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Posts Tagged ‘Salvatore Cataldo’

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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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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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