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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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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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Hi Friends and Supporters,
Thanks for celebrating this 10th Anniversary year of Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama and for being by my side!
Humble, Happy and over the moon to receive these amazing reviews of my work/performance last week at the Argentinean Consulate in NYC. Enjoy them!
1) Attitude: The Dancers’ Magazine . Article by Madeleine L. Dale
“Anabella Lenzu presented excerpts from her work of the ten years of her New York-based company, there was a love-fest among critics. We couldn’t help ourselves. We burst with the joy of having seen and experienced stirring, intelligent artistry. “
“..Her choreography’s dynamism is fueled by a revolving door of intensity, self-awareness, melodrama, and/or ritual. This holds true whether the movement is more theatric-based, modern, folk-inspired, or a fusion of many forms.”
“Lenzu has been described as an “Argentine firecracker” which nicely sums up her large, passionate nature as well as her intense commitment to the creative process. She has developed a beautifully integrated approach to dance and theater which will continue to serve her and her fine company going forward.”
SAVE THE DATE: 
Sunday, Nov 13 from 3-5pm, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Come and support us!
Stepping Out,  Photographic Exhibition by Todd Carroll.
A new collection of photographs made while wandering about, seeking out quiet, when light trickles down, over and around leaves and trees, restlessly looking for still images.
During the opening there will be photographs for sale to benefit AnabellaLenzu/DanceDrama
FREE. Limited Admission.
RSVP required: info@anabellaLenzu.com

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Barre a Terre with Anabella

CLASS SCHEDULE STARTING May 4,  2016 /   BARRE A TERRE (Open Level)

  • TUESDAYS  7:30- 8:30pm  
  • WEDNESDAYS  10am- 11:30am
  • THURSDAYS  7:30- 9pm
  • FRIDAYS  10am- 11:30am

All Classes are held at Peridance Capezio Center  (126 East 13th Street, between 3rd and 4th Ave)

Barre à Terre:  In 2006, I began to systematically teach what I call Structural Barre à Terre. Thinking about what kind of complementary training dancers needed for strengthening, increasing flexibility and sensitivity, and educating their bodies, no matter their technique. My classes are for people who wish to explore and learn about the fundamentals of their bodies’ functionality, bring awareness to their movement and their dancing, learn to use their bodies in service of movement, and become receptive to changes.

On the floor, under the effect of gravity, you become aware of the conscious and unconscious uses of energy and musculature: You can isolate and explore the functions of different parts of the body and their proper use. It takes patience and consistency to achieve an honest and available body.  Make the body available. The body is the means, not the end!

Actors, dancers, singers, musicians, painters – everybody can take my class. Although their reasons for taking my class may differ, they all have one reason in common: self-discovery.

http://www.anabellalenzu.com/weekly-classes/

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Dear Friends,
I am so happy invite you to the beginning of our celebratory year commemorating the 10th Anniversary of  Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama!
For the occasion, I am recreating a seminal work, Pachamama: Mother World and showing some excerpts from last year’s In Pursuit of Happiness.

Five shows coming up in April and May! 
Save these dates and join us!
A hug, Anabella
 
   

In Pursuit of Happiness

In Pursuit is a dance-theater piece that explores the themes of death, memory, disappearance, and hope through a collage of juxtapositions.
“I want the happiness that comes from both remembering and from fighting against remembering. A happiness that includes the sadness, pain and injury of experience but also goes forward. Not memory that works like an anchor, but like a catapult. Not a memory that you just arrive at, but one that’s a launch pad.” Eduardo Galeano
In Pursuit of Happiness is an ongoing daily memory trip to remember and honor Mrs. Lenzu’s father, Antonio, who served as her guide and scaffolding. 
Choreography: Anabella Lenzu
Direction: Daniel Pettrow
Dancers: Lauren Ohmer & Anabella Lenzu
Music Landscape: Todd Carroll
Photo Projections: Anabella Lenzu
  • Thursday, March 24 at 7pm at The Tank (151 W 46th St, 8th fl.). Anabella will be the guest judge for xyz nyc  and gives feedback to each of the choreographers selected for this festival.We will also present a 15 minute excerpt from In Pursuit of Happiness. Tickets $10
  • Sunday, April 10 at noon at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street, NY 10002): Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of The Field. We will present a 15 minute excerpt from In Pursuit of Happiness. Tickets $15

Pachamama: Mother World

Pachamama: Mother World is an exploration of Dance Theatre inspired by the male initiation rituals of the Selk’nam, a tribe of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The performance unfolds like a prehistoric
commedia dell arte, moving away from the presentational side of dance and reconnecting with the primal impulses of art.
Choreographer: Anabella Lenzu 
Music Landscape: Todd Carroll
Acting and Voice Coach: Daniel Pettrow
Costume and Mask Designer: Jennifer Johanos
Dancers: Lauren Ohmer, Erik Zarcone, Graham Cole, Kara Chan and Sydney Ruf-Wong
Rehearsal Assistant: Hope Parker
Apprentices: Hope Parker, Dina Denis & Cesar Bordermann
  • Monday, April 18 at 7:30pm at DMAC (62 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003): Open rehearsal of Pachamama: Mother World. Limited seating. Free Admission. RSVP: info@anabellalenzu.com
  • Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30pm at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street, NY 10002) as part of the Festival Fast Forward: We will present a full length performance of Pachamama: Mother World. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door
  • Saturday, May 28 at 7:30pm: IDACO Festival at Sheen Theater (18 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012): We will present a full length performance of Pachamama: Mother World. General Admission: $25/  Students $15

http://www.AnabellaLenzu.com

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Re-creating Pachamama: Mother World  in Honor of AL / DD’s 10-Year Anniversary

Article by Angela Schöpke  (AL/DD Marketing Assistant)

Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama is getting ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary as a company through recreating its seminal work, Pachamama: Mother World.

Pachamama: Mother World was first choreographed by Anabella in residence at DUO Multicultural Arts Center (DMAC) and Envoy Enterprises, NYC in 2013, and the company is excited to be rehearsing the piece back at DMAC from February-April of this year. The piece will be performed by Lauren Ohmer (Assistant to the Choreographer), Graham Cole, Erik Zarcone, Kara Chang and Sydney Ruf-Wong. Hope Parker as a rehearsal assistant and dancers Cesar Bordermann and Dina Denis will support the performance as apprentices.

AL/DD will host an open rehearsal on Monday, April 18th at 7:30pm in DMAC’s theater. The company will then perform a thirty-five minute excerpt of the piece 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.

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Why Pachamama?

Pachamama: Mother World is an exploration of Dance Theatre as well as an anthropologic study of male initiation rituals of the Selk’ nam (Onas), a subgroup of the Tehuelches tribe that inhabits the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The male initiation rituals of the Selk’ nam are celebrated annually, lasting anywhere from three months to almost the entire year.  These rituals have three main functions: initiating boys to adulthood; passing on heritage and cultural legacy of the tribe through sharing songs, spiritualism and religious knowledge; and entertaining the tribe’s women.

Pachamama: Mother World’s performance unfolds like a prehistoric commedia dell arte.  Thirteen characters participate in ten specific rites within the larger ritual of initiation. The rituals, as well as the performance, make use of masks that give the characters superhuman power.

With the 10th anniversary of the company, Anabella is expanding AL/DD to include more dancers. AL/DD was pleased to select a group of four new full company members and three apprentices at an audition held on February 7th at Peridance Capezio Center. New dancers come from the U.S., Mexico, and Italy and have diverse training backgrounds ranging from Juilliard to Joffrey to the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Pachamama: Mother World will act as an important platform of departure for AL/DD’s new dancers to be initiated as members of the company. “We use masks to explore identity,” shares Anabella, “The dancers need to pass through thirteen different masked characters. As they do, each archetypal mask reveals something about the dancer.” 

These thirteen characters describe a range of archetypal narratives, which I’ll take the license to list below as I find that seeing them all in one place reveals the simply incredible breadth of life each dancer must explore as part of his or her initiation. These characters include: Babies( K’terrnen), Cuckold (Koshmenk), Drunk Couple (Hashe and Wakus), Mafia (Shorts), Erotic Clowns (Los Hayilan), Medicine Man / Shaman (Olum), Enigmatic Creature (Tanu), Mother Earth (Xalpen), Prostitute (Kulan), Warrior (Halahaches), The Invisible Foxes (Waash-Heuwan), The Elegant Clowns (Ulen) and The Dancer (Matan)

Each of these characters has an important function in the Selk’ nam ritual as well as in AL/DD’s study thereof. For example, when Selk’ nam men would perform as Babies, they were responsible for communicating with their all female audience whom the community felt were good or bad wives and mothers through the action of advancing or retreating respectively. As such, the Baby played an important role in teaching community values. AL/DD’s engages these ideas deeply through its study of each masked character.

In a move away from the purely spectacular and presentational side of dance, Anabella’s work takes the opportunity to reconnect with the primal impulses of art, creation, communication, identity and celebration. 

Jennifer Johanos has made all masks and costumes, which were created entirely with materials donated by Materials for the Arts/NYC Department of Cultural Affairs/NYC Department of Sanitation/NYC Department of Education.

Daniel Pettrow, a long-time collaborator with AL/DD, is engaged as voice and acting coach with the dancers, and Todd Carroll has composed and recorded Pachamama: Mother World’s music landscape.

*****Pachamama was developed at DMAC through a space/rehearsal grant to Anabella Lenzu and Envoy Enterprises/ Jimi Dams and funded in part by generous grants from Edward Foundation Arts Fund and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

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Article by Courtney Kenyon  (AL/DD Marketing Assistant)

Happy New Year!

As some of you may know, Anabella Lenzu/Dance Drama recently embarked on their Argentinian Tour! This tour took quite a bit of planning, especially since we were working internationally, but in the end this tour was not only rewarding artistically, but also personally for Anabella.

For starters, prior to this tour, Anabella had not been able to showcase her work in Argentina since 2005. To be able to share her work not only with friends and family, but also colleagues was extremely special. Many of Anabella’s past students and even their parents came to support AL/DD, and brought photos and shared fond memories of their days in the studio. As we spoke, Anabella told me that these encounters were some of Anabella’s favorite moments of the tour because they helped to remind her of who she was, and who she is. Living in New York, with everything going on, sometimes you forget the little things, and forget some special memories, but this tour helped all of Anabella’s worlds connect.  

The tour started in Buenos Aires, which was the more ‘professional’ leg of the tour. Anabella had dancers, directors, press and more attending her presentation of In Pursuit of Happiness and her book  Unveiling Motion and Emotion presentations at Centro Cultural Borges. Many dancers and directors mentioned that they were surprised to see something so avant garde as it is so different from usual Argentinian and European choreography. Anabella’s production is a melting pot, including media, dance and music, and Anabella even joins the piece at certain times. It is very evident that Anabella is inspired by many things and all her different surroundings whether it be in New York, Argentina, or Italy. Anabella’s work breaks boundaries all while having a strong message and keeping the language intact. 

Bahia Blanca was a much more family oriented experience. Most of Anabella’s relatives have never seen her perform before, so it was wonderful to have them experience and understand her life. Anabella held her book presentation at Centro Historico y Cultural UNS, at Universidad del Sur. It was a very different experience to share her repertory while presenting because so much of her work has to do with Argentinian culture, and politics. Many locals and guests were surprised dancer Lauren Ohmer was able to understand the Argentine culture through dance and movement. The simple response; dance is a universal language. The book presentation as a whole ‘felt more like an inside joke’ Anabella said, because she knew everyone in the room, she was able to talk with the audience instead of reading her prompts because she was discussing something both she and the audience shared, which was a very gratifying experience. In Pursuit of Happiness was performed at Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Museos de Arte: MBA-MAC right in her hometown. Anabella is very open and was able to share a part of herself with many people she knew well, including some teachers from high school. Death is felt the same way universally, therefore the piece, in honor of her recently passed father was well received and appreciated by all.

Overall the tour was a great success. AL/DD received some wonderful coverage by local newspapers both in Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires, and the trip exceeded many Anabella’s expectations. It was so wonderful to have her whole family, and resident dancer Lauren and her husband together in Anabella’s own hometown. Anabella has always felt as though she lived in three different worlds between Argentina, the U.S, and Italy,  but having Lauren and husband Eric with her finally linked all her worlds into one, and for that, she is highly grateful.

CLICK this LINK to see photos from the Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama Argentinean Tour 2015! 

What the critics have said: 

Thanks for being by our side all these years!

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