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Archive for the ‘Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama’ Category

  • As a writer, sharing my point of view of life with others is my duty and my pleasure.
  • As an educator, my perennial goal is to generate appreciation for and understanding of the arts and of artists.
  • As a choreographer, I investigate the interior logic of performance and the role of a dancer in our culture today, redefining the parameters of dance and theater.

My work reflects my experience as a Latina/European artist living in New York and comes from a deep examination of my motivations as a woman, mother, and immigrant.

My aim is to integrate mind + body + spirit. That’s why I write, choreograph & teach.  

Anabella Lenzu


On Saturday, September 16,  I had the honor and pleasure to interview Dominique Mercy in Brooklyn, after the show at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) where the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch presented Café Müller/The Rite of Spring. (SEP 14—SEP 24, 2017)

Dominique is a former member of the Pina Bausch Company (since 1973) and is presently the Rehearsal Director of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch as well as Vice Chairman of The Advisory Board of Pina Bausch Foundation.

He received me and spoke to me with open heart. Throughout our conversation he showed a deep self awareness as well as honest transparency.  After seeing him all my life on stage and in videos, I can say that he is as generous a dancer as he is a person.

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Anabella Lenzu: So I want to ask you about politics.

Dominique Mercy: Ahh that’s a trap! It is a trap!

AL: I know we should not talk about politics and religion, but how can we separate them when we are artists?

DM: I know, I know, it is part of our life, of course.

AL: That’s my question, do you think your career, your work, you as Dominique the person are a political act? Or how do you separate from that idea?

DM: If you relate or translate or describe being in society as a political one, which is probably the fact, conscious or unconscious, then yes. But I have never been some kind of conceptual artist. It is something that never, maybe it’s bad, but never really interested me to be involved in directly  —the political side of thinking in my career. It’s difficult to say why I chose this. I think it’s something which is so deep inside.

Until now, dancing has been a way of living. There were no questions. I did have some doubt on the way, maybe wished to do something else like singing or playing an instrument, but it (dancing) has always been a necessity and I never knew where it came from.

AL: The fact is that we are artists, we rebel. We show another level of consciousness  to the audience –that is what I’m talking about. What do you feel is your responsibility as an artist? Talk about Dominique in the world we are living in now.

DM: Well, we are exposed, and our responsibility is no more or less than what you have as a normal human being in society. Of course we are more exposed. I’ve always been very lazy to ask myself questions. I’ve been following my flows and my instincts because I really had an enormous chance to meet the right people in the right moment. Things have always been very organic for me. Even if I decided to quit or make a choice, I had the possibility to do it. I wasn’t forced to do it. It was just the moment to do it when it happened. So I consider myself very lucky in that way, and maybe that’s why I didn’t have to fight somehow. I had the chance to just concentrate on my work and what was inside me.

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AL: But how do you feel politically? Because as a member of a younger generation, I see different government approaches  —like in this country, we don’t have a minister of culture, never have and never will. How do you feel about getting support from the government? How does it influence your work?

DM: It doesn’t influence me. Of course in Europe, we are very lucky because there is this recognition in most countries of the importance of art for all of us. For the ones who do it and the ones who receive it and share it. I think it is incredible. On the other hand, of course on a different level, if you have to struggle for certain things and really struggle to achieve them, it gives art a tremendous value. In Europe, it’s not like money comes from the sky. There are a lot of young people we call freelance artists that are struggling. It’s not easy. You have to look for money and rent a place, and people aren’t being paid because there isn’t enough money. You know we all went through this somehow, more or less. If I understood your question, in the case of Pina, there is support from the city that hasn’t always been obvious, but has been incredible, even when she passed away. But it never ever influenced any of our work. Pina always did her work with sincerity and honesty. She didn’t try to please or provoke anyone. That’s why I’m always looking to express new things.

AL: Can you talk a little bit about how the idea of dance companies disappearing? Now most choreographers are freelance, or we see pick-up companies. How do you feel about how you became part of this artistic family, part of the magic?

DM: Well, the destiny of a family —you don’t choose it. It goes back to what we were talking about a little bit ago. The incredible luck she had to have this theater invite her to take over this ballet company. She brought people that she knew and had worked with and some other people she had worked with like me. Since the beginning it’s been people coming and going. In reality, we are together not because we want to be together —we are here because of Pina’s work.  It’s by being together and working in the studio, being as open as you can, trying to look into yourself, you get to know each other a little bit better. I think somehow the company is probably much more… let’s say consciously responsible, and together now that Pina passed away. When she was alive she was a magnet. It’s not like all of us like each other, we’re a normal group of people, but she was the one solving problems and disagreements or whatever it was. And suddenly she left us and right away there were less difficulties. Mourning is not an easy thing to do, but I think there was this responsibility we felt for her legacy. We sort of fit all together, as a part of something and don’t want to lose it.

 

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AL: So we talked about politics, we talked about family, what about religion? Last night I saw Rite of Spring and I see this community, and I was thinking —for you, is dance your religion?

DM: What connects us more is a spirituality. It’s being connected and being aware of something we’re still looking for, and we don’t really know what it is. I think in modern religion, there is something we don’t know. We all still look for it and try to understand.

AL: Did working with Pina give you this sense of spirituality?

DM: I don’t know if it gave me more than what I think I had myself. Well anyway, when you go through a collaboration with someone like Pina, you try to be honest, you go into a lot of introspection.

AL: What have you discovered within yourself while working with Pina?

DM: You know, for me it’s on different levels. I didn’t want to dance because I wanted to use it as a tool or because I discovered something, it’s always been there since I was a baby. So I think without knowing it, there is something spiritual about it. It came from inside. My mother and people around me could sense that and encourage it. And of course after a while you try to understand why. I’m not sure I know why yet. Also working with Pina makes you discover yourself because it’s so much about how she was working with us as individuals. It’s also like trying to understand why I dance, what makes me go in such a specific direction in most of my dancing. It’s something I haven’t really put my finger on yet. It’s strange because I’m aging, I sometimes feel the need to rest a bit. It is a strange spot, I don’t know.

 

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AL: Let’s talk about the dance audience. How do you feel the work is being received in the different countries?

DM: Well you know if you talk about New York, I think it’s one of the first cities where we really realized we didn’t have only a dance audience. There were actors, artists, I think it was an incredible mixture.

AL: But talking about worldwide…

DM: You cannot deny that there is an audience coming to BAM and coming for Pina. But I don’t know, maybe there is something magic about the audience and the company. When people talk to me in the street, they’re not dancers, and in the last few years I’m more in the audience, people come to talk to me and they’re not dancers, but they love dance. They are people looking for something in their life, it’s more than entertainment. There are so many people who say the company changed their life.

AL: How do you feel audiences in different countries nurture the work? How do the audiences in different countries influence the work?

DM: It’s different in a way. It’s always difficult to say this country or that one. Very often within a season in a city, sometimes you have a different audience every night so it’s difficult. But we were talking last night about a laugh in the audience, it’s always been like this since the beginning. I will never forget this, the very first time we did Café Müller, I was so concerned. We were shocked on stage, Pina didn’t understand either why people in that moment started to laugh. It stopped quite quickly, but they laughed. That’s happened almost everywhere because I think the audience doesn’t know what to do with it, and refuses to relate to what this means. I must say here in United States, this happens much more than anywhere else.

AL:  How do things penetrate the 4th wall on stage? Because at the beginning not everyone liked Pina, how did you take that?

DM: Well let’s be honest, you’re not looking for Boos or people leaving the house. When you believe in what you do, it can make you sad, it can make you angry, it can make you wise, but somewhere there is something that tells you, ‘whatever, I’m on the right path’ and that’s what I meant before. Pina never did anything to provoke or influence, because she had a lot of respect for the audience and was sad when things didn’t work. If we are there, sharing those things with the audience, of course we believe in it and we hope to connect with them in one way or another.

AL: And there was always a respectful dialogue…

DM: Yes. For instance, there is a piece which we did in Paris three or four times. The first time, the reviews and the audience were arguing between who liked it and who hated it. We came back 3 years later, and they all loved it. We went back again, and it was just like the first time, the same misunderstandings, people leaving, people loving it, audience members arguing. It was amazing that the piece still had the power to provoke questions! They don’t just clap, there is something sincere about it, but it was very strange. I think it was in the nineties, we were invited to Madrid for the re-opening of the opera, and we had two different programs there and with our first piece —people loved it, immense success. The next week we went back and did Carnation, it was amazing, people were boo-ing, leaving, clapping, some said that it wasn’t dance, people were screaming. That was amazing.

AL: How do you feel about continuing Pina’s legacy and honoring her work?

DM: Well I think, first of all I’m very happy we are where we are and to realize that the company is still here. I think the work has so many layers because we have this responsibility and I think it’s a deserved one. Pina’s work is so incredible, I think it has to be kept alive for as long as possible. For myself, after Pina passed away, co-directing the company has been a real struggle. Because it was an immense responsibility and on the other side, people need time to mourn. We had Pina as this magnet, sort of in the center of everything. It was a very pyramidal composition of people. And suddenly there were these two men chosen to hold the company. It was very difficult because Pina had the capacity to have this personal relationship with each one of us, and to give confidence in many different fields while pushing you to ask questions. By trying to carry all of this, we’re comforting all those sensitivities. It made things very complicated, to make choices and decisions. But still nevertheless, we were still aware of not damaging the legacy. This is the idea on top of everything else, and I think we are becoming a little bit wiser somehow, and I think there is a very beautiful dynamic within the company to take care of the work.

It’s so strange because of course sometimes just the fact that people know Pina is not here anymore, the artists say “yeah but.” Always “yeah but”. Yeah but, what? Because what we do now, is something that Pina taught us. Of course we don’t have her eyes, we don’t have her tremendous talent and instinct. But I think each one of us is receptive differently. I think she really did prepare for this, she started making revivals very early. She educated us so we could understand why she would suddenly split a role, or fix specific details, because for her it was important. She had been teaching us how to see and react. Of course there might always be something missing, and anyway I think it’s something you can’t change, because until Pina went, everybody more or less had the chance to work with her, see her thinking, struggling, choosing, and now we have about 15 dancers. And of course when you look in from the outside it’s a piece of Pina, but it’s becoming another company. You cannot deny this. It’s part of the process. I think it’s beautiful because it’s not always easy for these young people to compare. But nevertheless I think it’s amazing to realize how this new generation is consumed by the work and that’s fantastic, I think.

 

To see selections of Dominique Mercy dancing Pina Bausch’s works, click the following links:
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Help me get “No More Beautiful Dances” to the stage!
Both personally and politically, I endeavor to embrace the moment as a woman, mother and immigrant. I consider myself a worker in service of art and I feel it is an individual’s power and self knowledge that starts everything. You cannot take political action or be part of any community and be the change if you are not doing it yourself. This show is a testimony of all these changes and experiences as a specific woman in the performing arts.

Short Summary

My name is Anabella Lenzu and I’m a choreographer originally from Argentina, currently living and working in NYC since 2005.

I have over 27 years experience working in Argentina, Chile, Italy and the USA and  I am the Artistic Director of Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama.

 Artist Statement:

  • Art is a political act.
  • Dance is discipline and revolt.
  • My body is my country.

I react to my environment and use the body as a receptacle and messenger of the multiple realities that we are immersed in.

My work reflects my experience as a Latina/European artist living in New York and comes from a deep examination of my motivations as a woman, mother, and immigrant.

Performance is a conduit for examining cultural identity through form and content, as well as relationships between people and society.

Sharing my point of view of life with others is my duty and my pleasure.

As an independent choreographer with a dynamic company, it is a challenging and expensive venture to create work and perform in New York City,

In order to pursue a high quality experience for artists and audience alike, we have set a modest fundraising goal.

I invite you to participate in this goal and to share in the satisfaction of realizing a significant and meaningful process of exploration and discovery.

Thanks you in Advance! Anabella & Team

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Dear Dancers and Students,
  • Youtube is a great resource to expand knowledge about dance and artists. As a choreographer & dance history and dance criticism professor, I created a library on my page, which enables dancers to view and analyze historical and contemporary dance pieces. I created 70 playlists (with approximately 900 videos) organized by historical periods and choreographers. Please SUBSCRIBE to my youtube page.
  • Pinterest:  I created a board about METHODOLOGY of TEACHING DANCE.  Subscribe to see amazing images about anatomy, kinesiology, centers of energy to enhance your dance technique and get inspired by accurate imagery.
Have a wonderful Summer!
A hug, Anabella
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Exploring the importance of dance, community, choreography and dance pedagogy, Argentinean Choreographer Anabella Lenzu celebrates 20 years of teaching dance in a book of her writings in Spanish and English. Having opened her own dance school at 18, Lenzu recounts her experiences teaching in South America, Europe, and the US, as well as publishing an arts magazine and creating repertory for her dance company. Lenzu’s eloquent prose reveals reflections of a life devoted to dance performance and education.
Unveiling Motion and Emotion received an  Honorable Mention in the category of Best Art Book/ Spanish or Bilingual   from the International Latino Book Awards in San Francisco as part of the American Library Association Conference.
 

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Article by Julienne Rencher  (AL/DD Marketing Assistant)

Photos by Todd Carroll

I had the opportunity to discuss with Anabella Lenzu the revolutionary act of self examination, recognition and reframing yourself as a woman, dancer, and artist with her one woman show no more beautiful dances

J.R: How is “No more beautiful dances” different than your previous body of work?

A.L: This show is, I feel, completely different thematically from the past 11 years. I have been exploring choreography as a political act. Some shows were very political and talked about the society and the individual, some work was more about ritual and exploring the connection between performance and a ritual.

I feel that since my dad passed away in 2014, I have changed, partly because I did a show about him. I feel like life in New York City forced me to look internally to see what happened. This new show is like taking my vital signs to see where I am or who I am. I am not looking at themes outside of myself. It’s not about the socio-political, its not about ritual, its not about anthropological research, it’s about myself.

Also, I have arrived at a moment where I am 41 years old, I have two kids, my body has experienced a lot of changes psychologically, emotionally, and the show is about recognition, reframing myself one more time.

J.R: This a heavily political time in the United States, are you glad you are departing from politically themed work at this time.

A.L: As an artist, I consider myself as a worker in service of art and I feel that it’s an individual’s power and self knowledge that starts everything. You cannot take political action or be part of any community and be the change if you are not doing it yourself.

Over the years, I have found out things about myself in terms of how and to whom I give: as a mom I give to my kids, I give to my students, I give to my company members. Now I am looking inside myself something I have not done for a long time.

I feel that this show is a testimony of all these changes, all these experiences as a specific woman in the performing arts. Especially fighting with the idea of what a dancer needs to look like, because I am a trained ballerina. So just to examine your boobs and your belly… my body is a testimony to all these changes and to my whole life. It’s like when you see your wrinkles, it shows that time has passed and experiences passed.

I am interested in two things; the body as a container and the body as a tool.

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J.R: How did you use technology to more deeply explore themes of individuality and self recognition?

A.L: I use two cameras live, two projectors and two laptops. One camera is above and one below.

For me technology is like a magnifying glass, and I decided that I want the magnifying glass from above, and from underneath.

Because I feel that cameras are a portal to another dimension. The camera captures other dimensions that you can’t see in live performance. Even the eye cannot capture live so many details I really want to do this close up and this far away to show a different angle.

Basically I am choreographing a trio between the live performer that is myself and the two other images that you see from above and below. The technology is a way to frame myself. The camera shows another intention, another point of view in how it captures life and movement. I can offer the audience 3 different readings of myself.

You as the audience decide what point of view you want to see and when.

J.R: So you take the audience with you on this journey of self-examination. Were you ever afraid of exposing yourself so revealingly?

A.L: When dealing with your self, sometimes you don’t want to see yourself and sometimes I’m tired of taking photos of myself but I keep going because I think there is something else beneath the surface – who I am, who I really am. As performers we have so many masks, so I try to peel them off and find the other Anabellas. It’s an examination of self recognition and all the goals we have in our head. It’s fun for me!

About twice a week I take photos of myself as a way to see where I am, who I am, what’s is going on with myself, what interests me to talk about.

The things that you want to hide when you dance – that’s what I am going to show!

So Art is a rebellion. Art is about authenticity and identity.

J.R: How did you discover the movement for “No more beautiful dances”?

A.L: Movement as a symbol, as a metaphor to another state of transformation -that’s what I feel. There are different motivations of the things that I do, but through improvisation I can find the perfect gesture to convey these ideas using metaphor.

J.R: Describe the role of your dancers Dina Denis and Salvatore Cataldo in shaping the material?

A.L: Here is my creative process: I go to the studio, I improvise by myself 6 to 8 hours, I look at the videos, I take notes on the movement material that I consider interesting. I call the dancers, I organize the material on their bodies because I need to be able to get distance to work on my craft -meaning space, time, energy, all the articulations. I organize the design. After that, I re-learn the choreography myself and I do it. And then dancers are on the outside. It’s as if I am an architect creating a house. The dancers come live inside the house, and I also then later move inside the house. We talk about the experience of living in this structure and I change the piece accordingly.

The dialogue I have with them is fascinating, dancer-to-dancer. I make certain choreographic choices to suit what I would want for a man or a woman. It starts out specific, but I arrive at a universal message.

J.R: What is the universal message?

A.L: For me it’s about embracing who I am. That’s the whole thing. Embrace who you are in the moment you are in.

“No more beautiful dances” will be performed at IDACO Festival on Friday, June 2nd at 7:30pm at Baruch Performing Arts Center. Get your tickets HERE: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10150937

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SAVE THE DATE: FRIDAY, June 2nd, 2017 at 7:30pm
at IDACO FESTIVAL in NYC.

I will show a 15 minute excerpt of a new choreographic study entitled “No more beautiful dances”.

Come and see the beginning of what will be a larger solo show I’m working on as part of my MFA thesis.
“No more beautiful dances” wrestles with the ideas of exploration, introspection and reframing a woman after becoming a mother, and being an inmigrant. 
Through real and fantastic characters, Lenzu’s dance theater piece uses spoken word, music landscapes and photo projections to tell a personal vision of femininity, and 
what it means to be a woman today.
Choreographer and Dancer: Anabella Lenzu
Video Projector Design: Todd Carroll
Costumes: Jennifer Johanos.
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Gracias Danzahoy En Español por su reconocimiento y tan linda nota celebrando el 10 Aniversario de mi compania en Nueva York!
Gracias por valorar nuestro arduo trabajo y compromiso para con la Danza y el Arte!
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Gracias Agustina Lluma & Balletin Dance en Argentina

por celebrar mi década de Danza en Nueva York y por su apoyo permanente!!!!

“Diez años en Nueva York, marcan un intenso período de mi vida (de mis 30 a 40 años). Me mudé a Nueva York hace 11 años, me convertí en mamá, profesora en diferentes universidades y cumplí mi sueño de crear una compañía de baile en Estados Unidos (la primera que dirigí fue L’Atelier Ballet Contemporaneo en Argentina (1994-2000) y la segunda en Roma (2002-2005)”, recordó. “Vivir en Nueva York es gratificante, difícil e inspirador. Trabajar con bailarines de todo el mundo y con un público tan internacional, es el fuego que purifica mis ideas coreográficas”, finalizó la argentina que asegura encontrarse “feliz y orgullosa”.

http://balletindance.com/2017/01/10/una-decada/

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