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PAST EVENT | The Symptoms

The Symptoms, Hungary’s premiere contemporary dance/theater company makes its American Debut with their latest work, Apropos this October in Montclair NJ. Afterwards a workshop (screening&discussion) will be held at Abrons Arts Center in New York City. For more information about the performaces please visit Peak Performances' website.

Oct 21 | 7:00 pm | Abrons Arts Center | 466 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

Discussion and screening with Réka Szabó, Artistic Director of The Symptoms
The workshop at Abrons Arts Center in New York City is FREE and open to the public.

Balassi Institute - Hungarian Cultural Center presents a discussion and screening of selections from past works by The Symptoms at Abrons Arts Center. The Symptoms is a performance collective based in Budapest, Hungary, organized in 2002 by the dancer and choreographer Réka Szabó, who has been a part of the Hungarian dance theater scene since 1995. The company's work provides an important prism through which to view contemporary life in a post-communist society.

During the past 12 years the company has created 23 works, received 16 prizes and toured to 15 countries in Europe. During the program at the Abrons, Réka Szabó, Artistic Director will talk about the company as well as about the current status of contemporary independent performing arts in Hungary. She will also present excerpts from the company’s major dance and theater works, such as Vote, winner of „The Best Dance Performance of 2012”, a thought-provoking, interactive political dance performance; Nothing There or Do Dreams Go to Sleep During the Day? a visually powerful dance work mixed with real-time technology; and Alibi, a grotesque and humorous questioning of the self. Two short films created by The Symptoms will be also screened, Shadow Movie, winner of the Best Experimental Film of the 42nd Hungarian Film Festival, is a black and white abstract cartoon with live people and Mourning is a dark, beautifully filmed crypt-vaudeville.

The Symptoms receives funding from the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary.  This production was also supported by the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Jurányi Production House, and National Dance Theatre.

About The Symptoms

The Symptoms is a performance collective organized around the Hungarian dancer and choreographer Réka Szabó. Originally a mathematician, Szabó has been building her company with dancers and actors since 2002. The members of The Symptoms are not simply performing artists but fully involved contributors, whose personalities, creativity, and team spirit fundamentally define every work of the company.

The Symptoms pieces are carefully thought out, intellectual, and humorous creations mixing dance with text-based acting and movement. They typically use commonplaces as a jumping board, transforming them into grotesque, ironic, and often touching collages. The troupe works in a variety of formats, producing pieces for the stage as well as performances and free improvisations for public spaces and galleries.

The company recognizes no generic boundaries, handling text, movement, music, and visual effects as ingredients of equal rank. Fond of special technical solutions, they treat of everyday problems that preoccupy all of us, addressing these themes in a deeply personal language. In recent years in Hungary, social apathy has presented an increasingly pressing problem, forcing The Symptoms to change the audience’s attitudes of passive reception. They employ special tricks to dislodge spectators from their cozy roles and move them towards thought, even action. All of this is wrapped in a vision that is grotesque, self-ironic and poetic at the same time.

The repertoire includes genres as diverse as a dance performance informed by interactive video technology, a piece of political dance theater, and “life-disco”, as well as street performance and an interactive fairytale of a play for kids.

Over the years, The Symptoms have been invited to various festivals and venues in Europe, including The Place in London, the National Theater of Prague, the Schauspiel in Köln, the Tanzlabor in Bielefeld, the Savoy-teatteri Helsinki and the INFANT festival in Novi Sad. In 2014, their show Apropos was invited to premiere at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclaire University, New Jersey.

„Réka Szabó dancer-mathematician and her company are creating the most unusual performances of the present theatre scene, by mixing in many ways dance, text, music, drama and humour.

Réka Szabó doesn't care of the borders between genres, she is rather interested in language in wider sense. She quotes on stage texts of Thomas Mann or equally mathematical rules.” (Sisso: Réka Szabó – Treasure which exists)


- Rudolf Lábán Award – for the best dance performance in the year 2012 in Hungary, awarded by independent dance critics (2013)
Shadow Movie
- "Best experimental film" – Timishort Film Festival (2012)
- "Best experimental film" – 42nd Hungarian Film Festival (2011)

Nothing there or do dreams go to sleep during the day?
- "Most Original Exploration of One Segment of Theatrical Language" – INFANT Festiva (Serbia)(2010)

- "Grand Prize" – The Festival of Dance, Veszprém, Hungary (2012)
- “Grand Prize” – Alternative Theater Festival in Debrecen, Hungary (2008)

Review on Nothing There in The Guardian UK:

„Performed to thudding jazz, the piece plays out a waking dream shot through with bizarre terrors. Half-glimpsed tableaux reminiscent of David Lynch's film Eraserhead morph into surreal ballroom sequences in swimsuits and spats that pay homage to Pina Bausch.
Vignettes of pain, fear and sadness swim dreamily against a lighting track of eye-popping strangeness. Extraordinary.” By Luke Jennings.


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