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Posts Tagged ‘Dina Denis’

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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, Salvatore Cataldo and Ambra Togliatti 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.

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Anabella will present excerpts of “No more beautiful dances” during The Fall 2018 at:

* SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14th, 2017 at 7pm as part of HATCH Series at Jennifer Muller/The Works Studio (131 West 24th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10011) Admission: $20/ Students $15. To purchase tickets CLICK HERE

* FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27th at 7:30pm as part of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ InHalePerformance Series in Philadelphia (CHI Movement Arts Center, 1316 S 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147). Tickets $10

* SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18th from 7:30-8:45pm at Gibney Dance Center (280 Broadway, 2nd floor, NYC) Studio E. Suggested contribution $15. Limited Seating. RSVP Required: info@AnabellaLenzu.com

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19th at 3pm at MARIE-CHRISTINE GIORDANO Salon Series (220 25th St #202, Brooklyn, NY 11232) Admission: $15

“No more beautiful dances” wrestles with the ideas of exploration, introspection and reframing a woman after becoming a mother, and being an inmigrant.  Lenzu’s dancetheater piece uses spoken word and video projections to tell a personal vision of femininity, and what it means to be a woman today.

Choreographer and Dancer: Anabella Lenzu

Video Projection Design: Todd Carroll

Acting and Voice Coach: Daniel Pettrow

Costumes: Jennifer Johanos

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

What better an opportunity than the 10th Anniversary celebration to reiterate my eternal thanks to the people that make my dream of having a dance company in New York possible?

Ten years mark an intense period of my life (from my 30s to my 40s). I moved to New York 11 years ago, became a mom, a professor in different universities and fulfilled my dream of creating a dance company in the United States (the first one was in Argentina: L’Atelier Ballet Contemporaneo (1994-2000) the second one in Italy from (2002-2005) and now Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama, starting in 2006.

 How it all started: 

  • When I moved back to NY in 2005, my base was Peridance Center, directed by Igal Perry (where I was student in 1999-2001) and The Field, an amazing organization that supports artists.
  • Igal Perry opened doors for me and gave me the opportunity to start teaching dance in NY.
  • The Field (through an internship) prepared me to create ALDD, giving my the foundation to understand how a private/non profit dance company functions in NY. In exchange of my intern work, I (and my husband Todd) took  ALL the workshops they offered in Grant Writing, Development, Marketing, Pitching, etc. Under the wing of Tanya Calamoneri, Pele Bauch and James Scruggs. I met Steve Gross, the founder of The Field, in 1999, when I did not even speak English and I participated in his Field Work session at least 10 times. I learned how to give honest and precise feedback to my peers (in English). Eternal thanks to Steve for creating The Field!
  •  I also worked as a stage manager for The Jodi Kaplan Dance Agency during APAP in 2006.

In these 10 years, 40 dancers passed through AL/DD! Thanks for your inspiration, commitment, hard work, dedication, criticism and encouragement:  Mayu Inomata,  Leslie Berman, Emily Quant, Yukiko Sassa, Lauren Ohmer, Julia Lindpaintner, Katie Clancy, Kelley Natella, Debra Zalkind, Val Loukiano, Emily Vescht, Liz Gorgas, Dawn Quigley, Brianna Fails, Raleigh Veach, Cori Marquis, Oshi Wanigasekera, Trina Maninno, Ana Wu, Macy Sullivan, Or Reitman, Paulina Espinosa, Anthony Rosado, Carmen Caceres, Elizabeth Weinstein, Marielis Garcia, Alice Pucheu, Graham Cole, Sydney Ruf Wang, Emily Jeffries, Carolina Rivera Moreno, Mary-Elizabeth Fenn, Hope Parker, Dina Denis, Cesar Brodermann, Erik Zarcone, Justin Coates, Ritzuko Sato, Samuel Humphreys and Guest Dancer: Mariko Endo. Your presence allowed to materialize my dance, making my ideas become real. Thanks for allowing me to experiment and play in my craft of making dances.

I am humbled and honored to have collaborated with: 

  • Todd Carroll who has been with me since the inception of AL/DD. As executive director, photographer, writer, sound designer, graphic designer, advisor an lover!  Your honest and sincere feedback is my daily bread. Your support is my foundation.
  • Daniel Pettrow, our theater guru! I started collaborating with him in 2010, for the desire to train myself and my dance in theater and voice. He began by coaching us at first, and has even directed my last show In Pursuit of Happiness, in 2015. Your sensibility, humor and imagery nurtures my creative work.
  • Geoff Gersh, for composing the music fro The Garden (2008), and Sangre y Arena (2012). Thanks for deepening our emotional environmental atmospheres.
  • Jennifer Johanos, for creating costumes and masks for Pachamama: Mother  World (2013) and advising us always. Thanks for being in almost all our shows!!!! Thanks to DJ too (her husband).
  • Lauren Ohmer: my choreographic assistant, my right hand, who has been dancing for DanceDrama for nine years. So many adventures, so many rehearsals, and shows and explorations. Many tears and a lot of laughter too. Complicated emotions and hard moments. Respect and friendship. Professionalism and nurturing love. Eternal thanks for believing in my vision and for making it real.  Thanks for your creativity and openness.

In 2007, I started an internship program for AL/DD to assist with administrative work, development and promotion. Since then, we trained and guided more than 30 interns: Sarah Isaacman,  Patrick Heffernan, Julia Lindpaintner, Brittany Taylor, Brittany Wilson, Melissa Moore, Shreenath Muthyala, Roberto Ventura, Misaki Kawachi, Courtney Kenyon, Sarah Rose, Caitlin Thurgood, Angela Schopke, Lisa Colpa, Jo Leung, Donna Wilson Marizcal, Yoo Yey, Stephanie Frasca, Grace Rezendes, Emily Hedvall, Daniella Garofalo, Olga Dobrowolska, Sandy Shelton, Dawn Paap, Andrea Šamonilova, Veronica Hackethal, Emily Thornton and Tina Wang.  I’m happy and proud to have become the adoptive mother, sister, auntie, friend to all these young and talented artists and administrators. My home/office was their home, we shared many meals, coffees and yummy sweets, between office work. They saw me in my duties as a mom in between writing a grant proposal, cooking, changing diapers and doing home work with my kids. Without inhibitions, I exposed myself as a working mom/artist. Many of these interns have their own companies now, or work as an artist or administrator for major companies. Many discovered that dance was not for them, many learn to love dance, many are still coming to my kids’ birthday parties! All of them have my love and sincere thanks for helping me to make the company move!

 

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To my Guardian Angels:

  • Michelangelo Alasa, who, since 2012, opened his doors to us repeatedly for creative and magical Artist in Residencies, Works in Progress and performances in DMAC (Duo Multicultural Art Center). And of course for co-producing Sangre y Arena.
  • To Gisela for your wise eye and kind words! For believing in me and my work since the very beginning with David.
  • To the number 1 fan in our Fan Club:  Ben Lee, friend and tanguero (my first Tango student in NYC). Always there to help on set and off. And thanks for driving us to Ikea all these years!
  • To Christina Graybard for your friendship and for editing of my book Unveiling Motion and Emotion. Your generosity astonishes me!
  • To Julia Lindpaintner, dancer, intern, office administrator, website designer, graphic designer and translator of my book Unveiling Motion and Emotion. Your love, creativity, imagination, dedication and friendship are true treasures!
  • To my Friends in our past and present ALDD Advisory Board: Svetlana Mikhalevskaya, Patricia Young, Amy Larimer, Liz Espert, Marji Liebman, Calogero Salvo, Charlotte Patton, Melissa Bernstein, Jennifer Johanos,  Muriel Karlin, Tina Graybard and Nichole Spates.
  • To my local business supporters who have donated food to cultivate our community and feed the starving artists who come to our Fundraisers and Premieres: Sette Panni Bakery, Sal’s Pizzeria, Fortunato Bakery, Cheers Restaurant, C-Town, Dunkin Donuts, To the World Farm and Edible Arrangements.
  • To my artist friends and supporters who have donated for our fundraiser over all these years: HERE Arts Center, Surramics, Alegrias Flamenco Tablao, Annie Rachele Lanzillotto and  KIT Italian Theater.
  • To Stephen Petrilli, who illuminated and designed the lights for our shows!
  • To Kathleen Hines, Kate Ladenheim, Julia Lindpaintner, Misaki Kawachi, Leslie Berman, Katie Clancy, Sarah Rose and Caitlin Thurgood for making the administrative work a pleasure. Thanks for your hard work and for sharing life experiences!

To all the supporters, family and friends for supporting us economically and emotionally. You make this company possible. Thanks for trusting and for being my partner.

To all the people and institutions that believed in us and invited us to be Artist in Residency, where ideas and emotions were challenged, explored and crafted:  DMAC (Duo Multicultural Art Center), Dance New Amsterdam, New Dance Group, Envoy Enterprises, Silo (through The Field/Artward Bound program), Envoy Enterprises, The Cave/ Leimay and Chashama.

We are blessed to have received the support of the following Foundations: MATERIALS FOR THE ARTS, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs/NYC Department of Sanitation/NYC Department of Education, Brooklyn Arts Council, Independent Community Foundation, Edward Foundation Art Fund, Puffin Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Places where we often rehearsed or held our DanceDrama Labs: DMAC, CPR, SounDance, Gibney Dance, Culture Hub and The Cave/Leimay. Thanks for making us feel at home, storing our props, letting us play freely. Thanks for providing a roof over our ideas!

Presenters and festivals that hosted us in NY:  Baryshnikov Arts Center, Dance New Amsterdam, New Dance Group, Sangeeta, IDACO, Sheen Theater, Young Soom Kim, Dixon Place, Figment Festival, The Bernie Wohl Center, Gibney Dance Center, Movement Research at Eden’s Expressway, MacGuinness Senior Center (part of SPARK program), Alchemical Theater Lab, DMAC- Duo Multicultural Arts Center, Arts In Odd Places/AIOP, Peridance Capezio Center, Casita Maria, Nuyorican Poet Café, City Reliquary Museum, Bronx Museum, Dance Parade, The Cave, Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn, Argentinean Consulate in New York,  Movement Research at Judson Church, In Scena Italian Theater Festival, Bluestockings Bookstore, Lehman College, Wagner College, Staten Island, Instituto Cervantes, Hatch Series/The Works Studio, NYC Dance Week, APAP, Alvin Ailey Studios, Roulette, Williamsburg Dance Festival – WAH, Wave Rising Series, Greenwood Cemetery, Little Italy Festival, University Settlement, Green Space, City Center, 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, DUMBO Festival, 60X60 Dance, Merce Cunningham Studio, 92nd Street Y, Performance Lab/Steps in Broadway, The Rover,  Ciao Italy Performing Arts Festival, Collaborations in Dance Festival, The Tank, Gershwin Hotel, Episcopal Actors Guild, Brecht Forum, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Artist for Peace Festival, Crystal Theater ( CT),  JCC, Triskelion Arts, SounDance, the cell Theatre, NYU Casa Zerilli Marimo, 3LD Center for Art & Technology, Kumble Theater/Long Island University, FAR Space, WAXworks, North Hills Country Club, Felician College ( NJ), Williamsburg Performance Alliance, Oasis Festival,  Abrons Arts Center, Joyce Soho, Studio 111 , Cool NY Dance Festival, Galapagos, Taiwan Center, The Bridge for Dance, La Mama, HERE Art Center and Fordham University.

Festivals and Universities that hosted us in USA: Randolph College (VA), Charlotte Dance Festival (NC), Latino Arts Festival (Atlanta), Reinhardt College (Waleska, GA) and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College  (VA).

Venues that hosted us in Argentina: Centro Cultural Borges, Teatro Municipal (B.BCA), Teatro Colon (Punta Alta), Cafe Museo Historico B. Bca, Museo Ing.White, Teatro El Tablao , Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Centro Cultural e Historico Universidad Nacional del Sur and L’Atelier Centro Creativo de Danza.

***Note: Sorry if I forgot someone – Know that you are deeply appreciated!

10 years exploring how memory and spirituality shape identity.  My dance-theater works provoke historical and social consciousness by breaking down the wall between artist and audience.

Thanks again for being my Partner! Anabella

SAVE THE DATE: 10th  ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION of ALDD       
Thursday October 20th at 6 PM

at Argentinean Consulate in NYC, 12 West 56th Street
Performance is free to the public, but space is limited and reservations are necessary
To reserve, please contact info@anabellalenzu.com

Choreography by Anabella Lenzu
Direction: Daniel Pettrow
Dancers: Lauren Ohmer, Dina Denis, Sydney Ruff-Wong, Graham Cole & Anabella Lenzu

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Article by Angela Schöpke  (AL/DD Marketing Assistant)

While watching Anabella and AL / DD dancers continue to recreate and rediscover Pachamama: Mother World, it occurred to me how vital the work’s soundscape is in supporting the emotional journey that Pachamama embodies. The music acts as an integral background to the visual counterpoint of the dancers’ movements. I wondered, what was it like to build an auditory experience that is both derived from an emotional starting point, and that also creates an emotional experience for its audience?

The marriage of music and choreography is no easy problem to solve. Anabella suggests that for her (and to echo the words of expressionist dance pioneer, Mary Wigman), “the solution to this problem is that the music must be created at the same time as the dance, in a mutual collaboration between choreographer and composer.  To respect the specificity of dance, the music must be born from live movements like the dance.”

Todd Carroll, soundscape designer, very generously took the time to speak with me about his perspective on the collaborative and creative process in designing Pachamama’s sound (thanks, Todd!). In the excerpt from our conversation below, Todd describes what collaboration with Anabella meant for him, his sound inspirations, and his experience of Pachamama’s restaging so far.

What was the collaborative artistic process like when you worked with Anabella on the soundscape for Pachamama?

I’ve worked with Anabella on music several times. For Pachamama, I came up with a sound piece for the first time that she worked on the choreography with dancers. The choreographic piece changed dramatically during the rehearsal process after that, and those changes were then reflected in the sound. Much of the exchange we had during the collaborative process was about thoughts on where the emotional impetus for where the music came from.

Also, sometimes Anabella would say that certain things need to be there, like animal sounds, so I made sure to reference those. Or for example, there’s a section of Pachamama called “Babies,” so Anabella explained its thematic significance and I then chose to add in baby sounds from open sound libraries that weave in and out of the soundscape to reflect Anabella’s thematic thoughts.

You mentioned animal and baby sounds. Were there other sound inspirations you drew upon in developing Pachamama’s soundscape?

Well, Anabella did a lot of research for the piece with some of the last surviving members of the Selk’nam (Onas) before they passed away. Anabella chose to approach creating Pachamama from a standpoint not of recreating the ritual of initiation that the Selk’nam practiced, but rather of using that ritual of initiation as a starting point for her choreographic work.

An important element that Anabella chose to keep, was this idea of the audience watching the performance as though they were the audience for an initiation ritual. They’re coming into see this performance and they leave transformed.

So musically what all of that meant for me, is that there were two musical reference points. There were recordings of one of the last shaman singers of the tribe called Lola Kiepja, which became a very important inspiration for the musical composition that I developed. Lola Kiepja provided the sound world with the only sound recordings we have of the Selk’ Nam experiences. Although no one will be able to understand the lyrics, I think it communicates very clearly the trance state she entered while singing. The heavy repetition and syncopation is a musical device for entering into a trance that can be heard the world over, from ancient music to the contemporary trance music people dance to today. It affords introspection, encourages transformation, and ties us to the past by summoning ritual practice.

The second musical reference point was the musician, Moondog. Moondog is an interesting character. People know him as the Viking of 6th Avenue. Moondog, also uses intense syncopation and was influenced by Native American music and chanting. He also blends in the urban sound of New York City, sometimes inventing instruments in order to get the sound he was looking for. He also had some classical training in his youth so I felt his music was a kind of bridge between those two worlds. Those were my starting points for the sound.

The Pachamama soundscape is like gumbo. Kiepja and Moondog were the raw ingredients, but I kept adding spices and stirring the pot until it tasted right. I used effects and distorted the pitch, or sometimes added reverb to achieve a larger space. I added animal sounds or a riff from Thelonius Monk. It’s a very intuitive process that I worked intensely on, then shared with Anabella to see if was going in the right direction. Often I went too far and the music became muddled. Anabella has a good ear, and through the process we hopefully ended up with something that works for the piece.

Much like Anabella’s approach to the choreography, I tried not to recreate what the Selk’ Nam initiation ritual might have sounded like, rather I tried to give Pachamama a familiar but challenging landscape. We investigate this small corner of history to see how it might connect to us here and now.

What is it like to experience Pachamama being recreated several years later, for a different space, and for a different group of dance artists?

Pachamama as a whole has changed a lot because the dancers are different, so they’re in bringing very different interpretations of the work. Especially important to Pachamama, is that a lot of the dancers’ motivation and expression is very personal. Anabella really expects the dancers to do their homework and to go through the process of finding what it is for them that gives the movement life. She doesn’t tell them where the life comes from, they need to find it.

So there are certain parts that will come to light that I didn’t notice as much before, and some parts that I’m expecting to notice, but I won’t anymore. But what remains true is that Pachamama still hangs together as a piece.

Pachamama: Mother World will be performed at Dixon Place’s FastForward Festival on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:30pm, and on Saturday, May 28th at 7.30pm as part of Sheen Theater’s IDACO Festival. Save the dates and get your tickets!

http://www.anabellalenzu.com/news/

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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, Hope Parker and Sydney Ruf-Wong
Rehearsal Assistant: Hope Parker
Apprentices: Dina Denis & Cesar Brodermann

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Article by Angela Schöpke  (AL/DD Marketing Assistant)

Welcome to part two of our dancer interviews! You may recall that in part one [hyperlink to pt. 1], apprentices lent some fascinating insight to the intellectual and emotional processes involved in dancing Pachamama: Mother World

In part two, you’ll notice that dancers Sydney, Graham, Erik, and Kara focus on the challenging relationship of the external expression of a character to the internal. What is it like to become a fox? What does it mean to be an enigma (and indeed is it even possible)? What does it feel like to be cuckolded?

In the following dancer comments, keep an eye out for reflections of AL / DD’s philosophy that motion creates emotion, emotion creates motion. As AL / DD inspiration, musician and teacher François Delsartre suggests, “Every gesture is expressive of something…It is preceded by and given birth by a thought, a feeling, an emotion, a purpose, a design or a motive.”

Here’s what the dancers said about their experiences:

“For me it’s about keeping it real, and what’s authentic to me. How do I think I would be if I were a fox, and embody what that is for me? I ask myself, what does a fox look like – how are its physical features? How is its spine? By focusing outward and thinking about what a fox looks like, that translates to an internal embodiment. Pachamama is about what dance can be, and how it can translate cultural history through storytelling. The creative process of Pachamama is allowing me to engage in that question and storytelling art.” – Kara Chang

“It’s one of the first pieces I’ve danced in a long time where I’ve had to develop characters. When I started, Anabella gave us a very brief outline of each character and how they each fit into the original ritual. I’ve used that as a base and have embellished that with my own life experiences. For example with the male erotic clown, I’ve used some of my own sexual experiences as a point of reference to understand the character. With Tanu it feels more a philosophical solo. Anabella describes it as an enigma, so I try to build these moments for myself that really surprise me to find that enigma. And I love that that’s what makes the character so captivating. The unknown. I try to take the physicality of each character and say okay, how does this physical move affect my breathing and my focus. I take that as a cue as to what I’m feeling in that moment, and then I sort of create narrative for myself. I discover so many moments with every rehearsal and know I will keep discovering them.” – Graham Cole

“Because the movement is so evocative and it’s so physical, when you do them you do feel a certain way.  You do feel exhausted, you do feel angry or it inspired your body physically to feel a certain way, so that invents what that piece is about because you’re showing it you’re not acting it. I’m letting the movement engage me in certain feelings.  I love what Anabella says about wanting to see artists discover something on stage, really letting that human movement change you in front of people. When I do these things I do feel changed. The other day when I was doing Koshmenk, I did feel angry by the end of it, or so emotionally exhausted that I almost had tears in my eyes from the sheer physicality of the movement and how intense it was.” – Sydney Ruf-Wong

“When I was auditioning I thought this work was just a mix of so many different styles of dance trying to tell a story, but now that I’m really in it, I realize that it’s more than that. It’s a personal journey to embody each character. This process is really challenging because each one of us [dancers] is more or less sensitive to different characters. Dancing with Anabella is very funny. Each rehearsal, I learn more about myself. I’m usually a closed internally-focused person, but with this raw and striking work I feel more confident in sharing my capabilities and also my challenges with some parts of the creative process not familiar to my background.” – Erik Zarcone

Thank you, dancers, for taking the time to share your thoughts! It’s been such a delight to watch you explore your own creative processes with Pachamama: Mother World, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing you become each of the work’s thirteen characters in your upcoming performances.

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. Limited seating, RSVP: info@Anabellalenzu.com

http://www.AnabellaLenzu.com

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 Brodermann

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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!

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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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