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Posts Tagged ‘Unveiling Motion and Emotion’

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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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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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ANABELLA LENZU’S LITERARY TANGO

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Unveiling Motion and Emotion

Anabella Lenzu instructs class and uses her book, “Unveiling Motion and Emotion”, as a teaching tool

Photo credit Todd Carroll

By Lori Ann Doyon

Anabella Lenzu in partnership with photographer Todd Carroll authored Unveiling Motion and Emotion in order to share her techniques and journeys as a choreographer. As a choreographer who has worked in 3 continents (South America, Europe, and North America), she has many journeys to share. As a dancer professional for over twenty years she also has customized a technique that presently is accessed by her students and dancers at Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama.

“It’s about living a life in dance, engaging with the community you live in and connecting to your neighbors as well as your students to bring out the best in them,” said Anabella Lenzu about the content of her book. The book is bilingual and was published in 2013.

She first came to NYC about 16 years ago on a student visa from Argentina to attend the Juilliard School.

Her community for the past ten years has been Williamsburg. “It’s where my kids go to school, where I rehearse, perform and teach. I developed and produced an Italian Festival for several years (I’m half Italian and speak Italian as well) with help from the Brooklyn Arts Council, bringing together the Italian community together. I also taught Argentinean Tango classes when I first moved here many years ago, ” said Lenzu. She organized Argentinean Tango nights at Galapagos at its old location 70 N 6th St.

The Ciao Italy festival, referenced above, she produced from 2006–2010 and was held at the San Cono Association, at 231 Ainslie Street. She has taught classes and/or performed at: SounDance, WMACC, and at The Cave.

Lenzu currently teaches Intensives Dance Workshops at Center for Performance Research, 361 Manhattan Avenue.

On November 21, Anabella Lenzu celebrated the tenth year of Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama at Center for Performance Research. Those attending the event witnessed performances in Tango by Paloma Munoz also excerpts of choreography performed by Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama.

For more information about Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama or on how to purchase her book go to: http://www.anabellalenzu.com/

 

 

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For me, writing is not so much a pleasure as it is a civic responsibility, and as an educator, my perennial goal is to generate appreciation for and understanding of the arts and of artists.

I feel humbled that Unveiling was featured three times this week in 3 different publications. Enjoy them!

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Book Review

Unveiling Motion and Emotion, by Anabella Lenzu

At first glance, the reader might think Unveiling Motion and Emotion will be a typical autobiography, but instead author Anabella Lenzu’s twenty years of experience acts as a moving backdrop to her main purpose: the constant struggle “interspersed with bursts of development” in teaching dance and choreography.  Lovely images, expressive language, and a topsy-turvy layout divided into Spanish and English, carry us on a journey first to Argentina, then onward through three continents in search of the creative process.

Lenzu, now living in New York City and artistic director of Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama, stresses the importance of lifetime knowledge – to study a foreign language, cultures, arts and science, pedagogy, holistic health, creative writing − all to become a more accomplished, benevolent artist. Dance to her encompasses more than the ego, and she urges us to share our gifts wherever the need is greatest.

Her choreography may engage props, elaborate costumes and masks; she may strip the stage bare or carry the movement into the street. Themes, both dramatic and light, may reflect folk tales and traditions, headlines, including the illegal immigrant’s struggle, or one’s seemingly mundane yet extraordinary life.

In one amusing antidote about portraying a cockroach (for another choreographer), everything about her was in reverse, even her head was her buttocks (What?! Read pp.38-39). As she performed before potential donors at a grand hotel, she observed food as it trickled down designer shoes and onto the floor. This peculiar dance revealed to her truly the life of an insect.

Lenzu discusses the hardest class she ever taught and praises her mentors, young and old. She agrees that improvisation is a good compositional element, but emphasizes the importance of repertory.

…poetically, she visualizes the dancer’s body as “the container of our soul.”

I highly recommend this book as a source within the dance curriculum.

From the desk of

Colleen Dean, MA

Editor, Dance Arts Now!

Virginia Representative, CREDO

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It’s so great to keep receiving responses and reactions for my book Unveiling Motion and Emotion!
 

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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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