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Photos ©: 1 and 10 Konstanze Winkler, 2 Adam Kliczek, 3, 4, 5 and 7 Kuba Cichocki, 6 and 9 Magdalena Owczarczak, 8 Krystian Pisowicz
Graphics/WebDesign: Konstanze Winkler
We here at „Hagalla’s“ like to take a look at what’s going on in Eastern Europe and have already detected many interesting dancers. Iza Logonowicz is one of the most important dancers of Poland. She has performed abroad and won many prizes (for instance 2014 she was 2nd place at “Tribal Star” contest at Tribal Festival Hanover).

She also organises her own festival, “Tribal Vanguard” in Poznan, 12th - 15th November, and she writes in a very charming and entertaining way.

Check it out …

"THEY HAD THE SAME FIRE
IN THEIR EYES AS ME"

Interview with Iza Logonowicz

- by Marcel Bieger

Did you have any dance training before Tribal Fusion? Do you have a day job besides of dancing?

I have to say that I don’t have a typical dancer’s biography, I have not been dancing since my childhood, what more - I haven’t been interested in dance till my studies! As a kid I have been avoiding any physical effort, but I have had some art inclinations. Drawing, painting and music were my favourite forms of art and I was a typical introverted girl living in my own world of imagination, drawings, sounds, and colours. After high school I decided to study at the Academy of Fine Arts and I graduated at Photography Department. I think that was a very good choice. Art studies keep your mind open and creative in a very natural way.

At about the same time I started to dance and yes, for most of my time I have had a full time job as a photographer. Is it hard? Maybe, but I was so absorbed in my passions that I didn’t notice how much time and effort it takes.

I was doing things that I love to do, so it was much easier to spend long evenings for dance and long days in my job. Now I do mostly dance, but I still work in these two fields – photography and dance and I like to be in both as a dancing photographer or photographing dancer.

First was belly dance, later I started to do yoga and other basic dance forms - jazz, ballet and contemporary dance. I love modern dance and after tribal fusion that’s my next favourite dance style. Tribal dancers have a lot of stories like mine. What I love in belly dance is that it’s not a must to dance since childhood to become a belly or tribal dancer. We are people from different communities, with different professions, we have a different life stories, and it is so fascinating!
How did Tribal Fusion find you and why did you stick too it

Oh, Tribal Fusion found me totally by coincidence. It was one of the biggest surprises for me that dance came to my life. I had just graduated my art studies and maybe very intuitive I have found a new way to express my emotions. Dance is so different from visual arts. You don’t need words nor images. Dance can go through some nameless emotions and energies in your body. I don’t have to name them. If music is the purest form of art, for me dance is the next one.

One day I saw in TV some belly dance and I thought it could be fun. I found classes. That were my first dance classes ever. Of course I was a typical, terrible beginner! I felt like a few pieces of wood without any connections between my body parts. But I was so, so curious if could do all of this strange belly dance moves… I started to practice and practice and practice… anytime, anywhere… That was, how it started. Later I saw some “different belly dance” videos. This was tribal fusion dance. I was totally blown away. I watched more and more. I forgot about the whole world around me. I wanted to try this one style more than anything.

In these times there was only one tribal teacher in Poland, Yolanda.
I started to travel all around Poland to take her classes and I have met other crazy girls like me from the whole country, with the same fire in the eyes. So I was home and that was my new dance family. Later we traveled together for some international workshops with a huge hunger for dance. Many strong emotions we had and a dance community. Now that sounds so naïve, but I have a big sentiment for my beginnings. That’s how Tribal fusion found me.

No matter what’s going on in my life I still keep on dancing. I was asking myself for many times why I do that. Of course, because I love it - including all feelings hidden in the word  “love”. Sometimes I hate it, or I’m bored, or l want to go somewhere else. But then I think: ok, I should come back and do some practice! And like old lovers we start again. Dance keeps me alive. When I feel my feet, my bones, my muscles I feel more present, more “here and now”. When I dance I need to concentrate, to breath, to keep my mind clear and disciplined.
I love this feeling. Dance needs repetitions, systematic and humility. On some level dance makes me a better person. And now tribal fusion is a strong part of my life and I can’t imagine it could be different.

In tribal fusion style I love everything. I love freedom. Freedom of my music choice and freedom of costumes. I love to be inspired by so many things and to fuse them in my dance. I adore to create costumes. I love to be a strong dancer and a soft, liquid, feminine body at the same time.

You have won many prizes for your art is there anything you still want to achieve in this department?

Hmm, for the moment I think I feel satisfied. I don’t need competitions as much as before. There was a time when I was looking for some confirmation of my skills and it was a good idea to see yourself in the eyes of the jury. Constructive feedback from people that you admire is always a good lesson. And being a winner can give you wings! I have to say that for me as a pretty nervous and rather shy person every contest was a big challenge. I was always so scary! But doing this again and again helps me to overcome those fears. Competitions make you stronger, even if you failed. Now I’m much calmer, when I’m on the stage.  After all I have one, the most important reflection: to be interesting in that, what you are doing, you should look inside yourself and take the inspiration from there. This is the best what you can do. Only you know how to do that.

The most experienced and recognizable tribal fusion dancers are Anna Redlin, Yolanda, Dominika Suchecka. They do a great job for Polish tribal community. ATS® is very strong here and dancers take care to dance in pure FCBD® format. There are many tribes and many forms of tribal fusion style. In every big city there is at least one tribal teacher. We have more and more tribal fusion festivals and events and I hope that Polish dancers will be more reknown in the future. Tribal as a dance style is very well known in a belly dance community, but for “ordinary” people it is still not a popular dance form. 

Is there a special Polish Tribal Fusion, means, do your artists include Polish folklore or other into their dances?

This is a tough one, but I don’t think we have any special Polish fusion style… Of course we have many inspirations (for example Balkan or Klezmer music) and every dancer has something special for her, but elements of our folklore seem not to be popular. In ATS® Polish folklore is more present and many ATS® groups dance to Polish folklore music and wear costumes inspired by our heritage. We have some great music bands like Dikanda, Cracow Klezmer Band or Masala Sound System, who mix influences from many different cultures and tribal dancers like to perform to their music.

Tell us more about your group "Dada Masnada".

I founded the group in 2013. I was looking for some tribal fusion dancers to get together and try to work in the group, because I never did it before! At the beginning it was totally crazy. We had 8 members - a few students of mine and a few friends-dancers, but we were from different cities. Some girls traveled for long hours to get for our dance meetings!
Long weekends, rehearsals, pizza… After maybe two or three months our first epic choreography was ready. We went for a competition to check what others think about it and we won a third place. That was so nice and such fun! Later the group was changing for a several times. Some people gave up, some girls didn’t have the time anymore for a long travels, some new wanted to try. Since the last year I work with a smaller, but proper group. We all live in Poznań and we have regular rehearsals. We like to learn new things and to experiment.

I’m also the main dressmaker and I sew all of the costumes. We perform at festivals and events in Poznań and other cities. Now we work on a new, fresh choreography for the Tribal Vanguard Show.
The Festival idea was born around two years ago, between my friend, co-organizer Alice, great tribal fusion dancer and teacher from Wrocław, and me. In that time nothing was happening in Poland nor had anything happened for a long time. No international teachers, no festivals. Once we have met and we have spoken about it. We had one conclusion: something should happen in our dance community! I wanted to organize some workshops, but Alice came up with the idea of an international festival with the name „Tribal Vanguard” and we decided to cooperate and work together. We live in a different cities, Poznań and Wroclaw so festival take place alternately in this two cities (there is a distance of 150 kilometers drive between them). First we had a small event - summer camp - with Ukrainian dancer Maria Fomina, which was located in the mountains; the second event was with Michaela Sladeckova fro Czech Republic in Wroclaw, Poland and third the international edition was organized in my city – Poznań, with Samantha Emanuel (Great Britain) and Manca Pavli (Slovenia). These two ladies are loved by the Polish tribal community, so the festival was sold out before the summer!

Speaking about my co-organizers I have to mention also Monika from Dance Association “Dalaya” in Poznan. Monika is my right hand and a head of this organization and what’s more, an enchanting belly dancer and teacher. Her Association is engaged in promotion of oriental and tribal dance in our city, so we do hope the festival will have a special place on a cultural map of Poznań. Tribal is still not well known enough over here for attracting a larger audience and we do our best to show our passion for local people.
Who are the stars and starlets of this year's festival.

This year we invite two gorgeous dancers and teachers, Ashley Lopez (USA) and Anasma (France/USA/Vietnam). I think they are so well known in the tribal world (and not only there) that they don’t need any introduction. This is a great opportunity to take classes from such different dancers and get something special from their huge experience and their individual style. For Ashley that will be her first visit to Poland, Anasma was here once, but that was many, many years ago, so we are very excited to host both of them in our country.

Besides Polish dancers, some international participants will come and we are also very happy that they decided to visit Poznań.
What are your plans for the future?

Thinking about my festival plans I would like to do more projects like this year’s Art Project. It’s a very special master class with our stars dedicated to improvisation with a live music. We will work for two days with musicians and on Saturday Show we will show the results on stage. I love to improvise and this kind of workshops was always missing for me in Poland. I do hope that will be a great experience.

In my future plans I would love to create a space for dancers for skill sharing, for cooperation and for a miscellaneous developments. Shared work and exchanged experience always bring great benefits.

In my personal plans I wish to find more balance in my passions and find enough time to do everything I wish to do. Right now I’m completing my Pilates course and in the next weeks I’m going to be a certified Pilates teacher.
Homepages: www.tribal-vanguard.eu
Iza
at facebook ...
How is the tribal and tribal fusion situation in Poland (we know quite a few classical belly dancers, but only very few tribal fusion dancers from Poland)

Oh, we have some really great tribal and tribal fusion dancers in Poland. Mainly they are well known only in Poland.
You organize (with others) a famous festival, the "Tribal Vanguard", why did you start this and why do you do it again, this year? What is the idea behind the festival?
I find myself very good as a organizer and despite of tiredness, the festival gives me a lot of new energy and fresh ideas for the next editions. That’s why I decided to do it again. Festival is such a special time sacrificed only for dance, dancers and everything else connected with my passion. I make a smile on others faces. How can I don't love it?
We will host Noemi Loranca from Spain, 2nd place winner at the “Tribal Star” contest in Hanover, Germany this year. We sponsored her a slot at our festival and we really appreciate her dance . Noemi will dance for us at the show. Speaking about the Saturday Gala – we will have another great guest from Madrid – male fusion dancer Arnaldo Iasorli and some performers from the Ukraine, Czech Republic and Sweden. Another guest of the show is the winner of a last year’s contest - Natalia Niezgoda. Some more Polish dancers will take part in the show as well. The line up is not completed, yet, but we will let you know as soon as possible. What more do we have - a special Polish guest- Indian dancer Magdalena Niernsee. She will show us us Kathak and she will teach a small Kathak workshop for fusion dancers. We really look forward to see them all soon.
Dada Masnada
Dada Masnada