“If you don’t try, you cannot know”
Attila Ronai is an amazing groovy dancer, who has been dancing with Hofesh Shechter Company for 8 years.
-What fascinates you about the work of Hofesh Shechter? And does his work influence your dance?
“I have been dancing for Hofesh for 8 years now. That was my first professional job, I was 19 when I joined the company and now I’m 27. You are just influenced by every vulnerable person around you, you just swallow any energy, every quality. That was a really great challenge to get his work on my body: because it is a really different technique. It influenced me about freedom; every particular has a meaning and it is an endless work. And today I have in my body the fluid technique, the continuous ground. I’m still young and I’m trying to get other influences, for example from hip hop: I have never done it before, and in a way, it is really close to Hofesh’s work for the groundedness. It is a continuous process to challenge and change rhythm and quality, as a young dancer.”
-what makes his pieces magic to watch?
“Hofesh sees as a whole, he doesn’t see as separate parts. In his pieces, there are energy, music, lights, amazing group sessions and it is really about the whole people on stage at the moment: that is what makes Hofesh’s work special. He really thinks about every specific detail.”
-You also assisted Hofesh in the creation at Goteborg. How was that experience?
“I was honored and curious about his way of working outside the company. I learned how to guide those beautiful dancers who could quickly embody the language. It was challenging, a really great experience.”
-Now you are a freelance. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer?
“Now I’m a project-based dancer: I’m a freelancer but I still work for Hofesh. I can finally have time to search for other energies and qualities. I tried to do choreographies recently, three years ago as well. It is a great opportunity to challenge my system and understand how I want to work, how I want to achieve goals.”
-How important is music for you? And what is your connection with it?
“Music just made me groove since I was young. My mum showed me a video of when I was young and I couldn’t even speak, but I already danced. For me, it is the whole influence of feelings and emotions. Of course, there is dance without music as well, but that it is possible because of your inside feeling of dancing with a certain flow, rhythm, and beat.”
-How important is it to be aware of the totality of the body while dancing?
“It is amazing, because when you understand it, when you really understand everything in your body, in a way you are not focused anymore and it is just there. There is a click in your head and this implies a click in your body as well, and the whole connection is made: and it is an energy that you want to transfer.”
-How you were able to challenge and overcome your limits?
“Every year I always have one goal I want to work on. Also in this company, but in general, I have always felt I could do more, not just on stage, but in the studio, to work harder. I really disciplined myself to work hard and that makes me who I am today.”
-How can you deal with struggling with bad days and emotions?
“On stage, it is easy to forget. But it is really important, when you experience a bad day or emotion, to use that feeling and transfer it to your body. Also, being surrounded by people around you are really important because they can make you happier. In a company it is really about the group, getting inspired by each other's uniqueness and learning from it. And achieve something together, not as a single individual. And it is important the director put himself at the same level as the dancer, as a human being. It is important to have a good atmosphere, with people that you trust. And as a dancer, it is really important to be humble and even more within our small but strong community of artists. Because society doesn’t help us, but we should help each other, together we are stronger.”
-How much is important to respect the different personalities and uniqueness of each dancer?
“I think it is really important. You can always learn from each person: it is important to understand what we like in others' personalities and uniqueness and try to embody and experiment with our body through different ways of thinking and moving.”
-In the company, you did a lot of improvisation sessions. How important is it to research with the body as a dancer?
“I think the creative process is the most beautiful because the purer movements and ideas come out. The choreographer is watching you and he is getting influence from small details in your body. And it is really hard to always give your 100%.”
-I saw you on stage in Rome and you were really powerful and focused. How are you able to maintain this enthusiasm every time you perform the same piece?
“It is hard sometimes mentally because you perform the same piece so many times. But, we have to think: how many people have a chance to be here and dance surrounded by beautiful people who share my same passion, while people are waiting to see you? I always feel lucky. Maybe it comes from my culture, but I have so much energy, that I want to share it.”
-In the end, what is "dance" for you?
“Dance for me is life, freedom, and energy. I can show who I really am, in my purest and most honest way. I can speak to people. I’m not really good with words, but when I dance everything becomes clearer. It is a joy.”
“Powerful, clown, and groovy.”
-Can you give some advice to young dancers?
“Search and talk to people. Find all the people that can encourage you more. If you have a goal, you must go for it until you can. Be free, don’t let anyone block you. Always try, because if you don’t try you don’t know. And by trying you will learn slowly who you are. I’m still every day in continuous research with myself: it is an endless process.”
Thank you so much, Attila! It was an honor for us to have an interview.