Review: Derida Dance Company – “Zen Play”

In a retrospective May-June season that launched Derida Dance Center’s brand new Stage Derida in Sofia, Bulgaria (a former TV studio refashioned into a black box), the company presented artistic director Jivko Jeliazkov’s past choreography alongside works by emerging Bulgarian choreographers and other frequent collaborators.

Jeliazkov’s dance theatre work caries a signature kind of dark splendor. His pieces consistently impress with sharp attack and sinuous contortions, both stunning and effective as framing devices for social commentary and psychological exploration.

Zen Play is an evening-length piece that first premiered in 2015 but was revived for the season with the company’s current lead dancers Gergana Ilieva and Vasil Zelyamov alongside original cast member Marion Darova.

The piece opens with a deranged nurse figure (Ilieva) hovering over two prostrated patients in white translucent hospital garbs (Darova and Zelyamov). She makes her way around the space with jerky isolations of the body, a pair of white heels shuffling along. She clenches her bare hand into a claw and suddenly draws the hand towards the exam table. The other two dancers launch from the floor, impressively landing right on the exam table before rolling off and waiting for her next command.

Read the full piece at Dance Tabs.

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