversation and collaboration. Through BodyMeld she has created workshops, residencies, and showcases – most notably her partnership with Movement Research(NYC) and Stary Browar Novie Taniec(Poland) in bringing Polish artists to Philadelphia. She teaches improvisation techniques for performance, dance on camera and composition and has done so in Philadelphia, France, Hungary, her native Bulgaria, and online. Zornitsa is also a writer and editor for thINKingDANCE.net.