Anna Gulyas - assistant-choreographer in Rivers of Europe Project: Respect to the other's idea is something I highly appreciate in the project


The project “Rivers of Europe” is being completed by cultural organizations from 8 different European countries. It is financed by Culture Program 2007 – 2013 of the European Commission. The project includes the creation of a multi-genre performance in the field of contemporary dance, visual arts and music that explores the role of the European rivers in the cultural and historical development of the Old continent.

Derida Dance Center is the project partner responsible for the production of the contemporary dance part of the performance that will be presented on a ship and on dry land in 31 European cities, 11 countries in August and September 2014.

Anna Gulyas is a Hungarian dancer and choreographer. She works mostly in Hungary, but she also takes part in many international workshops and projects such as DCL – Slovenian based cooperation between dancers. She is currently working as a freelancer and studying choreography in Hungarian Dance Academy. In Rivers of Europe Project Anna is a rehearsal director and assistant-choreographer of Derida Dance choreographer Jivko Jeliazkov.



Have you heard of Derida Dance before?

Yes, because I have colleagues working with Derida. “Monocrossing” was realized with Central Europe Dance Theater. Also two Hungarian dancers were involved in ASA – Average Speed of Answer. I have many colleagues that have been working with them, so I’ve heard a lot and seen their work.

How do you find your work with Jivko, as you’re a choreographer as well?
It’s great experience to work with Jivko, because I know his earlier works, we had cooperated with Central Europe Dance Theatre where I was a dancer. I found his works very interesting then and I find it curious how he creates so precise and minimalistic structure and movements, how it is possible to build something like this. It’s nice to see how we are progressing especially in such a short period of time. It’s also very difficult for me because I’m a coach, director and assistant and I have to know what he decides and how he creates everything. It’s quite an experience.

Do you feel connected with the other artists and how do you see yourself in the project?
At first I was afraid of this entire thing, because I missed the beginning and joined the crew in the last moment and I had a very short time to get to know Jivko and his way of work. Basically I had two or three days before I came to Sofia. But actually I find it easy to communicate with Jivko, with the other dancers, the musicians, the video artist and the whole crew.  I think that’s because we all come from different countries, different artistic cultures and everybody is open for collaboration and cooperation. We are all excepting the ideas of the others. So I find it easy to be part of the project. I’m very happy that everybody accepts you for your experience. We don’t have that stressed who-are-you-to-tell-me-what-to-do situation. I appreciate that very much.

What is the biggest challenge for you in this project?
The biggest challenge for me was that I didn’t know exactly what was going to be my role here, so I couldn’t prepare for it. But it turns out that I’m in my most desirable position – to know what everybody is doing and to synchronize them. For example I have to know what the dancers are doing, what the musicians are doing, what  Jivko wants from them and to explain that. For the projection I have to know the timing, so it’s a very complex work.

Is it important for you that the musicians are working here with everybody?
It’s much better that the musicians are here, because we had only the bases of the music and now we can see how they think about the music – being partly recorded and partly live. It’s easier for the dancers to understand and learn the music before appearing on the stage.
The harder part is that we have very short time to adjust to each other. This is what the musicians, the dancers and also Jivko are afraid of. But this is a usual problem. After all, it’s best that we’re here and work together.

How do you see the concept of Rivers of Europe Project? What do you think of the river metaphor?
At first I was wondering how come nobody organized this kind of a project before, because this is great area to do art projects. The river gives structure. You can hardly find this idea of the river not being only water, or being a border, but being a medium for all the people that live nearby. I’m really glad that someone thought of it like a place to do an art project, not only like a resource, for example. The only pity is that it is happening only in Europe.
One more positive thing is the change of cities and audiences that the river offers. It is very helpful for the dancers that they are going to have so many different people seeing the performance, with different temperament. That gives us perspective and experience.

How do you see Sofia so far?
I like Sofia very much. I was surprised that it’s very easy to understand how the city works. Also so many people speak English, except for the bus drivers. It’s a nice place to live. 

Interview by Tzvetina Vesselinova


More about the Rivers of Europe Project you can find at http://www.riversofeurope.org/ 

The project is  supported by the "Culture 2007-2013" program of the European Comission.



 The project is co-financed by the “Culture” Program of Sofia Municipality for 2014 and is being realized in support of the candidature of Sofia and the Southwest Region for European Capital of Culture 2019.