EnKnapGroup / Maska, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2014
Directed by Iztok Kovač, Janez Janša

about the production

Choreographer Iztok Kovač, the founder of the important dancing ensemble EnKnapGroup from Ljubljana, and director, theatre theoretician and performer Janez Janša, now, in their fi ties, return to the cult solo performance by Kovač How to Catch a Falcon from 1991. It is impossible to step into the same river, and they don´t even try. The original solo is just a frame for their contemporary ideas about art and ageing, and a basis for their honest testimony about human limits. The original choreography is a beautiful pretext to celebrate dance and to be on stage again. For the perfectionist Kovač who understands the body as a potent, agile machine, it is not easy. He struggles, through the choreography he confronts himself with the production of his youth, and also with Janša who contradicts him. It is Janša who provokes Kovač to dance again, to question the limiting belief that ageing inevitably means the end of the artistic carrier to a dance artist.

However, there are no tired and disenchanted old men on stage. Their physical fitness is obvious even today. But even more precious is their playful confrontation with their own past, or rather, with their past ideals.

Their locomotive-personal dialogue is carried in a sympathetically civil tone; questions pertaining to the past and future are asked carelessly, charmingly provocatively, as if two friends were teasing each other. They juggle with the relativity of their opinions and ideas about why do we need the dance art today. They question their qualities as well as their past ambitions. The enchanting but mostly playful scenic storytelling is made dynamic not just by their diff opinions, but also by their different artistic directions and different temperaments.

Through the dance solo, thanks to which Slovenian art  made itself visible abroad, they return to the beginnings of forming the independent art scene in Slovenia after the fall of socialism and the break-up of the federal state of Yugoslavia. Therefore, the self- definition then and now is multiple. Contemporary dance, formulating as a genre its new direction freed from the pressure of tradition and old dance techniques, is being self-defined. A freshly originated nation is searching its identity and its place within the wider whole – the Europe – in independence. And young artist flies toward something in which he sees the promise of total freedom. Every self-definition has a common aspect – the desire to be unrestrained and to have space in which it can show its strength, just like a falcon.

Almost a quarter of century has passed since the premiere of How to Catch a Falcon. Where are today these two creators and how does the art scene look like? Iztok Kovač is even in the age of fifty flexible and fast, and Janez Janša is still as playful and surprising as he used to be. They both have come to know their own limits as well as the limits of the local art scene. Some of it they have already anticipated from the start, and at the beginning of the nineties they even prophetically named it. Much of what they have discovered later has proven to be inspiring for future creation. And namely with this consciousness, they step again into the old form tailored to the needs of a spontaneous, or maybe even naive young artistic explosion. Experience is dancing hand in hand with youthfulness.

Is the beauty and the agility of human movement, known by our grandfathers gathered around the physical training clubs called Falcon, really irretrievably gone, as the society is still obsessed with the ideas of a potent, healthy and impressive body? Falcon! is a never- ending struggle for perfection, for the effort to persist in movement and to never stop moving.
Maja Hriešik

“The humour and perceptiveness of Falcon! are missing in the performances of young dancers. They may be faster and more agile but lack the patina that can only be formed by endurance, life and creative experience. (...) Falcon! speaks of a subject matter missing from the current public debates: it discusses aging that does not bring along just retirement-related problems (...) but also quality, wisdom and humour.”
Jedrt Jež Furlan

“Iztok’s Falcon, aged 50, is elegant in performing its long sliding dance moves, even if slowed down, he is obstinately flexible, current and also highly appealing … The choreography of the memories and findings of Iztok Kovač and Janez Janša will be tailored slightly differently with each performance …, one could only wish for more than an hour of stage time with this performance.”
Daliborka Podboj: Paradaplesa.si Dance Website

„... There can surely be nothing better for a dancer than to free himself by catching a falcon. Here, the falcon is the element which on the one side dictates the movement (the renowned hand motion making the impression of wings flapping to the Unfinished symphony by Schubert); on the other side, the falcon is a metaphor of overcoming the limits of human body. And during the performance, the original mimetic identification with the falcon develops into a stubborn forming of the own style through the mixture of gymnastic movements, juggling with the chocolates, and passionate surrender to the dance similar to the curt movements of the bio-mechanics to the music by Laibach.”
Jela Krečič: On the anniversary the Mask is looking back and ahead. Delo, 18. 10. 2013



oncept and realization by Iztok Kovač, Janez Janša
assistant for movement: Tanja Skok
voice: Nada Vodušek
light design, technical realisation: Luka Curk
costume design: Valter Kobal
music: Sound recordings from How I Caught a Falcon, Venček Narodnih II by Vili Fajdiga from the album Za fuk pa špila gramofon, released by Nika Records, September 2009. Used with permission.
sound design: Tomaž Grom
video statements by: jonathan Burrows, julyen Hamilton, Mateja Rebolj, Renata Salecl
guests in videos: jonathan Burrows, julyen Hamilton, Mateja Rebolj, Renata Salecl, Marija Zidar kamera / camera: Nina Bučuk, janez janša, Carme Renalias, Anna Berger
video editing: julyen Hamilton, Amin Weber, Omar Ismail
graphic design: Omar Ismail
video from the performance The Immaterial World by julyen Hamilton (performed in Seattle, USA, 2012)
translations into Slovene: Marija Zidar
personal notes by Iztok Kovač, texts: Simon Kardum (Not bad, Ico, Slovenske Novice, 16/01/1992), Judith Mackrell (A foreign dream of liberation, The Independent, 06/05/1993), Aldo Milohnić (‘Agent slovenskega sna’, Dnevnik, 23/10/1992).
executive producer: Marjeta Lavrič
production: EN-KNAP
co-producer: Maska Ljubljana


Iztok Kovač (1963) – dancer, choreographer and teacher, has built the foundations of Slovenian contemporary dance in the cultural space of Europe and beyond. In 1993, he founded, under the wings of Klapstuk Festival, the international dance group En-Knap in Leuvene in Belgium, which moved the next year to Ljubljana as the EN-Knap Productions. After fourteen years of work in the form of individual projects, in 2007 Kovač founded the EnKnapGroup, the fi permanent international ensemble for contemporary dance in Slovenia which was working on the repertoire basis. Two years later, the management of EN-Knap Productions has been taken by the Cultural Centre Španski Borci in Ljubljana where Kovač is the art director and the creator of domestic and inter- national programme. Apart from thirty own projects, directions and pedagogical works, he has shot five dance films, and for his work he has won various prestigious domestic as well as foreign awards.

Janez Janša (1964, nee Emil Hrvatin) – theatre and film director and performer, for many years the chief editor of the prestigious Slovenian magazine MASKA. He studied sociology and theatre science at the University in Antwerp; he regularly holds interdisciplinary workshops in Europe and the USA; he created a series of plays about the status of art in the neo-liberal society. Starting in 2005, his work We Are All Marlene Dietrich, dedicated to the soldiers on peace missions, has been gradually shown in eighteen European cities. He is one of the three artists who in 2007, within their own artistic multimedia project My Name Is Janez Janša, have changed their name to the name of the controversial Slovenian politician and the prime minister Janez Janša. In 2012, the three Janez Janšas shot a provoking documentary about changing name, and in the same year they came to Divadelná Nitra with the play The More of Us There Are, The Faster We Will Reach the Goal.

Materials available

Video of the production: yes
Script of the production: SK, EN

If you are interested in these materials, write to archivy@nitrafest.sk