Sunday, May 09, 2010

Moments in Life

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real! When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one, which has been opened for us. Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile. Dream what you want to dreamgo where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do. May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Author unknown

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dance as Theater

Ages I don't come here!
I hope my blog friends are still out there! :-)

Some thoughts about creativity :-)


I like to work in ideas. Even if someone asks me to make an abstract choreography, I create for myself a linear form of thought, like a plot. During my early planning stages I create dance as if it were theatre. Many times it is like laying out a storyboard while trying to discover what I want to say with the intellectual material I find.This takes a long research period where the idea begins to take shape as if I were a writer constructing a play. I take especial attention to mental or visual images that can be expressed through movement. I slowly build a dramatic map, where moving bodies will take the place of the text and the subtext.
This way of working concentrates principally on the characters of the dance-theatre piece. I am interested in working always in an inductive way, inferring the general from the particular. I like specific ideas, not broad generalizations. Let’s take for example the word “love”, it is a general concept of an emotion.
If William Shakespeare had written a play entitled “Adolescent Romantic Love through Conflictive Socio-Economic Situations in the XVI Century” and explored all the possible examples of the word “love” such as: romantic love, sexual love, fraternal love and familial love, then the piece would have been lost. By dealing with the specific situation, of two young people in love in Romeo and Juliet, he was able to generate an exploration of all of these ideas into a coherent whole, working in this way, from the particular to the general. Specific ideas allow me this kind of focus.

Many months before beginning the rehearsal period I work in developing a clear dramaturgical structure and the vocabulary of movements that I need to create the different characters. My creative approach combines theatre and different languages of dance, using elements from several sources to orchestrate and outline the path that I feel the idea has to take. The length and style of the piece will be therefore dictated by this development.
The element of surprise defined by timing, as well as the work on details, are extremely important. I like to explore the many individual ways of non-verbal expression, for example, tiny gestures that say what the character thinks and feels, the focus of the eyes, and especially the tempo and rhythm of theatrical situations.

It is fascinating to work with all kind of performers, actors, singers, instrumentalist musicians and dancers. It is the idea once again that calls for a specific kind of performer. Sometimes it is necessary to combine performers of different genres. I try then to find a common performing language, so that everybody on stage become a moving actor without words and if there are words, I transform these into sounds.
One can’t be too serious all the time. The use of irony when least expected can make the piece more dynamic and if there is a dramatic ending; the contrast can create a stronger effect in the audience.

The construction of my pieces depends about what I want to say. It can have a cyclical or repeating form, sometimes I use variation and often I create accidentally my own compositional vocabulary, like the” fast-forward and rewind sequence” or “eternal pause frames”, terms obviously influenced by video.
The music also, has to enhance the idea, with a dramatic purpose as well. Therefore I look for music which supports and contributes to the concept of each scene, in a direct or contrapuntal way, or just as an atmosphere.

Once in the studio I have a very accurate notion of the quality necessary for a particular character, what music will be used and the sequence of the scenes. The next stage is the discovery of the details of movement needed through improvisation. I guide the performers so that together we can find the individuality of each character through these exploratory sessions. The personal body language of each performer is important and valuable. At this point I put aside my pre-planned script and open myself to other creative possibilities that sometimes take me into a completely unexpected direction. I am changing constantly from author to choreographer as pilot (Jo Butterworth, MA course handout)

Once the whole piece is roughly created, the moment of choosing what is essential and relevant for the piece, what I call “the heart of the piece” begins. Choice means that I have to cut, add, transform and balance. More time is spent cutting than adding- what I call “scissor time”. The moment of facing choice is a critical time for me. Here I let my intuition speak. At the same time I am conscious that the choices I make can affect the piece drastically for better or worse.
At this moment I throw away any kind of artistic ego I could have and I try to stay honest to the idea. Perhaps I have to eliminate a wonderful step combination because it just has a decorative role. Other times I have to cut good material that unbalances the overall scene. Choosing tests my integrity as a choreographer, because I have to forget any personal vanity and concentrate on what a particular idea dictates.

Other important aspect is to make the performers and other people involved in the production feel comfortable during rehearsal period, respecting their ideas and individualities. A positive work atmosphere during the creative process is of vital importance to me. Through being comfortable, the best creative ideas can spring. It is proven by many theatre practitioners like Clive Barker (1977:62) and Augusto Boal, (1992:60) that through intelligent play, creativity flows freely.

I am open to opinions and criticism, taking them to heart and pondering their possibilities. Only then I can make a choice of using them or not. Many times they inspire me to go one step further or see things in a new way. The visual concept of the stage, as well as the overall effect of the production, has to be at all moments present. Even the best of ideas will be lost on an audience if the details of a production, as well as their timing are not in perfect coordination to have direct impact on the public.
For me as a creator, the creative process is continuous; it doesn’t stop with the performance of a particular piece. The research process creates the seeds for new ideas. Ideas feed each other, like a chain reaction, it never stops.

This approach to dance as theatre has built my signature, my own choreographic way of expressing a theatrical idea, in the context of the times I live.
Being a Mexican that has been living in Europe for almost half of her life and working and living in different countries, my signature is a mixture of various cultures. I have been also influenced by choreographers of other nationalities and different styles, like Kay Takey from Japan (Butoh) and Reinhild Hoffmann from Germany (dance-theatre).
My light designer once told me that I was more like a theatre director than a choreographer. (Rui Damas, August 2004) He told me that through time my pieces have become more and more theatre oriented. I never considered myself a theatre director because my background comes from dance and I rarely use text. Still I have to recognize that the years of reading plays, paying close attention to actors working in performance and studying the practical theories of theatre, have a great influence on the creative choices made and the choreographic work process itself.
I see myself as a choreographer, because I transmit my ideas through the stylisation of the vocabulary of movement. For me, even the slightest gesture of one hand, done in an expressive way, is dance. Therefore I am a choreographer.

Barker Clive (1977 [1988])
Theatre Games, London: Methuen PaperbackBoal
Augusto (1992 [1997]) Games for Actors and Non-Actors, London: Routledge
Butterworth Jo, Didactic-democratic framework for dance making MA handout

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Some quotes by Robert Hughes

  • The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.Fr
  • On the whole, money does artists much more good than harm. The idea that one benefits from cold water, crusts and debt collectors is now almost extinct, like belief in the reformatory power of flogging.

  • Drawing never dies, it holds on by the skin of its teeth, because the hunger it satisfies.. the desire for an active, investigative, manually vivid relation with the things we see and yearn to know about.. is apparently immortal.

  • Drawing brings us into a different, a deeper and more fully experienced relation to the object.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Magic Road

A friend sent me this picture, I find it so beautiful. I look at it and my eyes focus immediately at the end of the road, or what seems the end of the road. It makes me think about the steps we give in life, curiosity, magic, expectations. It makes me travel.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pictures from these last two months

House in Valle de Bravo- Mexico

My beloved mother's dog "Charlie"

Garden in Valle de Bravo, Mexico


Albufeira and Daisies

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I am showing a selection of wonderful silent films in my performing space.
Yesterday was the first session and the weather became nasty, by nasty I mean really nasty. It felt almost like a hurricane. I had a furious river in front of the performing space.
I doubted about having any public, because even if someone wanted to go, there was no way of accessing the street. So after waiting patiently for someone to appear, I decided to play Koyaanisqatsi. I had seen this film just in TV and wanted to watch it in the big screen.
The rain was furiously banging on the ceiling and the seagulls shouting, while slowly the impressive images began to display accompanied by the wonderful composition of Philip Glass . Actually besides his piano pieces, this I think is one of his best compositions.
I had no public, but the experience was unique.

I hope there is no rain tonight.