„We would make Trafó more open”- interview with Yvette Bozsik and Csaba Horváth

The announcement – who the new directing manager of Trafó will be from 1st of July for five years – is about to be announced soon.  Two candidates have applied for the position, one is György Szabó, who has established and leads the institution since its inception and the other is Yvette Bozsik. If Bozsik wins there will be Csaba Horváth, choreographer and leader of Forte Company, working besides to Bozsik as an artistic leader of Trafó. We were talking to the two artists about their plans and about the past time period.

Szinház.hu: Yvette, in June, you said at the Ellenfény that you have no plans with Trafó. „My plan is to have my baby born. Rumours start and they become legends. Those generate passion that has something to be afraid of mainly. After these attacks and among these conditions one does not want to be a theatre director in Hungary”, you said. What have changed ever since?
Yvette Bozsik: When the call for application was published, many from the profession of dance contacted and asked me to apply for the position. I had a great dilemma about what to do. I was thinking until the end of the deadline. Finally, I decided to run for Trafó. I made my decision because a serious professional community expressed its trust that my plan was not to create a dance theatre or having a place for the Bozsik Yvette Company. Many people think that I am able to represent a kind of openness that Trafó has been lacking in.
It could help to increase the number of Hungarian artist from a wider area to perform in Trafó. Enormous changes have happened in the area of independent art in the past two years. Everything that had seemed secure before got disrupted that time. The application system did not guarantee the possibility for companies to be able to work anymore. We had no financial support for a long time. Trafó should have fulfilled and should have had a helping role. We are not only committed to dance, so if we win, I and Csaba would like to integrate different art fields.
Both of us are lecturers. Csaba gives courses at the University of Theatre and Film and I am the chair of the choreography department at the Hungarian Dance Academy. I have taught some outstanding choreographers of the young generation such as, Éva Duda, Krisztián Gergye,  Zoltán Fodor. I have a personality which is able to retreat in the background and able to give. We will need these if we win.
Szinhaz.hu: If it happens, it might give reasons for new rumours to appear, specially, for at the beginning of the season, Géza Szőcs have suggested that the Trafó could provide permanent “roof” above the company of Ivan Marko and yours.
Yvette Bozsik: As I have said that time, I did not know about the idea of Szőcs, I was surprised as well. So, I would not like to go through this topic again, I closed it there, that time.
Szinhaz.hu: You say, if you apply you obey to the need of the profession with consensus, even though, you have said several times about how difference in the profession had gotten emphasized, people turned against each other.
Yvette Bozsik: Indeed, we’ve been struggling with each other too, however, I think, many people admit that we need changes to get over this. I have talked about it earlier that I don’t like this „taste-terror” which prevails in the Trafó. I do not like that Hungarian companies are forced out of the institution. It has been 13 years that György Szabó’s taste determinates the communication toward other countries and the picture they create about us. It is not only my opinion that it has to be changed.
Szinhaz.hu: Several Hungarian companies go to perform abroad. Why do you say that György is able to determinate alone the dialogue with foreigners?
Yvette Bozsik: The reason is that the Trafó is in a monopole situation for of its possibilities and infrastructure, it is part of the international blood circulation. György’s opinion has determinated the possibilities of the Hungarian companies about performing in abroad. The above mentioned communication and adoption skills are the ones we would like to change. Consequently, if we win, we, referring to contemporary artists, would like to move into wider media and convey more projects abroad.
Horváth Csaba: I would add that this intention can be found in Yvette’s application as well. We wish to make the Trafó more open to make the Hungarian artists feel good too and not to keep them under pressure with the permanent critical attitude.
Szinhaz.hu: There are some people who are afraid of Trafó might be losing its current profile…
Csaba Horváth: Those, who are afraid of that, are not informed well, for the call for proposal formulates some criteria that need to meet the profile of Trafó. Therefore, every aspiration of the contemporary art has to appear in the widest spectrum in intensive cooperation with the independent performing-art workshops. We have to aspirate to let young and innovative fine artists, movie makers, photographers, video artists perform. The next director has to organize workshops, exhibitions, discussion-events, and performing-series connecting to different art fields and so on.
Yvette Bozsik: I have always integrated different art fields during my work because I do not care about dance by itself. We would not change the profile of the Trafó, however, we would like to open toward the direction of experimental children theatre, baby theatre and highlight the integration of disabled artists and problems of the society. We would like to support international coproduction, invite choreographers from abroad to work with Hungarian companies. We would like to make the theatre field wider as well, to bring in stand-ups, improvisation theatre and support everything that moves the Hungarian artists’ situation forward.
Szinhaz.hu: Why do you cooperate?
Yvette Bozsik: Because we think similarly, we cannot be influenced easily and we are both brave and independent.
Csaba Horváth: Yes… And if we win, we would not like to let only one person’s view determinate the work in Trafó, he/she could have whatever kind of strong characteristic.  We would establish an art council in which several opinions could discuss with each other. We both find this significant.
Szinhaz.hu: Who else would be linked to Trafó?
Yvette Bozsik: We would not like to say names for now. It is plenty enough that we two have been attacked.
Csaba Horváth: On the other hand, if we win, we will have half a year to set details.
Szinhaz.hu: In a certain way you are not independent; you both have your own companies. What will happen to them?
Yvette Bozsik: The two companies would work in the institution as residents, so they would use the practice room. This is the practice in Western Europe as well. They would not have any advantage when we evolve the structure of the program. The Yvette Bozsik Company has a great deal of shows in different theatres. I would like to continue working with them in the same way we have been doing it together so far. I could manage my tasks at the company and leading the Trafó separately. My artistic ambitions would get into the background for directing the Trafó is a responsible work.  Precision and devotion that are my characteristics would be used in directing. It can be done only very seriously.
Szinhaz.hu: Csaba, what would happen to your company?
Csaba Horváth: The company will be in storms as it has always been. It will get in a little better situation if we can practice in the Trafó. Also, we could have ten shows in a year instead of only three. Therefore, those shows that we created in the Trafó would not get choked in a short time, but let me emphasize that we would not like to occupy the program.
Szinhaz.hu: György Szabó said in an interview if the Trafó keeps the adoption-like system and a company also moves in, the different functions could not fit each other. It is almost impossible to solve this infrastructural. There are one big hall and a small hall available with changing rooms and there is no storage room.
Csaba Horváth: It is not a plan that either the Bozsik Yvette Company or the Forte Company move in and will rehear 8 hours a day on the big stage. If our application wins, we would have a little more shows and rehearse in the practice room.
Yvette Bozsik: There is a system in my proposal that helps cooperation between theatres and Trafó would be connected to other venues where small performances for fewer receivers could be presented. The dying Bethlen square theatre would be one of these partners and Sanyi and Aranka Theatre and Átrium would among our cooperation partners as well. This would give a chance for more institutions to work under the management of Trafó and more rehearsal rooms would be available. Apart from that, actors who are not ready to play for hundreds of people would have the change to present themselves. Therefore Trafó would be able to support the whole under-financed independent, contemporary scene that is needed because the prospective law for performing arts augurs ill.
Szinhaz.hu: László Magács has just given an interview where he claims that Csaba’s Forte Company and Yvette’s Bozsik Yvette Company would be a hosted company in Atrium theatre if he gets that.
Csaba Horváth: It is not impossible even if we get Trafó.
Yvette Bozsik: There would be a chance to connect performances with the connection of Átrium and Trafó.
Szinhaz.hu: What else have you planned?
Yvette Bozsik: Trafó would set up and have a link to the Hungarian countryside as well. We would invite the award winning performances of Veszprém Dance Festival and we would keep an eye on the Hungarian workshops beyond the Hungarian borders, and not only theatre from the West would be introduced but from the East as well.
Szinhaz.hu: Yvette, you mentioned a staff backing you. If you were awarded with Trafó what would happen to the current crew of people working there?
Yvette Bozsik: I just referred that people we are surrounded by are happy with our movement and support us. But that does not mean that there is another crew who would replace the current one. Our proposal claims that there would be personal interviews held and common deals would be done with the individuals working there now. We do not want to change the crew because they have gained very serious experience.
Szinhaz.hu: How experienced do you think you are? This comes from an interview with Gyuri claiming: „The network Yvette has is built on her art, while the one I have is based on my management experience and network connections that has been built up in decades”.
Yvette Bozsik: Trafó does not only exist due to its directing manager because it is not a private institution and hopefully those contacts belong to Trafó and not to Gyuri. These international artists do not come here because he is the one who invites them but because Trafó is a good venue and these artists are well paid there.
Csaba Horváth: I do not think that we have a lack of professional contacts or openness and I do not think that Gyuri is in possession of secrets.
Szinhaz.hu: Your openness has just been called to account when you did not attend the conference organized by culture experts and professors to help the professional jury with their decision in the selection process. They claimed that keeping the current profile of Trafó is a public interest. Why have not you communicate about your plains?
Yvette Bozsik: I had been called a few days prior to the conference to take part. But I cannot be required to appear on a conference arranged by private initiative – moreover, I cannot be obligated to do so in any other case either. 
Otherwise it is frightening that you cannot apply for a position like that in peace. I am surprised that the question is still posed why young people have not applied…
Csaba Horváth: If someone has a good approach towards us it is a different case, but if someone is pushing that invitation and they are bullying about their intent „discuss your application with us”, it is obvious that we refuse.
Szinhaz.hu: Before your son was born, you had said that „Let the scene be happy that I will disappear for a while.” You can still be seen you if you get the position.
Yvette Bozsik: If I do not withdraw until that…. (Laughs) For us it is not about victory, the whole application is a gesture, it is a sign in itself. We are not applying against something but for something. From that matter there are things which balance the hostile gestures, for instance when my Bolero choreography created for Budapest Fesztiválzenekar is seen by thousands of people. What I can sense is that the level of communication in the media has lost from its merits but there are more platforms to express one’s opinion and these tools are used for hurting the other people.
Szinhaz.hu: Can’t you just leave those comments, reviews and notes out of consideration?
Csaba Horváth: It is hard to neglect them because the Eastern-European genetics makes you frustrated.
Yvette Bozsik: The creator believes if something bad is said as well as the good ones. It might be strange to hear this by me who has done a play using all the positive and negative reviews. I try to learn from every sign and try to analyse them. Otherwise the effect I have had due to the tender I will harness in my next choreography.
Szinhaz.hu: Csaba, are you also planning something like this?
Csaba Horvath: Me? Not.  I would like the next generation not to be frustrated by the critics or any unnamed comment crabs them. This is the reason why circumstances for creation with pleasure should be originated in which these artists can work with trust and prove them that they are taken seriously and with no chance for edging off. 
Szinhaz.hu: Has this happened in Trafó?
Csaba Horváth: Originality as it is has not been an advantage in Trafó despite the fact that authenticity is always about incomparable. Contemporary art is not one typed thing and it should not be judged by actual trends and fashion.
Szinhaz.hu: Yvette, you have mentioned that you miss women leaders recently. Why?
Yvette Bozsik: I think a woman leader thinks in a very different way, thinks in a very different way, and has a different approach, more open to things, looks for consensus, hosting, recipient. It is needed to help someone with their creating process. I have always been able to work properly if I had a mainstay.
Maybe it is time to give away what I got in a new form.

Berta Tóth, szinhaz.hu

Yvette Bozsik will disclose her proposal for the position of the managing director of Trafó House of Contemporary Arts only after the commission hearing and after the decision of the City on szinhaz.hu.