• Black Box teater
  • Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival
  • 12–16 March 2024
  • OITF’24 / Day #5

A Final Bow – Aging in Dance and Closing of Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival 2024
By Grace Tabea Tenga

A dance career is largely considered to have a high intensity and quick expiration date, with some operating with a retirement requirement in one’s early 40s. FIGURING AGE (2023) by dancer Boglarka Börcsök from Hungary, dispels the notion of dance being solely a young person’s game. She engages with three leading figures of the early modern dance movement in Budapest, namely, Ágnes Roboz, Éva Kovács and Irén Preisich, who are all 90+, firstly in the film The Art of Movement from 2020. We see them nodding their heads in counts and doing arm movements similar to balletts  port-de-bras while seated on a chair. At many points, they close their eyes while doing dance getures, seemingly recounting choreographies from several decades ago. Her performance at the festival, FIGURING AGE, is a continuation of this process exploring the era in which the early modern dances broke out and the dancers who embodied it through the years. The sociopolitical landscape of 20th century Hungary was marked by, and as many other countries, two successive world wars. Artists relied more on subtle communication to get their points across to an audience that is able to detect their codes and cues. The balancing act of voicing one's public opinion within limiting freedoms of expression weighed heavily on the performers, mimicking similar concerns of artists today who risk having their endeavors delayed or canceled by speaking up on matters such as Israel-Palestine. Börcsök, by the help of Andreas Blom, have been under the three dancers’ studentship and brought to life their bodily archives of movement practices. 

As the festival has come to its end, it is my hope that the thought processes it started can have ripple effects that linger on until next year and beyond.


Black Box teater has invited dancer and art critic Grace Tabea Tenga to write a series of daily reflections on the festival