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Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Ohmer’

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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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Enjoy this wonderful interview from #Culturebot. Thanks Shannon Elizabeth O’Brien for the amazing conversation!

http://www.culturebot.org/2015/12/25164/anabella-lenzus-unveiling-emotion-and-motion-and-in-pursuit-of-happiness/

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Article by Courtney Kenyon  (AL/DD Marketing/ Development Intern)

Anabella Lenzu, founder of DanceDrama, author of Unveiling Motion and Emotion, and teacher and choreographer for 25 years, is deep in the creative process of her newest book. Inspiration struck when Anabella came across many different texts while teaching, all of which didn’t truly explain the movement they were discussing, as it is so hard to put into a photograph, what every part of a dancers body is doing. Anabella’s philosophy is that the journey is the destination – one must bring as much focus and energy to training as to performing.

Over the past year, Anabella has written 32 articles exploring multiple topics for her latest book, Meaningful Gestures: Inner Thoughts and Outward Expressions. This second book, is meant to be an educational guidebook for young dancers, actors and performers, taking experiences from her own classroom, after deep discussions with her students and colleagues. Meaningful Gestures will stray from the format of the first book, as this will be more focused on the technical physical and mental aspects of dance itself. Some featured articles will include Movement or Gestures, Why I am Giving Away my Secrets, The Mask as a Doorway, Breathe before You Move, and Body Architecture, Discovering Improvisation.  This book comes naturally to Anabella; she tells me: ‘Dance is my primary mode of personal expression, my obsession, how I make my living and where I find joy. I have strong opinions about dance that often contradict what is popular, and I enjoy explaining my position to people who are interested and engaged in dance. I believe that Dance is union and communion with ourselves, with others and with the environment. I celebrate, meditate, respond, protest, explore, scream, cry and laugh about life through dance. My own work is intimate, audacious and historically/socially conscious.’ The hope is that this book will serve current and future dancers as they continue to train and explore the professional world of dance.

This past summer, Anabella worked with her husband and photographer Todd Carroll to best capture dancer Lauren Ohmer working with her body and dissecting each specific movement. The book will feature not only pictures of Lauren, but also photos including Anabella working with Lauren and other dancers, helping to make the text more clear. Anabella is working with a new special program on the iPad Pro, to create illustrations to go over some photographs and to serve as companions to the text. Detailed drawings of the muscles and the body in movement, will help dancers better understand strong technique and muscle movement.

As of today, Anabella is hopeful that with her busy schedule, the book will make its premiere in January of 2017! Thank you to all of those who have supported the book thus far, I am sure it will not disappoint!

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Article by Courtney Kenyon  (AL/DD Marketing/ Development Intern)

Anabella Lenzu’s grandfather decided to move to Argentina after World War II. He packed up and became a construction worker. His son, Ms. Lenzu’s father, knew construction wasn’t the life he wanted, so at age 18 he developed his own printing shop. This kind of hard work is what Anabella has used as inspiration for her newest piece. Her father and her Grandfather knew hard work, just like dance is hard work.  Anabella grew up around construction sites and her father’s print shop. She learned how to lay brick, build walls, and how to work with the printing press from watching her father and grandfather, all while dancing since the age of four. Young Anabella lived in a world of texture.

At the start of their process, Anabella and her dancer, Lauren Ohmer, began to research how to build a wall, how to lay bricks and how to mix cement. As they explored, the choreography became instructional, like the videos. As Lauren is very precise and technical with her movements, she was able to improvise like ink flowing through a printing machine. Lauren was able to become the ink, or become the texture of the sand and lime.

While improvising in the studio, between March of 2014 and March of 2015, Anabella and Lauren began to create phrases, and experiment with changing directions and trying movements backwards or upside down. This is not a piece full of miming, but it’s about the abstraction about this idea and the feeling of building a wall and the feeling of printing with real ink. This is not a piece where you will see Lauren acting out the process of any of these jobs.

Anabella tells me she “never worked this instructionally in [her] life”, however, she realized how parallel this style of choreography is to her teaching job. “Building choreography and building technical dancers is like building a wall” with all its layers. It is all a metaphor. Through this process Anabella discovered she is a very technical choreographer. She worked with every angle of this piece and would improvise different feelings and emotions for hours with Lauren, and only a minute of this work would make it to the final product. Movement is the center of this piece. When all the layers come together and everything is changing around Lauren while she’s dancing, the movement stays intact.

During their many months at Duo Multicultural Arts Center (DMAC), Lauren and Anabella had been experimenting with paper and masks but it simply wasn’t working. Once Daniel Pettrow, the director, stepped in, he had Lauren kick and rip and tear the papers to shreds to the music, and Anabella found her inspiration. She broke into tears as Daniel was able to put into movement, what she wasn’t brave enough to feel herself. Anabella is never one to get angry, so this raw emotion was quite new to her, but helped her to shape her entire piece. The next day after one hour of work she was able to set the entire piece with Lauren. Those four minutes with Daniel’s guidance sparked something in her that was exactly what she needed.

This piece is not about imitation or how Ms. Lenzu felt when she lost her father, though she can remember his movements quite clearly. This is a piece filled with personal secrets, feelings and movements that can be understood universally.

Make sure you come see In Pursuit of Happiness Friday October 23-Sunday October 25 (8pm shows) at the Alchemical Theater in NYC. 

Limited seating! You can purchase your tickets online. https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/951784

Choreography:  Anabella Lenzu

Direction: Daniel Pettrow

Dancers: Lauren Ohmer & Anabella Lenzu

Music Landscape: Todd Carroll

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Article by Courtney Kenyon  (AL/DD Marketing/ Development Intern)

When Anabella Lenzu began this process in March of 2014 after the passing of her father, she had no idea what the end result was going to be, or what the product was going to become. Anabella began to ask herself how she was going to get to the heart of what she was feeling. So she began to write, and reminisce. With the material Anabella was able to come up with, there could be four or five more shows to include everything.

The creative process is quite different from the grieving process, however there are times where we find that they intertwine. When Anabella began working on this piece the two were tightly connected. The show was therapeutic. She began writing down stories, some important with strong moral endings, some bittersweet or light hearted. She wrote anything and everything even if it was painful, because this was what she wanted to give to her dad. As the process continued however, Anabella found that the two were no longer connected. Though she creates for herself because she needs to feel it, the work is not just about her, but it’s about anyone who has suffered loss. The show became less therapeutic and Anabella soon approached it technically. As she worked, the piece became about generosity. She became aware that there would be people watching the piece and wanted to give them a way to cope with something they might be going through personally.

Anabella and I spoke of the short time she lived in Italy between 2002 and 2005. She remembers the mourning dances. These were rituals that dated all the way back to Ancient Greece. Female dancers or actors of sorts would come and dance around the home of a family who had just lost someone, similar to an exorcism. They would try and cure the family’s grief by helping them to understand life and death. In Pursuit of Happiness has become Anabella’s own contemporary mourning dance, and she has really enjoyed exploring ‘the function of dance as a ritual’ the way it was used in ancient Italy and Greece.

Another therapeutic piece of this endeavor was the music. The tracking for the show is comprised of some of Anabella’s father’s favorite songs, environmental sounds, and a few other special sounds. One of the special sounds you will hear in the performance is a short song that Anabella’s father taught to her when she was just a young girl that you will hear a recording of her trying to teach it to Lauren, her dancer. Another special soundbite you might catch is the sound of her father’s printing press. Anabella was able to travel to Argentina and record the many sounds of her father’s shop. So what you hear is not just a door shutting, it is the door of his shop shutting, and it’s his printing press, and it’s his paper running through the machines. It gives the piece a much more authentic feel. It was a very ‘tangible way to document his printing in the show’.

Make sure you come see In Pursuit of Happiness Friday October 23-Sunday October 25 (8pm shows) at the Alchemical Theater in NYC. Limited seating! You can purchase your tickets online. https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/951784

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How to photograph an idea.

How to photograph a movement.

How to photograph a life.

Article by Courtney Kenyon  (AL/DD Marketing/ Development Intern)

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In February of 2014, Anabella Lenzu, Argentinean choreographer who moved to New York 10 years ago, lost her father. After just being granted an artisan residency at DUO Multicultural Arts Center, she decided that now was the time to step away from her political piece and try and create something that wasn’t necessarily an homage to her father, but focused on the memories and moments she kept with her now that he had passed.

While we sat down to discuss the ideas behind this new abstract way of using photography so heavily in her piece, Anabella remembered that when she and her husband moved to New York, her father had told him to photograph everything that they saw, and once they returned to Argentina, her husband’s photos could be displayed in a gallery. They never got around to taking the photos until now. Anabella set out to rehearsal in downtown Manhattan and began to photograph anything she was drawn to in a completely unconscious, non-specific pattern. She would take photos zoomed in so tightly that you might not even realize what the object was. She would take pictures of things she saw on her travels that were broken or covered in graffiti, or decaying. She took pictures of construction sites, walls, even a rusted nail on the ground. The choreography of this piece; In Pursuit of Happiness isn’t abstract however the photos are, creating a really thought provoking juxtaposition.

After approximately 5 months of this process, Anabella decided to start to really look at what she was photographing. Each photo she took had some kind of connection to her father. Anabella says that the photos were “…a safe media that allowed me to express how I feel and it was much more in a way, safe or secure because I didn’t need to articulate my ideas with my dancers because it was something emotional.” The photos became a coping mechanism for her while working through the grieving process. In these early stages, it was easier to be behind the camera reacting to what she was seeing rather than what she was feeling.

Her husband sent her off to rehearsal one day with a small cordless projector and a slideshow of everything she had done so far, telling her to just ‘go play around’. Anabella and a friend began to pair dance with the photos and saw magic. The photos created a costume on her dancer, along with an “emotional and atmospheric environment”. Once this process really got rolling, Anabella continued to take photos to enhance movement she had choreographed, including photos of her father’s old printing shop back in Argentina. This organic, fresh new style of choreography and performance, Anabella tells me, is extremely metaphoric. A father projects on his daughter, just as Anabella projects her photos on her dancers and audience. Anabella’s father projected on her, just as Anabella projects on her own children and her students. It’s about the feeling and the presence of her father in her life instead of a scrapbook full of photos. People leave us with feelings that can be universally understood, which is what Ms. Lenzu hopes the audience takes away from this piece.

Be sure not to miss In Pursuit of Happiness by Anabella Lenzu/Dance Drama. Preview performance at the Argentinean Consulate- Wednesday, September 30 @ 6pm (RSVP required). Public premiere at the Alchemical Theater  Friday October 23 @ 8pm through October 25.  Limited seating! Tickets online https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/951784

For more information check out AnabellaLenzu.com

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IN PURSUIT

BY TODD CARROLL

Naturally, because I’m a photographer, I compare creating the soundscape for Anabella Lenzu’s work to creating a background for a portrait. Think of any portrait in your favorite gallery, and it’s the person who stands out, as it should be. The background gives context, provides atmosphere and augments the feeling being transferred.

Everyone can immediately recall Mona Lisa’s smile, but for those who dig deeper, the background contains information that adds to the overall impression. My sound work on In Pursuit of Happiness is slightly less sophisticated than Da Vinci’s (hold for laugh), but does provide a kind of scenery and environment in which the viewers can immerse themselves and have a rich experience.

I started collaborating with Anabella in 2008, when I did the multimedia projections for the shows The Garden (2008), The Corral ( 2009) and The Grass is Always Greener… (2010), then again in 2013 when I created the soundscape for the show Pachamama: Mother World. Every project is different, of course, however In Pursuit presents new challenges The idea is to weave a lifetime of memories together using sound. Old pop songs, interviews, and field recordings all find their way into the soundtrack, linked together by love, fear and hope.

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Todd Carroll, a professional photographer and educator with over 20 years experience, presently maintains a photo-studio in Brooklyn, New York, where he works freelance for various international magazines and publications, as well as his personally driven projects. He obtained a Masters of Professional Studies in Digital Photography Degree from SVA in NYC in 2009 and currently teaches classes there. For more information or if you are interested in purchasing work, please contact: info@ToddCarrollPhotography.com or visit his website.

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Celebrating its 9th Anniversary, New York based Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama presents :

In Pursuit of Happiness  by Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama

PREVIEW PERFORMANCE:

Wednesday, September 30 at 6PM at Argentinean Consulate (12 W 56th St, New York)

20 minute performance followed by Q&A and refreshments.

Limited seating (RSVP required) info@AnabellaLenzu.com

PUBLIC PREMIERE:

Friday, October 23 at 8pm, Saturday, October 24 at 8p & Sunday, October 25 at 8pm 

at The Alchemical Theater Lab, NYC (104 W 14th Street, New York, NY 10011).

Limited seating. Tickets online https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/951784

Choreography:  Anabella Lenzu

Direction: Daniel Pettrow

Dancers: Lauren Ohmer & Anabella Lenzu

Music Landscape: Todd Carroll

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