Tomaz Simatovic (1978) is a Slovenian-born choreographer, dancer, performance artist based in Austria, developing his work interdisciplinary through performance, dance, choreography, research, teaching and writing. He is engaged in soloist and collaborative artistic practices in the intersection between movement art, live art and performance art in conventional and unconventional spaces. His aesthetic is conceptual and performative with an activistic attitude. Tomaz is collaborating or initiuating developing participatory art practices (“The way You Touched Me Tonight”, and parts of the event “Back to the Beautiful”), and simulatneously developing the concept for active participation Participatorium (a space for participation made performative). He works with dance as a somatic and investigative movement practice, a form of physical, interdisciplinary and movement art. Tomaz is also writing Publica(c)tion (a collection of essays thematising large-scale dance rituals and phenomena as forms of protest). He graduated in dance at SEAD Salzburg, and gained his MA degree in choreography at the ArtEZ institute of the arts (NL), focusing on choreographic and performative translations of the notion of the figure (Gilles Deleuze), based on the art of Francis Bacon. His MA thesis “Per-forming the Figure” has set a starting point for the development of Performative Figuration, a somatic and theoretical approach to the concept of figuration as a performance practice, which keeps developing in the frame of his collaborations with George Blaschke. Tomaz has experience in curating festivals and workshops, teaches dance regularly at the Mozarteum/Carl-Orff-Institute, and has worked as a guest artist at the Falmouth University in UK, central Europe, China and USA.
Before gaining his degrees in dance and choreography Tomaz studied electrical engineering and worked professionally as a dancer in Gledalisce Koper (Katja Pegan, Sinisa Bukinac). In 2003 he moved to Salzburg to study dance performance at SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance). His dancing has been greatly influenced by studying dance, improvisation and somatic approaches to movement with Milan Kozanek, Mia Lawrence, Matej Kejzar, David Zambrano, Libby Farr, Joao da Silva, Susan Rethorst, and Julyen Hamilton.
From 2003 to 2006 he regularly returned to Izola, and collaborated on the integration and development of dance locally, as training and performance. Together with the cultural association (Erato) he co-developed a series of summer workshops (Plesni kampus Izola), and co-initiated a dance festival (Momenttum).
From 2007 he has performed with editta braun company, with whom he collaborated extensively for 5 years, as perfomer and assistant choreographer. Tomaz has as well worked with Hubert Lepka (in Hannibal he performs in the main role), Uwe Bertram (Richard Der Dritte), Shlomi Bitton (Abseits for editta braun company), and Andreja Rauch Podrzavnik (Melodies of the Beginnings), amongst others.
In 2010 Tomaz focuses on choreography and research. He moves to The Netherlands, and enroles into the MA program in choreography at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, Arnhem, where he was mentored by Joao da Silva, Ric Allsopp, and Konstantina Georgelou. At ArtEZ he begins developing a strong interest in interdisciplinary research in performance, blending art disciplines and their relationships to inspire forms of presentation, and conceptual thinking. In The Netherlands he creates few shorter works: Episodes, followed by The Night Keeps Us Calm, a solo performance in collaboration with Julian Barnett. In the attempt to define the choreographic operation of figuration (a process of representing the human body in visual and plastic arts inform choreography) in performing arts, he is inspired by the notion of the Figure, found in the work of the painter Francis Bacon. His MA thesis "Per-forming the Figure" is a cross-disciplinary artistic research between choreography and figuration in figurative arts, and displays a theoretical and choreographic study to solo composition in performance.
In 2011 Tomaz becomes a member of tanz_house Salzburg up to the present day. He begins to teach contemporary dance as a faculty member at Universität Mozarteum/ Carl-Orff-Institut Salzburg where he still works as a dance pedagogue in the department for "elementary music and dance pedagogy". His work at the institute is to bridge the pedagogical practice with concurrent streams of contemporary dance practices, and bring students of pedagogy closer to the professional training of dance. At Orff Tomaz approaches dance as a proprioceptive practice through synthesis of contemporary dance techniques that work with flow and floor, focusing on the work with spine and the dynamic of wave.
His MA research concludes with staging The Entertainer in 2012, co-produced by ARGEkultur Salzburg, and supprted by the local and national funding. In this work Tomaz represented four cabaret figures, in form of performative portraits. With this work Tomaz begins developing a performance practice, which will be later on known as Performative Figuration.
Tomaz visits the I.CI - Centre choreographique National de Montpellier twice (2013, and 2015), granted with scholarship (danceWEB/Jardin d ´Europe, Life Long Burning Scholarship Program) for participating at the ex.e.r.ce (MA program in choreography) with guest artist residency. At I.CI he studies with Mathilde Monnier, Löic Touze and Mathieu Bauvier.
In 2013, by the invitation of Ric Allsopp, Tomaz travels as a guest artist to Falmouth University Performance Centre. After returning to Salzburg Tomaz has teams up with the composer Matej Bonin and performer Mirjam Klebel to research on relationship between contemporary music, dance and empathy in performance. They begin to devise a dance inspired by granular synthesis, a program in electronic music. The work has opened up a space for a collective creation - Paradise on Stage. Returning to Falmouth in 2014 with the new collective, Tomaz continues with this work, in form of research and teaching at the Falmouth University dance program.
In spring 2014 he is invited to create work for Toihaus Theater in Salzburg. Inspired by the performer Ceren Oran and violinist Gudrun Raber-Plaichinger Tomaz conceptualizes and directs Pulse, a full-length performance in form of a performative concert. In fall 2014 Tomaz accepts to co-curate (together with Anna Maria Müller) the new tanz_house Festival, Out of nothing. In December 2014 Paradise on Stage premieres in co-production with ARGEkultur Salzburg. In 2014 Tomaz as well writes a contribution for the 8th edition of the Danswettenschap in Nederlands, (Figure, The Leap of Sensation) an article about his MA research and choreographic work inspired by the Figure.
In 2015 Tomaz begins to focus on the idea of dance as "physical utterances" and exhibition of empowerment . He is invited by Donna Jewell to lecture in dance and choreography at the UNM Albuquerque Dance and Theater Department, USA, where he spends 3 weeks developing his work in the directions of movement-sensation, dance as exhibition. He collaborates with Stuart J Smith (musician/composer) on "if i could only reach you" (commissioned by UNM Albuquerque, USA).
In 2016 and by invitation of Toihaus Theater Salzburg he writes an extensive essay (Hard times require furious dancing) thematising large-scale dance rituals and phenomena such as rave culture, and choreomania, as forms of celebrations and protests, dancing demonstrations and celebrations against socio-political tyranny, where the meaning of dance as an act of recreation transcends into a political act. Tomaz rewrites Hard times require furious dancing, and begins concepualizing a larger collection of essays "When dance sociliazes", which is meant to become a publication exhibited as a work of art. Simultaneously he begins conceptualizing Anatomy of Effort (a new solo work where the performance artist looks to exhibit his body of work at the t_h festival Salzburg 2016). He presents this body of work as an exhibition, announcing the actual idea of "Publica(c)tion", an umbrella project, which is meant to shelter and joint his writings and research in large-scale dance rituals and phenomena, giving to the research new meaning, an ongoing body of work.
In 2016 Tomaz has began to collaborate with Georg Blaschke/M.A.P. Wien, on a series of performances FLUID FACts: Fluid skin has been presented at the Andrea Jünger Gallerie Vienna, and Fluid Theatre has been presented at the ImPulsTanz Festival 2016 at the Leopold Museum in Museums Quartier Vienna (July). In 2017 Tomaz continues his collaboration with Georg Blaschke in the performance Antonio´s imaginary workshop at WUK Vienna. In this work Tomaz returns to his MA thesis in Performative Figuration, this time analysing and translating the work of the sculptor Antonio Mak into a choreographic language.
In 2017 Tomaz begins working on two participatory performance projects: "The Way You Touched Me Tonight", a participatory performance project in the intersection between performance art, live art and activism. The poject is developed in collaboration with Mirjam Klebel, co-production with SZENE Salzburg, and cooperation with Südwind Salzburg.
Back to the Beautiful