Research projects

Research projects on the history of dance


A list of all research projects physically available in the CNDB Media Library.

Dance Archives: Open for (re)inventory!



Dance Archives: Open for (re)inventory!

#DANCE ARCHIVES: OPEN FOR (RE)INVENTORY! sought a contemporary perspective on the practices of digitization, research and valorisation of archival documents on the history of Romanian modern dance in the context of new media and current creative agendas. The approach was innovative and aimed at digitizing, inventorying and re-generating archival sources for contemporary artistic projects, developing new curatorial approaches in the field of cultural archives and facilitating an active, participatory encounter with new generations of audiences. The project, initiated by the CNDB and co-financed by AFCN, was structured in three components:

  1. Workshops on new practices of archiving, digitisation and valorisation of archival documents, supported by professionals in the field.

The workshop “From document to art and back again”, held by Iosif Kiraly, visual artist and co-founding professor of the Department of Photography and Dynamic Image (UNARTE) involved in artistic research projects on archival documents, opened the series of workshops, proposing the analysis of several examples of photographs and other documentary images that have acquired artistic status through interventions and/or recontextualizations operated by different artists.

The workshop “Best practices in the digitization of cultural archives”, held by Liviu Pop, researcher at the Romanian Academy, expert in the digitization of cultural archives, explored practices in the field of audio, video and image digitization, respectively recommendations from institutions that set the tone in this field (Digital Curation Center-UK, Library of Congress-USA, Europeana-EU), assessing current digitisation-specific technical standards, calculating the technical requirements and time needed to digitise a collection according to the number of documents and their size, creating an ideal digital archive user profile and illustrating interfaces for interacting with digital document/object collections.

The workshops were addressed to researchers and professionals in the field of cultural archiving and to Master students in visual arts, visual artists interested in artistic projects that make use of archival documents. The workshops also included a practical component, through which those interested were involved in the inventory and digitization activities of the documents in the CNDB Archives (the CNDB Contemporary Archive and the CNDB Historical Archive) and subsequently participated in events dedicated to the performance of its sources.

  1. MIDNIGHT SPECIALS – cine (dance)concert, screening of archive films in partnership with Bucharest International Dance Film Festival 2019 – BIDFF #5. Film material from the ANF archive. Section curators: Corina Cimpoieru, CNDB Archive Coordinator, and Bogdan Movileanu, ANF Editor.

An unprecedented selection of archival films revealing diverse histories of dance in niche areas of the Romanian film genre was presented in a cine(dans)concert accompanied by the Karpov not Kasparov band, at the National Centre for Dance in Bucharest, on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Midnight Specials – cine(dans)concert – offered a radiography of dance film through 16 archival productions made between 1927 and 1972. One of the most anticipated films in the selection was the comedy “Lache in the harem” (1928, directed by Marcel Blossoms) featuring ephemeral dance poses in sync with the “new media” of silent film in the 1920s, performed by Elena Penescu Liciu, prima ballerina at the Cluj Opera, with the ballet troupe of the Cărăbuș Theatre.

III. The Dance Archives: Open for (re)inventory! exhibition, opened on 30 October 2019, at the Stere Popescu Hall of the CNDB. An exhibition in which boxes of dance and lost and saved archives of Romanian choreographers and dancers were opened. Those present were challenged to search for dance (cherchez la danse!), in its various forms of manifestation, in the three sections of the exhibition:

The cube of resources: unpublished documents and artefacts about dance – photographs, video material, press excerpts, work diaries, programme notebooks, posters – from the historical (1900-2000) and the contemporary CNDB (2004-present) collections, made visible various forms and gestures of archiving dance that originate in the duality of the relationship between documentation and disappearance, between archiving practices and those of reactivating documents.

From document to performance: video projections of performances produced by the CNDB, which re-generate dance histories through re-enactment: The Hammer without a Master, Reenacting Lizica Codreanu, Vera Proca-Ciortea, Tribute to Iris Barbura, Trixy Checais and The Sung History of Romanian Dance.

Scanning the archive: an exhibition of documentary-experimental photography by artist Cornel Lazia through a digital archaeology of moments in Romanian dance history. The digitization/scanning techniques used absorbed the original photographic image and co-produced a topography of intermediate temporalities and visual reinterpretations. The selective displacement of pixels reactivated latent layers of the documents and opened the opportunity for a new kind of regenerative archive.

During the exhibition, Dr. Irene Brandenburg, researcher at the Department of Musicology and Dance Studies of the University of Salzburg and curator of the Derra de Moroda Dance Archive in Salzburg, gave a presentation on the challenges of a dance archive in terms of preservation, visibility and use of dance documents for research, outreach and artistic projects.

  1. The digital catalogue “Dance Archives: Open for (re)inventory”, an online publication documenting the activities of the project and providing a best practice guide for researching and archiving dance history.


For more information on the project events, please visit:

Workshop From Document to Art and Back / Iosif Kiraly

Workshop Good practices in digitising cultural archives/Liviu Pop

MIDNIGHT SPECIALS – cine (dance)concert/BIDFF#5

Dance Archives Exhibition: Open for (re)inventory(s)!

The Derra de Moroda Dance Archives/Irene Branderburg

Dance Archives Catalogue


Project team

Corina Cimpoieru (project coordinator); Andreea Cârstea/Alina Popescu (communication and PR); Ana Szel (research), Sabina Suru (documentation); Eduard Constantin (graphic concept); Republic of Architects (exhibition design).



National Film Archive, UNArte and Derra de Moroda Dance Archives Salzburg.


Project co-funded by

The Administration of the National Cultural Fund

Dancecloud.ro The Romanian Contemporary Dance Platform



Dancecloud.ro The Romanian Contemporary Dance Platform

DanceCloud.ro is a pilot project for the creation of an online digital archive dedicated to the history and actuality of Romanian contemporary dance. In the context of the precariousness and fragmentation of the available information, DanceCloud.ro aimed to create an interactive online database, gathering archival, topical and anticipatory information.

In order to make the history of contemporary dance known among the younger generation, the project organised a series of educational conferences for pupils and students from theoretical and vocational education in Bucharest:

I. Mapping the first dance studios in Bucharest/Corina Cimpoieru/special guest Liana Tugearu/Choreography School “Floria Capsali”/13.10.2017

II. The body and the performative turn in the Romanian avant-garde/Igor Mocanu/”George Coșbuc” National Bilingual College, 24.10.2017

III. Choreographers and composers. Unpublished artistic partnerships of yesterday and today/Corina Cimpoieru/special guests Simona Deaconescu and Cătălin Crețu/National University of Music Bucharest/25.10.2017

IV. CNDB Laboratory – contemporary types of research/Igor Mocanu/National University of Theatre and Cinema “I.L. Caragiale”/01.11.2017

The interactive presentation of the pilot-platform took place at the CNDB on 11 November 2017 and was accompanied by a performative moment dedicated to the Romanian choreographer Trixy Checais, an excerpt from a live performance (Counterbody/Simona Deaconescu) and a unique projection with archival video footage and artists of today. The event was presented by choreographers and performers Andreea Novac and Paul Dunca.

DanceCloud.ro was a cultural project funded under the Bucharest Participatory City Cultural Programme by the Bucharest City Hall through the Cultural Centre of Bucharest ARCUB.

Tribute to Iris Barbura



Tribute to Iris Barbura

The exhibition – performance project Tribute to Iris Barbura aimed to update in the contemporary context the unknown path of Iris Barbura, dancer and choreographer with a remarkable artistic activity in the interwar and post-war period. Her talent was revealed in her interdisciplinary appearances on the dance stage, where she expressed her artistic versatility. Her personality and dance are equally playful, elegant, energetic and impressive, thus occupying a remarkable place in the history of 20th century dance.  Developed in partnership with the Alexander und Renate Camaro Foundation Berlin, Deutsches Tanzarchiv Cologne and the ICR Berlin, the project realised this unique kind of re-enactment through an exhibition, a series of re-enactment performances and a research catalogue.

The cultural-choreographic project Tribute to Iris Barbura premiered on 4 June 2016 at the “Stere Popescu” Hall of the National Dance Centre Bucharest. The project took place from 15 March to 4 June 2016 and consisted in the conception of an original choreography that would bring back to the present the choreographic career of the artist Iris Barbura. For this, the CNDB invited Iris Barbura’s student Beth Soll, choreographer of the contemporary dance company Dance Projects Inc. in New York, to re-create the choreographic movements inherited from Iris Barbura, during the time she attended her dance studio in Ithaca. Beth Soll worked with students of the “Floria Capsali” Choreography High School in Bucharest for the 2016 edition, and students of UNATC, Choreography Department, for the 2017 edition, proposing a recovery of a choreographic aesthetic unique in the world, which the cities of adoption of the Romanian artist  will recognize with nostalgia and surprise.

The performance “Iris” is an expressionist solo dance dedicated to Iris Barbura, choreographed and performed by Beth Soll. A close student and later guest of Iris Barbura’s home and studio in Ithaca, Beth Soll has continued throughout her career to put into practice the choreographic knowledge she gained in Iris Barbura’s class. The show premiered in New York City on December 10, 2016, as part of The Construction Company’s ‘Dance Galery’ Gala.

“The image of Iris that I kept from my childhood influences my choreographic work. Iris Barbura’s signature artistic creations have been enriched by her love of the beautiful gorges and waterfalls of Ithaca, New York, where she chose to live in the United States. This performance begins with a dreamlike sequence inspired by Romanian folk dances, then moves into a section of modern kinetic dance inspired by the styles of the 1930s and 1940s. Subsequent sections consist of melancholic solos, romantic duets and frenetic group movements that re-enact the sadness that consumed Iris, her love of nature and her heroic suicide in one of her beloved gorges. Between sections and in the finale, the dancers perform a simple and, at times, solemn movement pattern.” (Beth Soll)

The next stage of the project took place in 2017 and involved a contextualizing tour of Beth Soll’s choreography Tribute to Iris Barbura and Iris’ solo in Berlin during The Gallery Weekend in Berlin and was hosted in the exhibition space of the Alexander und Renate Camaro Foundation. The Berlin edition of the project was augmented by an Iris Barbura retrospective exhibition with documents from the archives of the CNDB, Deutsches Tanzarchiv Koln, Alexander und Renate Camaro Stiftung and Katja Majerowsky Stiftung, curated by Agnes Kern, Corina Cimpoieru and Igor Mocanu.

The exhibition was complemented by a research approach materialized in a publication-catalogue, which was a synthesis of archival and exhibition efforts. The Tribute to Iris Barbura catalogue contains a series of research texts by Agnes Kern, Isabelle Fischer, Beth Soll, Corina Cimpoieru and Igor Mocanu, covering the choreographer’s professional career; a significant selection of unpublished visual documents from the artistic biography of dancer and choreographer Iris Barbura, discovered over several years in the institutional archives of the National Dance Centre Bucharest, Alexander und Renate Camaro Stiftung, Katja Meyerowsky Stiftung, Cologne Dance Archives, Berlinsche Gallery in Germany, the Girls’ Normal School / now the “Elena Ghiba” National College in Arad), as well as in the private archives of the choreographer Beth Soll and the researcher Alexandru Mușat. Conceived in a bilingual edition (Romanian-German), the catalogue represents the monographic materialization of an international artistic journey brought to the public’s attention for the first time, proposing a more than urgent recovery of the work of choreographer Iris Barbura, creator of artistic language and choreographic school in three countries on two continents.

Iris Barbura (b. 1912, Arad, Romania – d. 1969, Ithaca, USA) belongs, together with Trixy Checais and Floria Capsali, to the second generation of avant-garde choreographers in Romania. She obtained a choreographic scholarship to Germany in 1930, attending dance classes with Mary Wigman and Harald Kreuzberg and dancing with Gret Palucca and Rosalia Chladek. In 1939 she returned to Bucharest, where she founded a contemporary dance studio, while working on the choreographic stage of the National Theatre, and from this period dates her collaborations with Trixy Checais and Vergiu Cronea. By the end of the 1940s she was creating sets and costumes for various performances at the Freien Volksbühne and the Hebbel-Theater in Berlin. There he became close to the Berlin surrealist group of artists, forming in 1949 with them the collective Die Badewanne [Bathtub], named after the performance of the same name she had performed with them. She emigrated to the USA in 1951, to Ithaca, New York, teaching choreography at Ithaca College with Beth Soll and Hannah Kahn as students. She committed suicide in 1969, throwing herself off the Triphammer Bridge into one of Ithaca’s legendary gorges.

► Tribute to Iris Barbura, 2017
Choreography: Beth Soll
Dancers: Raluca Adomnicăi, Mihail Bădiceanu, Diana Chira, Maria-Luiza Dimulescu, Hermina Dohotariu, Marian Ivan, Maria Beatrice Tudor, Teodora Velescu
Assistant choreographer: Carmen Coțofană
Costumes: Cristi Marin
Music: Marian Cîtu (Rufi)
Lighting: Ionuț Cherana
Documentary research: Corina Cimpoieru, Igor Mocanu
Production assistants: Maggie Chițoran, Andreea C. Hristu
Producer: CNDB (2016)

► Iris, 2016
Choreography: Beth Soll
Dancer: Beth Soll
Costumes: Mona Haideh Omid
Music: Marian Cîtu (Rufi)
Lighting: Emma Rivera
Producer: Beth Soll & Company and Construction Company

► Publication “Tribute to Iris Barbura”, Bucharest – Berlin, 2017
Volume published by: National Dance Centre Bucharest and Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln
Concept: Alexander und Renata Camaro Stiftung
Authors: Corina Cimpoieru, Isabel Fischer, Agnes Kern, Igor Mocanu, Beth Soll
Translators: Georg Aescht, Andrei Anastasescu
Graphic design: Eduard Constantin
Printing: Square Media

The Sung History of the Romanian Dance



The Sung History of the Romanian Dance

The Sung History of Romanian Dance presents important moments and outstanding personalities in the history of contemporary Romanian dance through music.

Choreographers Eduard Gabia and Paul Dunca together with Alexandra Andronic, Valeriu Borcoș (Karpov Not Kasparov) and Alex Bălă (Plurabelle, FLUID) pursue the translation from one artistic medium to another, starting from the conviction that music and dance are in a continuous conversation and mutual questioning.

The collaboration of the five consists of a musical album, available HERE.  

The Sung History of Romanian Dance is a project realized with the support of the National Centre for Dance Bucharest through the Selection of Programs and Projects organized by the institution in 2016.

Time Dance Connection. Bucharest in Action (1925- 2015)



Time Dance Connection. Bucharest in Action (1925- 2015)

The National Center for Dance Bucharest presents Time Dance Connection – Bucharest in Action (1925-2015) – A Map of the History of Contemporary Dance in Bucharest, a project to recover and update a history that has been invisible until now, through six events taking place between 24 September and 29 November 2015, in several venues in Bucharest.

After a year of research through national archives, libraries and personal archives, the CNDB presents today’s audience with powerful artistic personalities and their sensational stories. Floria Capsali, Esther Magyar, Trixy Checais, Vera Proca Ciortea, Stere Popescu, Ioan Tugearu find recognition in Romanian culture and in the current artistic context. Innovators, revolutionaries and daredevils of their times, Romanian contemporary dance owes them the freedom of form and movement of today.

Time Dance Connection. Bucharest in Action (1925-2015) – A Map of the History of Contemporary Dance in Bucharest is part of the efforts to recover the history of Romanian contemporary dance that the CNDB has initiated since 2006.

The Time Dance Connection Bucharest in Action (1925-2015) – A map of the history of contemporary dance in Bucharest includes:

Event Floria Capsali
National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Tancred Bănățeanu Hall
Exhibition: 24 – 30 September, 10.00 – 18.00
Opening, 24 September, 6.30 pm

Event Trixy Checais
Bucharest Metropolitan Library, Headquarters, Auditorium Hall
Exhibition: 8 – 9 October 2015, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and 10 October, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Opening, 8 October 2015, 6.30 pm

Event Vera Proca Ciortea
Rhapsody Hall, Lipscani
22 and 23 October 2015, 7.30 pm

Event Stere Popescu
National Dance Centre Bucharest, Stere Popescu Hall
Exhibition: 8 – 14 November 2015, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Opening and performance, 8 November 2015, 6.30 pm

Event Esther Magyar
National Dance Centre Bucharest, Stere Popescu Hall
15 November 2015, 6.30 pm

Event Ioan Tugearu
National Dance Centre Bucharest, Stere Popescu Hall
29 November 2015, 18.30

Time Dance Connection. Bucharest in Action (1925-2015) – A Map of the History of Contemporary Dance in Bucharest is a cultural project financed within the framework of the “Ești București” Cultural Programme of the Cultural Projects Centre of the Municipality of Bucharest – ARCUB and the Bucharest City Hall.

Institutional partners: the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, the Ballet House, the Bucharest Metropolitan Library, the National Library of Romania, the “Floria Capsali” Choreography High School in Bucharest, the National Film Archive, the National Centre of Cinematography, Cărturești

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Dance



Museum of Modern and Contemporary Dance

THE MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY DANCE MUSEUM was a documentary-experimental exhibition initiative that aimed to draw the public’s attention to the research on the history of modern and contemporary Romanian dance, with a focus on representative choreographers.

Curator’s argument:
“If you don’t document a performance, it disappears forever.” (Ulay, 2014)

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Dance as a temporary institutional approach is crossed by a series of antecedents that must be read outside any canonical veil in the current production of value judgments on the still unwritten history of Romanian dance.

The canonical writing of the history of dance is the last phase of the historiographical operation, after the identification of documentary evidence, its transformation into archival documents and its indexing. The Museum of Dance… lies somewhere in the middle between the constitution of a searchable and citable archive by appeal and reference to an accepted common index and the sketch for the conclusion of a future historiographical operation with the actual writing of dance history. In order for the messianic showing to the face of such a historian and the summoning of such a historian to write dance history to be possible, there is at least one necessary condition: to have training institutions for this purpose. The title of the current exhibition thus aims to alert the public to the absence of such semiotic institutions of formal or informal training. For an archive, any archive, to find itself in the public legitimacy of noting that it has no history, and of claiming such work as a consequence, the pre-existence of institutional structures that produce this faculty of judgment and discrimination is necessary.

In terms of 1980s American art theory, the Museum of Dance… would pass as a mockinstitution, a phantom institution, a puppet-institution with the sole stated purpose of drawing public attention to its own absence. Any mock-institution, such as this one, always stubbornly asserts that what we see is not a pipe, but that it should be. Ceci n’est pas le Musée de la Danse.

The local visual culture has a rich tradition of generating such institutions-reminder, institutions-concept or artist institutions: the Museum of the Comic Strip (Alexandru Ciubotariu), the Museum of Knowledge (Lia Perjovschi), the Blind Museum (Veda Popovici), etc. The rhetorical function that these structures usually perform can be described by the process of preterition – when we say that we do not want to bring up a certain subject that we are nevertheless discussing at the very moment we say it.

As a document, the three parts of the exhibition deal, consecutively, with the contemporary faces of reenactment (Stere Popescu seen by Florin Flueraș and Brynjar Åbel Bandlien, Lizica Codreanu – by Vava Ștefănescu, Doina Georgescu and Simona Paraschivu); independent choreographic film (Leria Nicky-Cucu); anthropological studio dance (Floria Capsali); museum and film dance (Miriam Răducanu); postmodern eurythmy (Vera Proca-Ciortea and the Gymnasion Group); dance on film or in the cinema (Elena Penescu-Liciu); the variety of detective films (Lisette Verea and Tony Bulandra); choreographic education (Esther Magyar); post-communist contemporary dance (Adina Cezar and the Contemp Group) and experimental video performance choreography (Marginalii and Marilena Preda Sânc).

The Museum of Dance… is therefore not the history of Romanian choreography raised on an institutional and canonical pedestal, which is well-deserved, but rather a laudatory approach to the culture of the archive, as it was imposed in the mid-1970s by Western visual performance artists, because it deals with dance to the same extent that it constitutes a tegumentary fetish of the document, a tactile ode to visual testimony in movement and the revival of oral tradition. Paul Ricoeur spoke somewhere of the “truth dimension” of the archive, of the interdisciplinary convention that what is in an archival document is also true. We refer to this truthful dimension when we include a choreographer in the bowels of the exhibition, when we implicitly state that a certain film, a certain photograph is extremely relevant to the history of dance, even if axiologically the choreography presented in that document may be aesthetically null. As I said at the beginning, aesthetic deceleration is taught in school, and that school does not yet exist, and so until proven otherwise we are free to be unaesthetic.
– Igor Mocanu

THE MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY DANCE MUSEUM | 05 – 07 June 2015, 19.00 – 21. 00, CNDB, Sala “Stere Popescu”, Bd. Mărășești 80-82 | Choreographers: Lizica Codreanu, Stere Popescu, Leria Nicky-Cucu, Floria Capsali, Miriam Răducanu, Vera Proca-Ciortea, Elena Penescu-Liciu, Lisette Verea, Esther Magyar, Contemp, Marginalii | Curator: Igor Mocanu | Curatorial assistant: Corina Cimpoieru | Design: Daria Vlad | Special thanks: Andreea Elena Cârstea, Marian Citu, Vivi Drăgan Vasile, Mihai Fulger, Nicoleta Manolache, Anca Mitran, Alexandru Raptis, Miriam Răducanu, Liana Tugearu, Alina Ușurelu, Raluca Voinea

Reenacting Lizica Codreanu _Hors les Murs

2014 - 2015


Reenacting Lizica Codreanu _Hors les Murs

In November 2014, the National Centre for Dance Bucharest organized, within the Hors les Murs project, an event around the personality of the choreographer and dancer Lizica Codreanu, close to the avant-garde groups in Paris, the one who revolutionized the codes of dance in a lightning career.

A new meeting with Lizica Codreanu took place in 2015, in the form of discussions, projections of unpublished photos and a new re-enactment, this time performed by the students of the Floria Capsali Choreography High School in Bucharest, from the classes of teachers Doina Georgescu and Simona Paraschivu.

Starting from:
– the 7 images made and preserved by Brâncuși – Lizica Codreanu danced in his studio in a costume created by the sculptor (in 1922),
– the film by director Cornel Mihalache – who reconstructed the costume and proposed to Vava Stefanescu the first re-enactment of Lizica Codreanu’s dance (in 1995),
– the book by researcher Doina Lemny – Lizica Codreanu. A Romanian dancer in the Parisian avant-garde, a book published by Vellant in 2013, we proposed to the Floria Capsali Choreography High School in Bucharest an event in which we re-create through dance, discussions, images and archive documents, the atypical artistic path of choreographer and dancer Lizica Codreanu and bring it to the public’s attention.


Lizica Codreanu (1901, Bucharest – 1993, Louveciennes) – French dancer and choreographer of Romanian origin. In 1918 she enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, making her debut the same year at the first artistic tea of the Society “Friends of the Blind” at the Carol cel Mare Theatre in Bucharest, alongside Ion Manu, Maria Filotti and Petre Sturdza. After a few individual performances in Bucharest (Dansuri de caractère, Dansul primaverii and Divertisment rococo, 9 March 1919, Teatrul Eforia), Lizica Codreanu left for Paris and from 1921 she developed an increasingly sustained choreographic activity. The composer Florent Schmitt recommends her to Ida Rubinstein for performances, she attends Bronislava Nijinska’s classes and becomes increasingly close to the main avant-garde groups: Albatros, Dadaists and Surrealists, Tchérez etc. In 1926 she made her film debut, playing Pierot the Lightning in Le P’tit Parigot directed by René le Somptier. In the same year she married Jean Fontenoy, a well-known journalist from the Havas agency, with whom she travelled extensively until the second half of the 1930s, when she returned to Paris from Shanghai, divorced and opened a hatha-yoga centre, adapting Oriental and Hindu teachings to her own research on the body. In 1971, after a final trip to Bucharest, she ended her work as a psycho-somatician, during which she had had as patients, among many others, Eugène Ionescu and Coco Chanel. She died in 1993 in Louveciennes, aged 93. In 2011is published in Paris, Lizica Codreano’s book Lizica Codreano. Une danseuse roumaine dans l’avant-garde parisienne, the most comprehensive monograph dedicated to the Romanian-born dancer, written by researcher Doina Lemny.

Choreography: Doina Georgescu, Simona Paraschivu
Costumes: Cristian Marin
Dancers: Raluca Adomnicăi, Daniela Cosma, Alexandra Dragomir, Carmen Margarit, Bianca Buricescu, Adina Bădica, Ana-Maria Ștefan.

Romanian Dance History

2009 - 2012


Romanian Dance History

What to affirm, what to perform/Cartographing The Invisible History II



What to affirm, what to perform/Cartographing The Invisible History II

What to affirm, what to perform/Cartographing The Invisible History II – international project, organized by Tanzquartier Wien, CNDB, Centre for Drama Art Zagreb and Maska Magazine – Ljubljana, in cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung.

The little information known to the general public about what really happened in the history of dance and performance art in Romania and its partner countries has made it possible to produce a discourse that emphasises the absences and gaps, the flashes and passages. In order to try to fill these gaps  CNDB opened a real research and documentation site in 2008 with the participation of Irina Severin, Mihaela Michailov, Andreea Novac, Vava Ștefănescu, Manuel Pelmuș, Mihai Mihalcea, Florin Flueraș and Brynjar Bandlien.

În 2009, CNDB a continuat seria de evenimente din cadrul proiectului cu următoarele prelegeri și prezentări: “Şi mama a dansat atunci. Oxigenarea arhivei”, de Mihaela Michailov,  “Voci”, de Manuel Pelmuş şi Ion Dumitrescu “Concerto Grosso” şi “În marea trecere”, două filme realizate de Miriam Răducanu şi prezentate de creatorul Gigi Căciuleanu “Ciocanul fără stăpîn”. Studiu de caz. Prezentare de Irina Severin Video document în premieră naţională: Stere Popescu şi “Ciocanul fără stăpîn” la Festivalul de dans de la Paris, 1965 “Ciocanul fără stăpîn” – abordări alternative. De la informaţie scrisă şi teorie la procesul artistic practic. O prezentare de Brynjar Bandlien şi Florin Flueraş. La finalul celor 2 ani de cercetări, CNDB a organizat un eveniment intitulat ănainte sau după cutremur, la care au luat parte cu prezentări, prelegeri, instalații și spectacole: Liana Tugearu, Adina Cezar, Sergiu Anghel, Sanda Agalides, Irina Severin, Mihaela Michailov, Manuel Pelmuș, Florin Flueraș, Vava Ștefănescu, Mihai Mihalcea. Proiectul a reprezentat o premieră absolută pentru România, iar informațiile, documentele și materialele audio-video rezultate în urma cercetărilor necesită pentru viitor un concept original de punere într-un mediu activ și vizibil, pentru a deveni accesibile publicului larg.

What to affirm, what to perform/Cartographing The Invisible History II



What to affirm, what to perform/Cartographing The Invisible History II

On 21 March 2008,  CNDB launched the international project What to affirm, what to perform?/Cartographing the Invisible History, which was built around several central ideas. If one were to venture today to write a new history of dance, without bypassing spaces such as Romania, Austria, Croatia or Slovenia, one would first have to start by the intense and very difficult task of recovering “invisible” information, “hidden” in archives and public libraries, but above all private ones, and also in the histories stored in the subjective memory of the few existing witnesses. This international project, organized by Tanzquartier Wien, CNDB, Centre for Drama Art Zagreb and Maska Magazine – Ljubljana, in cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung, started from these premises and aimed to take, over a period of two years (2008-2009), the first steps towards recovering and understanding the choreographic and performative past of these geographical spaces.

CNDB launched the project with a series of lectures and presentations by Cosmin Costinaș (curator, theorist), Irina Severin (anthropologist, sociologist), Mihaela Michailov (performing art critic) and Manuel Pelmus (performer and choreographer). As a continuation of the project, besides the real research site opened, CNDB presented for the first time in Romania the performance “Pupilija, Papa Pupilo and the Pupilceks”, offering the local audience the opportunity to see one of the productions internationally appreciated for the intelligence with which a cult performance from Slovenia in the 60s was reconstructed. The show created by Janez Janša has over time become a model for approaching and rediscovering the past, using innovative tools and practices to probe and reaffirm it in a contemporary reflective framework.

reSourcing. critical platform



reSourcing. critical platform

reSourcing. critical platform – an initiative of Ecumest Association in collaboration with Lia and Dan Perjovschi, Cosmin Costinaș, Manuel Pelmuș, Mihai Mihalcea, CNDB.

Since January 2007, a group of artists, contemporary art and cultural management initiators have been running the pilot project reSourcing. critical platform, supported by the Erste Foundation. The project represented a modular multidisciplinary research on recent cultural history in Romania, aiming at documenting and recovering movements that have influenced the present development of the cultural, artistic and intellectual scene. CNDB was a founding partner and hosted a series of conferences and presentations by Lia Perjovschi, Andreea Dumitru, Ștefan Tiron, Manuel Pelmuș, Sebastian Big.

Choreography and Memory Manuel Pelmus, in collaboration with Andreea Novac
Most artists agree that contemporary dance in Romania has a rather fragile history and tradition. This doesn’t mean that contemporary dance was completely lacking during the communist period, only that its presence was limited or too little felt to contribute or develop an articulated discourse or to form a real tradition. One difficulty, however, is that there is no information even about what exists. Apart from a few names, dates and a range of descriptive information, there is no reference to context, history or the forces influencing contemporary dance in the immediate past.


The intention of this research project focusing on the period between the 1960s and the 1990s is to closely examine and document a number of choreographic proposals from the past, in an attempt to understand and present the historical context in which those performances were born. The research aims to identify witnesses and to reconstruct certain aspects related to these performances, while also seeking to formulate questions related to that period and to offer a possible interpretation, as well as to scan the political context generating these choreographic proposals.

Sertar/Drawer II – Trixy Checais



Sertar/Drawer II  – Trixy Checais

Sertar/Drawer II – a presentation dedicated to Trixy Checais (1914-1990), an important artistic personality of the 30s and 40s, precursor of Romanian contemporary dance. His artistic destiny was brutally interrupted in the 1950s, when he was arrested and sentenced to hard labour at the Danube-Black Sea Canal. Trixy Checais returned in the 1960s as a ballet master, but was not allowed to complete his work.

The Sertar project took the form of meetings between the general public and “storytellers”, witnesses who participated in the history/stories. The storytellers of the presentation dedicated to Trixy Checais were Miriam Răducanu, Răzvan Mazilu and Gina Șerbănescu.

Drawer – talking about those who moved the world was a documentary project and, at the same time, a project that wanted to put in an active environment the resources of contemporary history. It was an exercise to put into discussion people, stories and facts that, at a certain moment in the development of the choreographic world, meant a lot, moved things in a sometimes unbelievable way.

One of the CNDB’s priority desires was to create a platform for debate, for substantive discussion, which would participate in strengthening choreographic culture, because dance has the right to claim its place in culture. The discussion is not an isolated, accidental act. There are many things and gestures in the field of choreography that are not known, but which have had the same importance as the appearance of an important book or a name in the field of theatre.

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Sertar/Drawer I – Esther Magyar



Sertar/Drawer I – Esther Magyar

Sertar/Drawer I – a presentation dedicated to Mrs. Esther Magyar, director of the Ballet Ensemble of the Romanian Opera in Bucharest and director of the Choreography School during the 1960s.

The Drawer project took the form of meetings between the general public and “storytellers”, witnesses who participated in the history/stories. The storytellers of the presentation dedicated to Esyher Maghiar Gonda were Miriam Răducanu, Adina Cezar, Liana Tugearu, Anca Mândrescu, Raluca Ianegic and Ion Tugearu.

Drawer – talking about those who moved the world was a documentary project and, at the same time, a project that wanted to put in an active environment the resources of contemporary history. It was an exercise to put into discussion people, stories and facts that, at a certain moment in the development of the choreographic world, meant a lot, moved things in a sometimes unbelievable sense.

One of the CNDB’s priority desires was to create a platform for debate, for substantive discussion, which would participate in strengthening choreographic culture, because dance has the right to claim its place in culture. The discussion is not an isolated, accidental act. There are many things and gestures in the field of choreography that are not known, but which have had the same importance as the appearance of an important book or a name in the field of theatre.

For more details go to:



Esther Magyar Gonda (21 September 1907, Dragșina, Timiș county – 31 March 2006, Bucharest). The legendary success of the Opera and Ballet Theatre during the communist period owes as much to the admiring support of political leaders for this art as to the expressive strength of legendary dancers. The woman who successfully mediated this fragile relationship between the ballet world and the communist proletariat was the dancer and choreographer Esther Magyar Gonda. A perfectionist, concerned with detail, Esther Magyar paved the way for modern and contemporary dance towards a true cult of gesture. Trained at a time when dance was studied almost exclusively in private schools, Esther Magyar opened a dance school in Timișoara, thus managing to support her family. In the interwar period she practised rhythmic dance, performing her own creations under the influence of German expressionism in Timisoara’s dance halls. Out of anti-fascist convictions, she became involved in the illegal communist movement during this period. She is imprisoned for illegal activities and eventually deported because of her Jewish origins. After the traumatic experience of the Antonescian concentration camps in Transnistria, Esther Magyar gives up dancing and dedicates her life to building up, strengthening and coordinating the official choreography scene in Romania. She becomes the director of the ballet section at the Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Choreography High School in Bucharest. With skill and professionalism, she manages to sign decisive pages for the evolution of Romanian dance.

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