Conception & performance

Josef Nadj, Joëlle Léandre



Aleksandra Pešić



Jacqueline Bosson


Lights & Technical direction

Sylvain Blocquaux



Julien Fleureau



Attila József



Centre chorégraphique national d’Orléans, Atelier 3+1



Festival OpenLook – Saint-Petersbourg (Russie), 4th july 2017



45 min

Penzum: that is the amount of work done in one day and which one has to account for. This term appears in a poem – never yet translated in French nor in English- by Attila József (1905-1937), a prominent Hungarian poet who influenced generations of writers and artists. Among them are Joëlle Léandre, musician, composer and performer and Josef Nadj, choreographer and visual artist. United by a mutual artistic fidelity, they conceived this duo as a tribute to the poet, nine years after their collaboration on Sho-bo-gen-zo.


In a mixture of choreography, music and drawing, Penzum stems from an improvisation. It is an “open” piece, as the artists say. Its form is always new, it is constantly written on the spot as a result of a total communion between the performers. By extension, Penzum can be perceived as the performance itself: it shows the work done to express the intensity of Attila József’s words. His poetry never ceases to operate on the heart and mind of both performers. It guides them, inspires them. It is a source of vital energy. And it also announces the tragic destiny of the poet. Don’t we hear the rising sound of a roaring train? Aren’t these rail tracks we see?


Just like the mask she is wearing, Joëlle Léandre produces a series of metallic sounds. Right next to her, Josef Nadj and his African mask with feminine features shapes the space in a black dress. But the metamorphosis is not that obvious: it is hidden in the drawings made of coal like many symbols of power. It lies in the sonorous eruption that possesses Josef Nadj who delivers with great force, in his native language, the words of the poet. It happens also, undoubtfully, in the final peaceful, dream-like sequence.


Marylène Malbert

Penzum - a poem by Attila József

This is like work, Penzum.

It will never stop. An endless work, an endless movement. It will never be over.

There is no truth, there is no truth. Even that is not that.

Working, always working. I don’t work, the dog doesn’t work either.

The workers work. They can die. That’s how it is for them.

It is so bad God doesn’t exist.

I have done something bad, I may have eaten a butterfly.


The bee collects the honey. Is everything proportional to what surrounds me?

Get up and walk.

My colon is as big as a horse.

Soon I’ll have to leave. I have to show myself that I am somebody except I don’t exist. Only others see me.

For now, I still have my neck. The train has not cut it yet.

My tongue has not been cut either.

But who can I talk to… ?

This is a fixed point.”



Raw translation by Josef Nadj, of Attila József’s poem « Free ideas » (unpublished in English)

Available on tour.



History :


13-15 mars 2019

Pavillon Noir

Aix-en-Provence (FR)


20-21 juillet 2018

Kalamata Dance Festival

Kalamata (GR)


4-5 juin 2018

Festival La Voix est libre – Lavoir Moderne Parisien

Paris (FR)


26 janvier 2018

Mac Orlan – Désordre Festival

Brest (FR)


2 décembre 2017

Desiré Central Station Festival

Subotica (SRB)


14 novembre 2017

Festival D’jazz Nevers

Nevers (FR)


25-26 juillet 2017

Festival Mimos

Périgueux (FR)


9-10 juillet 2017

Festival KoresponDance

Zdar Nad Sazavou (CZE)


4-5 juillet 2017

Festival Open Look

Saint Petersbourg (RU)