Linda Farkas (1980-2016)
A tribute to one of the most influential fire performers & costume creators of our times – Linda Farkas. From her dance performances to her outstanding costumes, Linda took her passion to the next level, creating bridges and merging arts.
A 360* degrees artist, multi-talented and so inspiring.
Linda was an exceptional dancer – like a ballerina unfolding in front of you, beautiful and full of emotions, strong and fragile in the same time. She was truly magic. And if anyone would ask if we believe in angels, we would point to Linda Farkas.
Linda graduated at Mihály Zichy School of Arts Hungary as a textile designer in the year 2000. In 2003 she founded with other young artists MAGMA FIRETHEATER, which was represented by her alone since 2005. She was worldwide recognized and celebrated, since her style of presentation and unique fire costumes opened new ways in this art genre.
According to the philosophy of Linda technical skills alone don’t make good performances, not even at the highest level. It is for them basic requirement, but alone is not enough. Due to this Magma Firetheater was a visual theatre whose purpose was to melt together different arts on the basis of dance and object manipulation.
In the performances of Magma Firetheater the spectators can see not only the fire as the main attraction, but UV light effects, video projection, outrageous costumes and stage design, as well as video animation and painting. Their performances had a story to tell, whereas often subjects from the classical mythology were reviewed.
Since 2005 Magma Firetheater was under the artistic leadership of one of world’s best fire dancers, Linda Farkas. She implemented her vision making the choreography, selecting music, designing the costumes and the sets.
Magma Firetheater has got the FRINGE AWARD at Budapest Fringe+ Festival in 2009 and was regularly taking part at big cultural festivals all over the world. From Germany to Italy, from France to Ukraine and from the USA to Egypt.
Here with L’Orchestre Symphonique du Festival de Saint-Riquier:
Conductor: Renaud Déjardin
“To play with my props on a very high level is very important for me, but this is not enough. A dancer should express feelings and thoughts with his/her movements.
Mixing juggling and dance is essential for me. I think the fire juggler scene needs pioneers searching new directions. Because the art and circus genre does not really appreciate fire jugglers. The technic has already reached a high level, but the presentation not really. You can hear pejorative every where, that fire jugglers are hippies, playing at trance parties. But I think it could enrich theatre and new circus as well. For me it is very exciting to do this job. There are so many directions to discover.
It is only the beginning of evolving fire theatre..
I understand, that a lot of people are doing juggling as a kind of sport. A lot of jugglers only concentrate on tricks, not on the presentation. I mean they try to present the tricks somehow but they are always focused on the part of the body that does the trick. For me full body movements during the tricks feels much more interesting. I think the audience enjoys it more in this way. I had 30 minutes solo shows several times in front of several thousand people with huge success. Of course it needs a lot of work to create a dance step with a high level trick. But it is only what satisfy me.”
“Conventions and fire festivals are very important for knowing each other and exchanging tricks. The same is with YouTube and Facebook. The fire juggling scene is changing very quickly, the progress is huge. Big respect for people who made tutorials, especially in contact staff Meghan Claire Pike and Sandy. They collected tricks from everywhere and loaded up to the net. But respect for everybody who loads up videos with tricks, these make the progress very quick. My first masters were Jay Maurel and later Jay Latuor. Two French incredible fire jugglers. I met them in Goa.”
An Interview with Linda
Courtesy of her loving husband Laszlo Banhidai we were able to publish these amazing photographies and her thoughts. Here – an interview with the fascinating and mysterious Linda Farkas, original text was published in the Russian Fire Journal Ogonek, in June 2012:
Hi Linda, thanks for having time to reply all these questions. I’ll try to borrow you as little as possible 😉 The first question is going to be rather typical. When, where, how and what for have you started to spin fire ?
Linda Farkas: I have been learning fire dancing and juggling for 10 years. It was a kind of hobby in the first couple of years, but when I met contact staff 7 years ago, I became immediately addictive to it. Until this time I played the spinning style. Now I am more interested in object manipulation and contact style.. These styles need a lot of practice, so I started to practice seriously and hardworking. Parallel to this I built up my project Magma Firetheater.
What about the Magma Fire Theater, is it only you or there is somebody else?
Linda Farkas: Magma Firetheater was established by me and some of my friends from different artistic genres in 2003. Since 2005 I represent alone Magma Firetheater, trying to fuse fire juggling and artistic dance. In the various performances I used to work with different fire jugglers and artists, like musicians, VJ’s, dancers, singers, poets. I always pay big attention to costumes and stage design. All our performances have something to tell, a story or an impression. We made performances about the Egyptian Goddess NUT, about the Moirae.(Roman equivalent: Parcae) in the Greek Mythology. They are personifications of destiny. They control the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. We made a performance about the origin of our Universe. This performance “ Raysailors” was until now our most successful, getting the Fringe Award at the Budapest Fringe Festival in 2009. This award was not only for us something special, but for the whole fire juggler scene in Hungary. Until then only classical, jazz or folk musician or professional dancers got this award. We had a lot of shows with this performance at big arts and fire festivals, in front of big crowds up to five thousand people in Budapest, Kiev, Paris , Gdynia, Istanbul, Cairo, Stromboli., Warsaw, Split etc.
Certainly, one of the most impressive features of your show is the unbelievable beauty of your costumes. Do you create it by yourself?
Linda Farkas: All the costumes are designed and made by me . They are a very important part of my art and self expression. The ones with fire are moving fire sculptures for me. They let me express different characters. The first one I made 6 years ago and since then I have been developing them constantly.
The things that always impresses me, is how you change your costumes so quick! Do you have few layers of cloth or…?
Linda Farkas: Changing the costumes during a show is always a big task for me. I used to change my costumes 2-3 times during a 20 Minutes solo performance. I have every time only 10-20 seconds for it. It is like a “quick change” number in a circus. Sometimes I use different layers, but sometimes I have to change the whole costume.
You are also well known as a good contact staff spinner. Each year you release new videos with many new moves. You practice a lot, don’t you?
Yes, I practice 2-3 hours 5 days a week. It takes so much time to find new tricks, to make choreography and to practice your routine.
Your shows are well known as a perfect combination of technique, choreography, and artistry. Can you share some of your secrets of how do you prepare it?
(I mean do you have any method or you follow the music or choose music for certain performance or some other features?)
Linda Farkas: The very important part of creating a choreography is the choice of the music. You have to love the song even then, when you listen to it a thousand times. I try to flow with the music. Every beat and break is a chance to make a special movement with the hands, feet and head. It is absolutely necessary to practice in front of a mirror and make videos to control yourself.
When I saw you practicing it seemed as if you had some certain plan for a practice session. Is it so? Do you work on your technique and choreography separately, or you practice both together?
Linda Farkas: After warming up I practice the new and difficult tricks. This is the time when I find new tricks and movements. I used to build the tricks immediately in a combo with other tricks. At the end of my training I practice only my routines.
Thank you Linda, at the end may be there are some other comments or advises you could give to those who would like to follow your path, a path of harmony of both technique and choreography?
At your performance it is essential, that you express something towards the audience. Technical skills alone don’t make good performances. Presentation is at least so important. You will impress the audience more when you combine high technical level, interesting body movements and flow with the music.
More incredible pictures: