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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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This past week I had the opportunity to sit down with dance teacher, choreographer, and author Anabella Lenzu to discuss the development of her second book, Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions. Anabella has been teaching younger generations of dance artists for over 25 years, and as she develops her creative process for writing her new book, she is bringing new depth to educating dancers.

Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions is a companion to Anabella’s first book, Unveiling Motion and Emotion. While Unveiling was about Anabella’s inspirations, her highs and lows, stories of dance adventures, teaching methology, and insights, Meaningful Gestures will serve as a more direct educational guide for dancers as they discover their artistic path.

Anabella’s creative process for developing material for Meaningful Gestures displays her deep-rooted passion for educating people about dance technique and craft. Anabella has been engaging in thoughtful conversation with her students, discussing specific aspects of dance technique. This process of discussion allows for inquiry from the students. The students ask questions, Anabella answers them and together they use critical thinking to develop strong ideas. This process has been fruitful for centuries (just take a look at the ancient Greek philosophers) and is a beautiful way to impart knowledge today. As Anabella gleans from these conversations, she is able to write articles about the topics from a more personal and profound standpoint.

Anabella has written 32 articles since she began her process in October of 2014 and continues to write a new one every week and a half or so. These articles, which will later be divided into chapters, cover a myriad of topics and will aid young artists in finding their voice artistically and aid them in accessing their unique physicality. Anabella is working on visual aspects of the book this summer and is looking for models with different physiques, ethnicities, and dance backgrounds. Her husband, Todd Carroll, is supporting this portion of Meaningful Gestures, by photographing the models as they display various forms of dance technique. It is important to have dancers of different body types to display effective alignment regardless of shape, size and weight. Therefore, dancers of all backgrounds can relate to the material in the book. Further supporting the photography, Anabella is in search of an illustrator who will draw vivid diagrams of the muscles and bones, to provide imagery that is helpful for dancers to understand the inner support they are receiving from their bodies.

As Anabella continues to teach multiple dance classes a week, raise and entertain her two young children, as well as prepare her dance company for a premier of a new work this fall, the projected completion of Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions is but two years away.

As a dancer myself and after reading Unveiling Motion and Emotion, I am looking forward to the completion of Meaningful Gestures. It will serve as a beneficial guide and reference, a continual resource, to deepen and understand the dancing body.

Article by Caitlin Thurgood (AL/DD Marketing/ Development Intern)

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Happy Summer Amigos!

Unveiling Motion and Emotion gets another Amazing review at The Life and Lies blog: http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/2015/06/unveiling-motion-and-emotion.html

As the review says: “I adore this book and will continue to read it for inspiration and encouragement!”

Consider giving the book as a present! Share it with friends! To purchase click HERE

A big hug, Anabella

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Over 50 percent of New York City’s immigrants are women.

Despite the vulnerabilities and barriers they face, young women immigrants are making important contributions to New York City’s society and economy every day.

Thanks so much New Women New Yorkers – NWNY​, Arielle Kandel​ and Jahaida Hernandez Jesurum for the interview on your blog! An amazing Organization that we need to support!

http://www.nywomenimmigrants.org/meet-anabella-lenzu-dancer-teacher-writer-mother-immigrant/

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Dear Friends,

As 2014 comes to a close I am reaching out to you for your help in producing a new show and writing a second book. For over 24 years, I have been teaching around the world. I deeply appreciate the support you have shown me over the past 8 years of my artistic development in New York City. 2014 has proven to be another remarkable year, and 2015 looks to be even more exciting with your continued support. I can’t wait to share it with you!

In 2013, I published my first book with your continued support. After the success of my first book Unveiling Motion and Emotion, I am looking forward to creating another resource for the dance community. Unveiling has already gathered a strong following

“It is a book that I will return to again and again for inspiration about dance, art, and for general guidance about how to create a genuine, fulfilled, and fully realized life.” Veronica Hackethal

“Anabella Lenzu is a life changing teacher– now we know why” DanceReader

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It is imperative that I build quickly on my success and deliver this resource to my readers. Universities such as RAD (School of The Royal Ballet in London), K-State University, Syracuse University, and others have already picked up this resource for their school libraries and it continues to fill a niche for bilingual artists. I self published Unveiling with your support and distributed it through Amazon. I am already in conversation with a number of publishing companies as I move forward with my second book, Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thought and Outward Expression, but this process is expensive and time consuming. While my team is hard at work, I turn again to you, my invaluable friends and supporters, to help us bring our dream to fruition.

 I am writing Meaningful Gestures as a companion to my first book, Unveiling Motion and Emotion. My first book was a memoir that shared my experiences as a dance artist; Meaningful Gestures will be a deeper exploration of training, and artistic realization. My philosophy is that the journey is the destination – one must bring as much focus and energy to training as to performing. My second book explores:

Basic exercises, visualization exercises, active imagination and artistic application, technique as a philosophy and technique as a theory, body as an instrument: alignment isolations, gravity, verticality

Teaching in three languages has had a profound effect; I have found clear explanations, metaphors, and stories that communicate my approach to training.  This text will be accompanied by Todd Carroll’s photographs and drawings to illustrate the excises.  I look forward to your continued support as I move forward in this process and to sharing this resource with you in the new-year.

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I am also continuing to work on my newest piece In Pursuit of Happiness… which will be premiering in 2015 at DUO Multicultural Arts Center. I look forward to seeing you there! This show is an ongoing daily memory trip to remember and honor my dad Antonio. He was my guide, my scaffolding and a lot of fun. I miss him terribly!

“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. Memory works not like an anchor, but like a catapult. Not a memory that you just arrive at, but one that’s a launch pad.” – E. Galeano

 I have been hard at work in the studio with my dancer, Lauren Ohmer, acting and voice coach, Daniel Pettrow, and music landscape designer, Todd Carroll. While we are already deep in our process, we need your continued support to see this work fully realized.

As you know, producing a new show and creating a new book comes along with many costs; I’ve listed below how your donation will directly help us with these projects.

AnabellaLenzu_ToddCarroll_2014-1 Practice makes Perfect I:

$2,500 will cover rehearsal expenses for an entire show

Be our Graphic Designer:

$1,000 pays for the graphic designer for a book

Be our Photography Assistant:

$500 covers photography costs for the new book

Shipping out:

$250 covers shipping, postcards, and postage costs

Be our Wardrobe Assistant:

$100 pays for the fabric of one Costume

Be our Publishing Assistant:

$50 “Unveiling Motion & Emotion” printing & design cost for one book.

Practice makes Perfect II:

$20 pays for one hour of rehearsal

Donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, The Field, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. ** If you are unable to contribute financially, we also appreciate donated goods, services and volunteers. All donors are acknowledged on our website and in our newsletters.

Please help us as we move forward with our plans for 2015!

Any donation helps us reach our goals. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our upcoming events.

 As a choreographer, I celebrate, meditate, respond, protest, scream, cry, and laugh about life through dance. When I write, I have a civil, moral responsibility. I need to express ideas clearly and transparently, whereas when I choreograph, I can go into my darkest corners to explore why I dance. Putting these words on paper forces me to be honest with myself.

A Hug, Anabella

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What the critics have said about Unveiling Motion and Emotion

  • ” Lenzu has chosen—or been chosen by—dance as her investigative framework because, as her opening essay is titled, “dance underlies all that I am.” This boldly provocative collection of writing should be in every dancer’s personal library.” – 4Dancers.org, USA
  • “Most inspiring is a list of lessons she’s learned from Dance (“To witness small miracles,” To embrace change,” “To celebrate life”) – Dance Magazine, USA
  • “Her writing is visceral and filled with insights that distill from deep intense reflection and research housed in her ‘thinking body'” – Attitude: The Dancer’s Magazine, USA
  • “All in all, Anabella Lenzu’s “Unveiling Motion and Emotion” is a refreshingly vulnerable literary statement, and a great addition to your summer dance reading list.” – Heather Desaulniers, USA
  • “Whether writing, leading a class or staging new choreography, Lenzu’s mission remains the same: to foster a more mindful, more kinetic, more connected dance community — and to keep moving with meaning for years to come.” – Dance Informa, USA/Australia
  • “Ms. Lenzu has a deep and broad background in dance, and a joy in a life of dance, that comes across clearly. ” Exploredance
  • La Nueva Provincia -in Spanish (Argentina)

Televised Interviews:  

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MOTION CREATES EMOTION/ EMOTION CREATES MOTION

JUNE 10-14, 2013
at Peridance Capezio Center, NEW YORK CITY
Technique & Repertory
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Tuesday, Thursday: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

This one-week workshop focuses on shaping, developing and broadening your potential as a dancer/ performer with an emphasis on performance skills. This workshop is intended for serious students who wish to turn their body in a sensitive, vibrating instrument of expression.

The intensive culminates with an informal performance where the participants perform the learned repertory from DanceDrama on Friday, June 14th at Peridance Capezio Center from 12:30-1pm.

For more information and to register  http://www.anabellalenzu.com/workshops/

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