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Hungarian choreographer to give Japan a rare treat

by Tai Kawabata

Pal Frenak, a Hungarian-born choreographer based in Paris, is coming to Tokyo for a show that will see him both choreograph and dance for the first time in Japan.

Frenak’s connection to Japan dates back to 1998 when he won the Kyoto Villa Kujoyama choreography award. He has since returned only to choreograph.

The choreographer’s upbringing heavily influenced his ideas about dance. Born in Budapest in 1957, he was raised by deaf and mute parents. So it is not surprising that he attaches great importance to facial expressions, gestures and the use of the body as a means of communication.

He moved to Paris in the 1980s, where he learned the techniques of Jose Limon and Merce Cunningham. He established the Pal Frenak Company in Paris in 1989 and ten years later the company became a joint Hungarian-French one.

Frenak’s choreography employs contortionist body movements near the floor, resulting in a strong, almost torturous expression of eroticism.

In the coming presentation, Frenak will perform a piece entitled “Mennono.” Kristof Varnagy, a member of his dance company, will perform a piece entitled “Trace.” Varnagy will also hold a dance workshop in the days following the performance.

Trace & Mennono will be held Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. at Session House, 158 Yarai-cho, Shinjuku-ku. Get there from the No. 1 exit at Kagurazaka Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Tickets are ¥3,500 in advance (¥3,800 at the door) and ¥2,500 for students. Varnagy’s workshop will be held Sept. 21-23. For more information, call (03) 3266-0461 or visit www.session-house.net.