Posts Tagged ‘Azeb Martel-Wilson’


Interview by Azeb Martel-Wilson (ALDD Marketing  Intern)

What does it mean to be an artist? Anabella Lenzu’s latest show,  La noche que dejaste de actuar/The night that you stopped acting, which began as a reexamination of her repertory, is now a one woman show which both questions and affirms the reality of being a creator, an artist, and a spectator. I had the pleasure of conversing with Anabella Lenzu about the challenges and triumphs of creating artistic content within a very unique framework. Inspired by exchanges with her close friends around the world and at home, La noche que dejaste de actuar/The night that you stopped acting is where exploration meets experiment, and has implications for the field of dance at large.

AMW: What is La noche que dejaste de actuar/The night that you stopped acting about, and how did it come to be?

AL:  Initially, I identified five key pieces of my repertory to revisit: The Grass is Always Greener (2010), The Corral (2009), In Pursuit of Happiness (2015), Pachamama: Mother World (2013), and Sangre y Arena (Blood and Sand) (2012). As we moved forward, we began to investigating the very nature of the creative process, asking: “If a work of dance is created in the here and now, what happens when the here and now changes? How do the changes of our circumstances, our lives, and our bodies, alter our approach as dancers and choreographers?” These are the questions from which the show was born.  I have drawn inspiration from my repertory by referencing texts, props and projections used in my former works, but La noche que dejaste de actuar/The night that you stopped acting is otherwise completely new. It swings from political to ritual, touching the wide range of topics I have explored in the past.   I hope to answer the questions above, as well as inform the works’ originality.

AMW: I understand that you have collaborated with several artists for this new work.  Can you explain your process so far?

AL: In October 2018, I reached out to friends of mine from around the world. They are dancers who have known me very well, each one at different times in my life.  I had multiple Skype conversations with an Italian artist Salvatore Cataldo, who is currently living in Cairo, Egypt, Satomi Suzuki from Japan who danced for me many years ago, and Soledad Gutierrez in Buenos Aires, Argentina,  who was my very first assistant. None of them had ever seen the pieces that I wanted to revisit. Once the show evolved to become about the creative process rather than the repertory itself, I began setting the new material here in New York City with the help of  Maria Victoria Ric Biraben, an actress, and dancers Daniele Di Felice, an ALDD apprentice, Martina Cariello, Guiliana Bertoya and Angela Caputo, in November 2018. I will be the only one performing in the finished piece for the stage, but working through Skype and in the studio with them really helped shape the show and demanded more exploration of the creative process.

AMW: What is it like to generate material for your show over Skype?

AL: We were frustrated that we could not communicate certain things over Skype. For example, when improvising, we could only see about 50% of what the other is doing. We sometimes could not see all of the details, or each other’s faces, and I definitely could not feel their body in space. I couldn’t feel their vibrations and they couldn’t feel mine. Luckily, these are people that I trust and who know me very well. We’ve collaborated before, so we already know what that person’s energy is like in person, but sometimes we felt this empty gap between what we saw on screen and what our imaginations lead us to believe was there.  Often we would have interruptions, large time differences, connectivity problems…The topic of the show is the creative process, and unexpectedly, these difficulties we were having with technology actually enriched it. We began to ask certain questions because that’s where the technology would take us.

AMW: How has the work that you have been doing with your friends abroad and your dancers in New York translated to your piece as a one-woman show?

AL:  All of the work that I did with them pushed me to explore the anatomy of a performance. When I perform this show I will be examining the relationship between myself as the artist and the audience, as well as the relationship between myself and the self I am presenting on stage. For example, there is a scene where I ask myself while on stage “Can I take my mask off? How far can I go? How far can I get?” In another scene, I question the audience. I ask them, “What do you think is true? What do you think is false?” I ask them about the things we may have in common, whether or not they have trust in me, and if there is a line that I as the performer cannot cross.

AMW: You are going to hold an open rehearsal for La noche que dejaste de actuar/The night that you stopped acting in June. What are the details surrounding this event?

AL:  There will be an open rehearsal for donors and friends on Friday June 28th at Lehman College in the Bronx as part of the CUNY dance initiative from 12:30 – 1:30 pm.

AMW: Finally, how would you define your own creative process?

AL: I’ve been choreographing since I was 16, and now I’m 44. Each piece takes me more or less 2 years to create. What I try to do is have each creative process be a different one, or else I get bored. What ignites the idea for a show can always change, it can be a painting, a piece of music, or in this case it was my long distance friendships. The creative process for me is the reason why I do what I do, so I don’t want to have a formula. What’s important for me is to be open and to create, and really live in the moment. This show is about the craft itself, about the mask falling, which is why it’s called La noche que dejaste de actuar/The night that you stopped acting. I don’t worry about forcing results or having a product in mind when I create…I completely trust that the result is going to be there because the process is so rich.


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