It started with a general view but of optical illusion, and little by little I zoomed in and started observing all the details.The image of the bodies I had by then – of perfect, thin, elegant bodies – started to transform and I started to observe the asymmetries between them. Where it was supposed to see rigour, precision, automatism and lightness of movement, I noticed that with a sharper observation, all bodies had their singularities. The fatter, the thinner, those with small imperfections, those who were out of rhythm, those who were trembling, higher arms, lower legs – zooming I could observe more and more details – the ones who were nervous, insecure, the effort they were making. Faces with serious, panic and fearful expressions, and at the same time corners of lips twitching.They were not all precisely correct like they seemed to be in the beginning, like machines. I even remember one foot that couldn’t resist gravity!
With all the surgical observation I could see the stage, the black dance floor, the black box, the black cloths, and even the lights hidden behind the columns. There was a perfume scent in the room, I can’t remember exactly which smell, but I associated it to something important, exultant, a sensual and involving smell that filled all the room and the stage. In that moment, this smell was part of the show.
In 2003 I was invited to create a small piece (15min.) for Transitions Dance Company, a small London based company connected to Laban Center. The creative process took place during the month of November in Laban Center, where I worked with the 9 company dancers. This piece will premiere on the 26th of February integrated on a program with other invited choreograhers - Rafael Bonachela(Spain), Willi Dorner (Austria), Victor Quijada (EUA) and Roger Sinha (Canada).
In this piece I developed issues, concepts and elements that I’ve been researching and experimenting in my previous creations, such as questioning the idea of show and it’s repercussions on the way of thinking and acting of people as natural and cultural beings. I also worked on ideas that I intend to introduce and work in my new project for 2004. The starting point was to question the reason and the essence of an artistic discipline such as dance in our days and the need to create entertainment, interest and thought through performance.
I was interested by the possibility of using virtuous, dynamic and trained bodies. Expressive and mechanical bodies at the same time – the main substance of classical and modern dance. Bodies that are also trivialized in everyday life – the use of technique and of a codified and rigid vocabulary used as the support for the reproduction of certain social behaviours, versus an exposed individual identity, representing the frailty, the subjective, and the human error as dramaturgy.
Fundamental and inspiring was also the research and study of the work of Rudolf Laban, mentor and founder of the institution. Laban developed humanist theories, thoughts and techniques that were quite innovative, in the analyses of the relation between the body and the environment, nature and society, and their application to the performing arts. Quite interesting was also his interest for the individual qualities and personality, and the ways they can bring inputs to the creative process.
Issues like individual and collective identity, object, function and reproduction; cloning, creativity and musicality were explored in Transitions, that became an experimental exercise with references to great music-hall chorus, or even romantic and classical ballets that are always present in our cultural imaginary. This small piece created for Transitions Dance Company, became one more step of a profound and intensive research that I’ve been working through my work , and provided me important material for my next piece.
This new project came about after an ongoing research and reflection I’ve been developing, both artistically and professionally, since Antonio Miguel. After the experiences as performer for Francisco Camacho, a collaboration work with Jérôme Bel and the professional, personal encounter with Vera Mantero, this meant as a whole experiencing various projects of contrasting methods and aims, my artistic thought went through a profound, productive change. Zones of doubt, even of faults, opened up, but more importantly, of a search for my own identity.
The recurrence of issues related to authorship, process and result, lead me to transform working materials into contents that provide the main purpose of the creations themselves. On the one hand, there is a permanent need for questioning the pertinence of developing a dance piece, categorizing this area as an artistic discipline, as well as for questioning the statuses within such categorization, whether the one of interpreter-creator or creator- interpreter, or purely and simply, creator. Another dimension that emerged within me, as an author, was the need to take on a more stressed political and social stance. On the other, it underlines the conflict, at an intellectual level, between an art of the body, and its expression, and the need to think carefully on prior issues to the use of that same body, as for instance, the concepts involved with it and the ultimate goal of such activity. Is it possible for the pleasure of expressing oneself and a prior reflection to the carnal desire of that same expression to co-inhabit?
Therefore, and through the works I’ve been developing and presenting since 2000 (when Antonio Miguel was presented for the first time), my work gained a new dimension towards the intrinsic nature of dance, more than ever: although dance is seen often as something involving concepts of entertainment, beauty and its fruition, I have stressed the possible connotation of dance as a weapon of questioning pointed to the purpose of performances, to society in general and even the world.
With this new piece of work my aim is to ponder the whole of a cycle, in an ongoing process of what I’ve developed previously: the search for identity (Antonio Miguel), objects that are humanized and humans who are objectified (Notas para um espectáculo invisível/Notes for an invisible show) and the impossibility of uttering a language that corresponds to the most intimate desire drives of creation or the will for expression (/Date, place). A group piece is something usually associated to creators who have already reached a certain stage of high repute and peer recognition, and therefore are able to construct work of a larger dimension, in what both production and execution means are concerned. What I am looking for with the same work instrument is precisely the subversion of such logic, putting to use the same material means, or the ones I’m able to summon, as conditions for the carrying-over of the artistic, professional and social motives that make up my drive, ever since I’ve (re)initiated this course.
Conception and direction
Antonio Taglarini, Andreas Dyrdal, Cláudio Silva, Mário Afonso, Miguel Pereira, Nuno Lucas, Pedro Nuñez
Assistant to rehearsals
Carlos Ramos e Ricardo Madeira
Margarida Mestre, Rui Dâmaso
O Rumo do Fumo
Culturgest; Teatro Viriato
Artistic residency and support
CENTA e O Espaço do Tempo