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ISTA VIII. Londrina, Brazil, 11-21/08/1994. Tradition and Founders of Traditions

Nitis Jacon, FILO, Festival Internacional de Londrina.

Financed by:
Fundação Banco do Brasil, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Prefeitura Municipal de Londrina; Ministério da Cultura, Grupo de Teatro Núcleo I, Grupo de Teatro Proteu, Secretaria de Estado da Cultura do Paraná, Government of India, Department of Tourism and The Japan Foundation.

Tradition and Found of Traditions Traditions preserve and pass on a form, not the sense that animates it. Everyone must define and reinvent the sense for themselves. This reinvention expresses a personal, cultural and professional identity. Traditions stratify and refine the knowledge of successive generations of founders through their forms and allow each new artist to begin without being obliged to start from scratch. Traditions are a precious inheritance, spiritual nourishment, roots. They are also constrictions. There is no identity without a struggle against the constrictions of the forms inherited from “tradition”. Without such a struggle, artistic life collapses. The spark of life, in art, is the tension between the rigour of the form and the rebellious detail that shakes it from within and makes it take on a new value, unrecognisable features. The performer who does not belong to a codified scenic tradition often risks feeling disinherited, rootless, without concrete reference points to disobey. Those who do not have a tradition often idealise it and regard it with superstitious belief, as though it could give sense to their work. A longing for form has permeated the theatre of our century, from Stanislavski to Grotowski, from Meyerhold to Brecht, from Artaud to the great and unacknowledged Decroux, from Gordon Craig to Isadora Duncan, Jacques Copeau, Martha Graham, Kazuo Ohno… A lineage of founders of traditions unfolds across the artificially separated fields of theatre, mime and dance. Each of us is the child of somebody’s work. Every founder of tradition has a past which they have chosen. It is for us to decide, on a professional level, which history we belong to and who our ancestors are, ancestors in whose values we recognise ourselves. They may belong to distant eras and cultures, but the sense of their work is near to us. To the hurried glance, the distinction between traditions and founders of traditions is equivalent to that between classical schools and innovators, between the orthodox and the rebel, between the classical Asian actor-dancer hidden within a golden costume and the restless and eclectic research of contemporary performers. It is not like this. Even the most rigid tradition only lives through reinvention by its interpreters. The more subtle and imperceptible these reinventions seem, the deeper they actually are. In daily practice, “tradition” is equivalent to “knowledge”, or rather “technique”, a much more humble and efficacious word. Technique does not define us but it is the necessary instrument for overcoming the borders which confine us. Technical knowledge allows us to meet other forms and introduces us to the “tradition of traditions”, to those principles which constantly recur under the differences of styles, cultures and personalities. The aim is not to identify oneself with a tradition, but to construct a nucleus of values, a personal identity, both rebellious and loyal towards one’s own roots. The way to achieve this is through a minutely detailed practice that constitutes our professional identity.
Eugenio Barba

Artistic Staff
Swasthi Widjaja Bandem, dancer
Desak Made Suarti Tisnu
Tjokorda Raka Tisnu, dancer, musician
Tjokorda Istri Putra Padmini, dancer
I Nyoman Sedana, dancer, musician
Ni Nyoman Candri, dancer, singer
I Gede O Surya Negara, dancer, musician
Ni Ketut Suryatini, dancer, musician
I Ketut Suteja, dancer, musician
Ida Bagus Nyoman Mas, dancer, musician
Ni Warastrasari Dewi Bandem, dancer
Desak Suarti Laksmi, dancer, musician

Augusto Omolú, dancer, Candomblé tradition
Ory Sacramento, musician
Jorge “Funk” Paim, musician
Bira Monteiro, musician

Sanjukta Panigrahi, dancer, Odissi
Raghunath Panigrahi, singer, musician
Gangadar Pradhan, musician
Hemant Kumar Das, musician
Kishan Lal Sharma, musician

Kanichi Hanayagi, dancer, Nihon Buyo
Shogo Fujima, dancer, Nihon Buyo
Sae Nanaogi, dancer, Nihon Buyo
Yoshikazu Fujisaka, musician
Taro Yamaguchi, singer, musician

Odin Teatret
Kai Bredholt, actor, musician
Roberta Carreri, actor
Jan Ferslev, actor, musician
Iben Nagel Rasmussen, actor
Tina Nielsen, actor
Isabel Ubeda, actor
Julia Varley, actor
Torgeir Wethal, actor
Frans Winther, musician

Scientific Staff
Kirsten Hastrup, Denmark
Patrice Pavis, France
Jean-Marie Pradier, France
Janne Risum, Denmark
Franco Ruffini, Italy
Nicola Savarese, Italy
Ferdinando Taviani, Italy
Susanne Vill, Germany

Special Guests
Giuseppe Confessa, Italy/Bali
Mark Oshima, Japan
Tom Leabhart, USA