Article by Angela Schöpke (AL/DD Marketing Assistant)
“My emphasis is on the journey rather than the destination, on understanding the impulses generated by movements and gestures. I am constantly searching for authentic and honest movement. Derived from our most basic impulses, my dances use this principle to examine relationships between the individual and society, exploring communication, identity, memory, and spirituality, the relationship between people and their environment. That was the inspiration for my company’s name – DanceDrama—because for me, dance and theater are inseparable.” – Anabella Lenzu
As Anabella mentions, journey rather than destination is vital to AL/DD work. With AL/DD’s dancers moving into their second month of rehearsals for Pachamama: Mother World, we were curious about what their creative journeys have been like in learning the choreography, internalizing each of the thirteen different ritual characters, and of course for many – becoming new AL/DD initiates.
Pachamama: Mother World will be performed at Dixon Place’s FastForward Festival on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:30pm, and the full-length work as part of Sheen Theater’s Italian Dance Connection (IDACO) Festival on Saturday, May 28th, 7.30pm. AL/DD will also host an open rehearsal on Monday, April 18th at 7:30pm in Duo Multicultural Arts Center’s theater.
We started by chatting with Assistant to the Choreographer, Lauren, and apprentices Dina, Hope and César about their experiences jumping into Pachamama. Here’s what they had to say:
“Having gone through the process [of performing Pachamama: Mother World] once, there’s something familiar about coming back to it. Finding those characters, it almost feels like they never completely went away, I just have to find the place inside me where they are. I’m really glad to have the opportunity to do the piece again, because I feel like whenever you have the chance to perform a work that you’ve done before, you get to explore how far you can take it. You get to dig deeper into the characters and continue to keep them alive, give them more dynamics and more dimension. At the same time, I guess a lot of the process doesn’t feel like it’s changed very much when I approach this work from a performance standpoint. It takes just as much effort as it did the first time to embody or tell the story of these characters because they are so foreign to us as human beings in present day New York society, where there the characters are acting in ways their New York contemporaries never would.” – Lauren Ohmer
“I love the ritual behind the movement. I love that Anabella is looking at this ancient ritual and bringing it back into current society. I’m finding such parallels with human morality and behavior today and the rituals that these people did so many years ago. I think I’m somehow channeling these ancient characters, something very ancient in our own collective humanness. It’s almost like bloodline, but it’s this spiritual line, it’s this human line because I think the characters really deal with a lot of raw human emotions that we go through as we grow up, so it makes sense as a rite of passage.” – Dina Denis
“I think that this is one of the most intellectual pieces I’ve had to work through in dance. We have to take a character and become that character. It becomes storytelling. I’ve feel I’ve become a much smarter dancer. It’s a lot of things to think about and understand before doing it. As we work on the piece, I’m noticing more and more that the work is getting more and more emotional. I have to think about the characters every day before rehearsal to prepare myself. I have to think about Koshmek’s different mood swings, about internal energy for the Babies because they’re like rocks. I have to think more about how the character would experience a movement.” – Hope Parker
“Anabella really helps us develop the characters. It’s not only about the steps or the dance – it has a meaning to it. She has this thing called the inner chicken, which means that whenever you’re dancing you have to be thinking about something. So if you need to put your arm here, it’s not just putting your arm there. You’re thinking about why that’s happening the whole time. So it’s really hard, but then everything makes more sense. Everything is more specific. I’ve never worked with such a strong connection to a character so that I really understand more. You actually discover so many things about yourself that you didn’t know you had.” – César Brodermann
Many thanks, Lauren and apprentices, for sharing your thoughts! Stay tuned for dancers’ Sydney, Graham, Erik, and Kara’s thoughts on embodying Pachamama!