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Wednesday, 30 May 2012 17:37

Interview with Viveca Vázquez (2007)

Interview with Viveca Vázquez, conducted by Beliza Torres as a part of the 6th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics

Published in Interviews

This section contains interview materials such as videos and transcripts.

Interview with Marianela Boán, conducted by Abigail Levine. April 29, 2010. Sinaloa, Mexico. Translated from Spanish.

 

icon Boán Interview English (166.1 kB)

 

 

Abigail Levine: How has Contaminated Dance evolved since you came to Philadelphia?

Marianela Boán: Well, I see two important things. The first is, obviously, the inclusion of technology, of video, within the show, its image, for the first time. In Cuba, I had decided not to do anything with those media because the necessary equipment didn’t exist there, what there was always broke. That was in the 80s. I tried to use video and said, “Here, it’s not possible.”

AL: But you were interested in it?

MB: All my life. We are talking about the year [1983] that I made a work called Nijinsky. I used video, but it was a disaster. Even though I had the luxury of having Padroncito [Juan Padrón, Cuban filmmaker—Vampiros en la Habana, etc.] edit my film... make me a film with images of Nijinsky, all at ICAIC [Instituto Cubano de Arte y Industria Cinematográficos]. It was, like, “Wow,”  but then there was no way to project it well, you know, old projectors and all that. At that point, I said, “I’m never using this stuff again in Cuba.” But video was already disquieting me a lot as an idea, as a phenomenon. I was living with this. I was already making another work that really needed video... also, there was the frustration of not having internet access. In Cuba, we lived with a scarcity of everything, which produces a thirst for all those things you don’t have. So, when I arrived in the U.S., to the MFA [completed in 2006 at Temple University], I focused in on that. I mean, one of the reasons that I left Cuba was because I couldn’t have access to the technology, and I felt limited. And I did not want to continue on like that.

Finally, then, I think this is the primary thing: that technology became one more element in the Contamination, along with theater, song, and all the rest. For example, in False Testimony, upon integrating technology, the contamination has become... has had new experiences. In False Testimony, it is a situation in which four artists of distinct disciplines participate in the action from their specific discipline, each expressive instrument is participating in a specific way--the musician with her cello, the videographer with the camera, the dancers with movement. All three are there, each using her particular vocabulary in the same situation. In this case, as a creator, it was like a kind of laboratory where two people are being checked, analyzed. And the cello, just as the camera, is used to spy, to provoke, to calm. This, then, is a completely new thing because it is not the same when it is the dancers who are singing and acting and all that. Using your instrument, your expressive language, maintaining it as it is, inserting it in a situation, sharing it in a situation. This was very important.

Each time I integrate technology, new things happen with the “contamination.” For example, in Voyeur, the idea was to incorporate the public into the scene, to break the fourth wall. And there, again, is another element. And, later, in Decadere, there was the idea of the abandoned office and the idea of having technology tossed around carelessly in the space. And there, I also incorporated the use of the microphone, the processing of sound live, the DJ on stage. There is a permanent microphone. So, now it is not only work with video, but I am also experimenting with the realm of sound. I mean, with every technological element that is incorporated, new possibilities open up in the Contamination. And possibilities for the interpreter to get to a much more distant place in the body. I mean, getting beyond that of the “dancer.” This was already a space opened in my work, but each time more and more.

AL: I read an interview that you did in Cuba where you said that you felt like you had to speak about the reality around you. Do you think that in your work in the U.S., for a North American audience, that they read and understand your work in a different way than a Cuban audience, or is it similar?

MB: No, I believe it’s similar. Moving here, I felt total censorship. I mean, I have not lost the sensation, being here, that I am being censored. For example, during the Bush government, it was almost like living in... It was so ideologically repressive because of the question of the war and American patriotism and all that. For example, in Voyeur, I used the “Instructions for Use in Case of a Chemical Attack”, a U.S. government document. It is an official text. I felt moments of “Wow, this could get me in trouble.” It is a powerful text. Another example is the nudity in False Testimony. I feel like there are places in the U.S. where I cannot use nudity. So, there are examples of moral censorship, and also ideological censorship, that I have felt perfectly clearly. And money directs and Christian morality imposes... So, I think my work continues moving, articulating ideology wherever it appears. I have felt with my pieces that the public here has had the same need to see their reality reflected, to have someone comment beyond what people are accustomed to art doing. Basically, audiences have received the work with great interest.

AL: I have felt that there is an a-politicism, if that’s what to call it... that a great deal of the work produced by the dance world here [in the U.S.] tries to exist in a world apart. But you have felt that audiences react to your work, making the connections between the work and its surroundings...

MB: Yes, they get it! They react. They laugh. They understand the codes, and they appreciate the work. The problem is that my sensibility is not going to change.

AL: As far as practical conditions--economic, the structure of the artistic community... Has it been a change being here?

MB: A total change, yes!

AL: And has it affected your work? Advantages? Disadvantages?

MB: Yes, it was a total change. It took me a lot of work to adjust to the system of production here, the conditions. At first, I started to do things as I had in Cuba. That is: find a space and people that want to work with me; get together and make works until I feel that they are good and show them to presenters until they program the pieces. I did that until I started to apply for and receive grants. At one point, I decided to create a non-profit. Lots of papers. They offered me a course in Arts Business. I found a lawyer. But in the end, I went back. Cuba-style. I hole myself up in a space and make things I like, and when I need money for something, I apply for a grant and that’s it.

AL: And it wasn’t easier in Cuba where you had your dancers and all that?

MB: Yeah, a thousand times easier. Of course, of course. Now I figured out the way to produce work here. It has been a lot of work, but when I want to make something here, I have a thousand people that want to work with me. If I have money at that moment to pay because I have a research grant, great. If not, the people who can’t work if they don’t get paid, don’t do it. I work with those who can and, at some point, they are going to start to earn money because, hopefully, the work is good and it gets presented. That’s what has happened up to this point. And each time I have more money. Often I ask for grants and they don’t give them to me, but normally... Now I am in the grants “system” here.

AL: And Cuba, does it remain a level of your work, of your thinking?

MB: I think it is a level that has passed, that I have now superseded. Not that that is better or worse, but I see myself as far away from that by now.

AL: What I was thinking of in particular was whether the themes that were a part of your work there continue to have a presence in the work now?

MB: For me, Cuba as a theme does not interest me. Not at all. There is nothing left to say. It doesn’t interest me to say any more about that, about that country, about that system because I don’t believe that anything is going to change, absolutely nothing. I feel very used. At some point I said, “If I continue talking about this, I am being an accomplice to it because I am sure that it is not going to change.” I spoke about these things because I thought they were going to change, that it was going in a positive direction. But when I saw that the negative direction was not going to change ever, I got tired of talking about the same thing. It didn’t interest me anymore. And being here, I have not spoken of being an emigré. I chose to leave Cuba because I wanted to, not because I had to. To the contrary, I left at the high point of my career. I was very free. I had absolutely no problems with Cuba. I left because I wanted to leave, to have another experience. Because of that, I don’t have the nostalgia of the immigrant, nor is immigration a problem for me at all. I don’t have any problem of that sort. As a theme, nothing.

What remains is that I see things here from the same point of view from which I looked at them in Cuba, the same need to speak about a place... I saw Obama and said, “And now? Now what?” It is the first time that I agreed with a president. Well, I was in agreement with Fidel until the 80s, until I began to feel like there was injustice everywhere... from then on, I became an artist of permanent opposition. When Obama was campaigning, I said, “I agree with all of this,” but then the [economic] crisis started... Decadere is a work of the crisis in the United States. It is like El pez de la torre in Cuba; it is the work of the crisis. Decadere is the work of the crisis of the Capitalist system. That’s why the title refers to decadence. In fact, I cite two previous works--Fast Food and El pez. Moments from these works are re-edited here. Fast Food and El pez were the works of the crises of ‘93 and ‘96, and this work is the work of the crisis now, and I re-use moments and cite them here in a new way. But always purposefully.

AL: And are you creating works with the hope that there will be change here [in the U.S.]?

MB: I think, by now, no. Let’s see, I think... how to explain it? This is a good question. I don’t know if I lost hope, the faith that art can change things. That’s it. I think that I lost that faith. Better said, what I always feel is the necessity to express things that are going on around me--pains, limitations on people, those I see, my own, like a permanent scream. The work doesn’t talk; it screams. Until I have found that scream, I cannot create anything. So, my work is always asking for help, but it is not that I think that it can change something. I don’t believe that, no. Show, I think it can show something, put forth a scream.

In Decadere, there is a lot about the question of culture, about multi-culturalism. I am analyzing cultural reactions to a particular situation. For example, in the U.S., the workplace seems to me a very oppressive space, very strange. And what happened for Latinos and Americans in that same space? What are their affective reactions? I am exploring the question of culture, but much more broadly than just Cuba, at the level of the Latino and American, the Anglo and the Latino.

AL: I heard you speak about being happy about presenting your works within Latino and Latin American cultural contexts...

MB: Yes, touring these works, bringing groups from the U.S. to Latin America, I feel that at intellectually, culturally, on a very small scale, I am supporting something. For example, Philadelphia, to bring people from that city to feel our culture from the inside. Yes, that makes me feel very good.

AL: And the next step. Where are you headed?

MB: I think, in my next work, I want to use computation of some kind, a form of processing of the image live, to work with digital design artists. There are very interesting people in Philadelphia working on Digital Art... not just having a laptop in the wings, but having a computer on the stage processing images. And how to incorporate this world so that it has the same process of incorporation into the action, that I can really contextualize it into the work. I mean, as a challenge to me: Get to the point of using these technologies, maintaining the same principles of construction, of dramaturgy, etc. I am very interested because I believe it is going to give new possibilities for presenting the dancer’s body on the stage... a new element that can enrich the work. I think that I have a need that drives this. I am very curious. I now know a lot about the cameras, projectors, but now I want... I want to learn a great deal about this, as well.

AL: And in terms of the effects of all this equipment on the body, especially on the trained body of the dancer, what is it that interests you? How do you see this?

MB: Well, the first thing is that it can be like a cinematographic version parallel to the version on stage. I always envied film a lot. Film can get to certain levels, get into the body at some levels that I can’t do on stage. And that is what has fascinated me in relation to the movement and the body--that you can see the granules of the dancer. How does a granule dance? How does a pore dance? You know, that thing of seeing the dance the way the camera offers it to you. The camera offers new perspectives on the choreography, on the body itself.

AL: But it also changes the behavior of the body, both being seen and also, as I felt in False Testimony, working the camera changes how one moves.

MB: That’s true. There are a set of behaviors when a dancer is being filmed--the relation with the image. I mean, new points of view, new focus, perspectives. It is like a fifth wall, a fifth wall... It is a fifth wall that you have awareness of or not. I mean, there are the four walls and one more wall that the image brings. That just occurred to me. Ah, the interview should be called “The Fifth Wall.”

AL: Yes! For sure. One last one... Dance as the center of your work. It is just because it is?

MB: Yes, it is because it is, because I believe in the body as the source of expression, as a primordial source. That’s the thing. I mean, for me, I’ve always maintained that. It seems that there is an energy in the body. It’s not mental; it comes from memory, from memory that, you know, begins way, way out there, it begins... The body is full of memories past and future, so... I believe in the truth in the body... The body as energy of all types, coming from other expressive elements. And when I say “the body”, I do not mean just the physical body, the motivating body, the mental body... the body as the base of expression. And beyond that, that theory that I have that the dancer who has educated her body so fully, therefore, has a special sensitivity that allows her to use the voice, as well... whatever element she wants from that sensitive body... y ya.

 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 16:24

Artist Statement

I am Cuban, born in Guatemala. As a child, I lived in Mexico, Washington, DC, and Algeria, where my father journalist died covering Che Guevara’s African travel. I danced, choreographed, and toured the world in Cuba’s national dance company and my own company. For the last decade, I lived in the United States, a sworn enemy of the island where I grew up. Now, as ever, my country is my body.

I have lived on both sides of history. I have seen the poverty and wealth, landscapes and bodies nourished and abused by ideology. My work excavates humanity from ideology, pulling actual bodies out of the bodies we are officially permitted. Wherever ideology is strong, bodies must adapt, and resist. I am fascinated by the ways our bodies are pushed by ideology and push back, by the spaces in between the rules and off the grid, where bodies come together, settle, and sometimes dance. Soft, responsive, rebellious, local, our bodies are the first victims of ideology, but are finally unconquerable and unsubmissive. Our bodies are nations unto themselves, full of contradictions and silences. I do not make dances that proclaim a winner, that one system to is best. I make dances about what systems hide. I am fascinated by the lies we tell ourselves, the lies we are forced to live, the lies we happily agree to.

Marianela Boán

La nostalgia del quinqué... una huida explores and exposes the anxieties of everyday life in Puerto Rican society, transversally investigating issues of gender, class and race. A series of tableaux vivants of the "Puerto Rican Family" shows a stereotypical version of the folkloric peasant family ("jíbaros") from the "literatura costumbrista" (dealing with the transit form a rural society to an industrial, urban one) in a tragicomic clash of anachronisms, self-inflicted bigotry and partisan politics, negotiated in a desperate juggle of contrasting realities, evasion, euphemisms and denial that evidence the identity crisis of Puerto Rican society. These tableaux perform an antiphonal relationship to three "sister" characters through which Hernández exposes her take on Puerto Rican identity crisis and colonialism: Licenciada Perdóname (a district representative), Pragma la continental (with her self-help lecture inviting Puerto Ricans "to climb and to progress") and Perpetua (a sensual "Pan-Latin" singer), who, with the help of their assistant Lamento, unveil the political, socio-historic and ethno-cultural complexities of "the Puerto Rican condition".

Friday, 03 December 2010 15:23

Infarto (2002)

In Infarto (Heart Attack),  theater, dance, performance, dramatic text, movement, costumes, video, animation, projections, music and everyday objects are juxtaposed and confronted, placed in a liminal space where notions of precariousness are explored and celebrated. Along with fellow experimental performers Eduardo Alegría and Yamil Collazo, Teresa exposes the struggles, anxieties and exploits of being experimental artists in Puerto Rico. Forced migration, bigotry, lack of available spaces and proper funding, and the pressure to define their work within fixed boundaries of traditional art forms all pose a daily threat to artists, who metaphorically "infartan" due to these social, political and economic conditions. In turn, the artists celebrate precariousness, the unpolished work of art, the slippery path between disciplines, embracing affect and humor to assert publicly that their work is "a different kind of performance": "lo mío es otro teatro".

Thursday, 02 December 2010 16:22

Marianela Boán's Contaminated Dance

Contaminated Dance implies a dance performance open to voice, emotion, posture, gesture, image, language, etc. Signs, codes, genres collide into a collage structure, forcing the dancers to achieve a multifaceted interpretation by traveling through different expressive channels and moods while the virtuosity of the movement is incessant. Boán's creative process is inseparable from the social-cultural process lived by the Cuban artistic vanguard of the 80s and 90s. In Cuba, it was imperative to refine artistic skills in order to fill the emptiness of public space with the essential freedom of art. Today, her contaminated dance style is even more radical as a result of twenty years of non-stop research within her companies/ laboratories DanzAbierta and BoanDanz Action. Dramaturgical awareness plays a very important roll in her eclectic style. Dramaturgy allows her to explore the maximum possibility of each element, achieving the optimum effect with the minimum resources, which means avoiding decorative or arbitrary elements. Dramaturgical awareness allows her to have a different attitude, bringing together many elements without distracting the audience from the themes she wants to communicate, preparing the audience to be moved, to be able to think and to recognize the stream of ideas she is emphasizing, keeping them active and co-creative.

Contaminated Dance with its infinite possibilities for amalgamation of dissimilar elements is for Boán more than the name of certain style; it is the mature outcome of many years of pushing her limits as artist and human being beyond the artistic and political establishment.


icon Contaminated Dance (51.81 kB)

 

Thursday, 02 December 2010 16:19

Marianela Boán Extended Biography

Marianela Boán is an internationally recognized choreographer, known as one of the most important artists of contemporary Cuban dance. She is considered a leader of the Hispanic-American dance vanguard. Her revolutionary style “Contaminated Dance” radically merges all the arts in dance performance to produce an original form. As choreographer, dancer and professor Boán has worked in more than 40 countries around the world and created more than 50 choreographies. She worked for nine years in Philadelphia, USA, teaching at Temple University and directing her company BoanDanz Action. In 2010, Boán became the founding director of the first national contemporary dance company of the Dominican Republic.

As the founding director of DanzAbierta and BoanDanz Action, she has been awarded numerous prizes in Cuba and abroad. Her recent works have been performed at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, at the National University in Bogotá, Colombia, at the Casa del Teatro in Santiago, Dominican Republic, La Mama Experimental theater in New York, Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Bates Dance Festival, Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, as well as eight cities throughout Mexico, including the Teatro de la Danza in Mexico City, as a part of the Red Nacional de Festivales de Danza.

With BoanDanz Action, Boán has premiered seven new works: Map (Conwell Theater), Fluid (Painted Bride Art Center), Quiereme Mucho (Mexico City), Eighth Commandment (Oldenburg, Germany), Voyeur (Live Arts Festival,Philadelphia), Decadere(Casa del Teatro, Dominican Republic),and Landscape on Hold, a collaboration with Gabri Christa and Tania Issac (Painted Bride Art Center.)

Her work has been presented at diverse venues and festivals including: Madrid en Danza, Cadiz and Fall in Spain, The Place Theater in London, Festival of Nations in Switzerland, Chaillot Theater in Paris, Le Hague Festival in Holland, CirqueRoyal de la Monnaie in Belgium, L'Arena deVerona and Goldoni Theater in Venice, Italy, Global Dance and Summer Theater in Germany, Edinburgh Fringe and Glasgow Festivals, Scotland, Odin Theater in Denmark and the most important venues in Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Nigeria and Japan. She has been a Titular Professor at the Superior Institute of Art in Cuba (ISA) and has contributed to the education of several generations of Cuban and Latin American dancers.

Since 2000, she has developed an intensive work schedule in the US as a guest artist, choreographer and performer with her solo works Blanche Dubois, Fast Foos , Seagull, and Lifting, as well as teaching composition, creative process, improvisation, repertory, dance technique and movement for actors and visual artists.

She has created works for companies and institutions including the American Dance Festival (2000), Bates Dance Festival (2001, 2003, 2004), NYU Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics Encuentro (2001, 2002, 2003), Barnard Colege, Columbia University (2001, 2002, 2003), Anchorage Alaska University Ensemble, Alfred College, Wake Forest University, Florida International University, Asheville Dance Theater Company, FITLA Los Angeles, Dance Theater Workshop in New York, Hedwig Dance Company, Chicago, and Princeton University. In 2003, she taught a course in Contaminated Dance at NYU's Department of Performance Studies. She is the recipient of a Rocky Award (2008) and has received grants and commissions from the Cuban Artists Foundation (CAF), Painted Bride Art Center, National Performance Network (NPN), Dance Advance, and the Independence Foundation, among others. She is a member of the International Dance Council (CID). In 2010, she presented her company's work False Testimony on an eight-city tour through the Red Nacional de Festivales de Danza in Mexico, the works Voyeur and False Testimony in major festivals in Brazil, and the US premier of Decadere at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.


icon Boán Biography (79.25 kB)

Monday, 22 November 2010 13:11

Lo cubano, zona peligrosa

Full Text

icon Lo cubano, zona peligrosa (esp) (67.15 kB)

por Marianela Boán

Originalmente publicado en Gaceta de Cuba. Ciudad de la Habana: UNEAC, 1999.

Parto de la premisa de que todo lo que creo es cubano y que proponerse concientemente un resultado final cubano es inútil, pues en cualquier tema que trate sea de la literatura universal o abstracto, estará ahí esa cubanía, a pesar de mí. No obstante el problema se presenta cuando he escogido “manipular”lo cubano concientemente. Trabajar en este plano significa tratar de hallar un equilibrio entre dos extremos muy peligrosos; de un lado la poderosa imagen cliché de lo cubano y del otro los clichés vanguardistas de lo cubano como tabú. En cuatro momentos de mi obra me he visto enfrentada a lo cubano como materia concreta en el proceso de creación: Mariana (1980), Retorna (1992), El pez de la torre nada en el asfalto (1996) y El árbol y el camino (1998).

 Como toda operación en zona de extremo peligro he requerido de una estrategia cuidadosa para llevarla a cabo. He aquí algunas reflexiones sobre mi experiencia en este sentido.
 Con Mariana quería hacer que el teatro oliera a manigua, hablar de patria, héroes e historias hiperconocidas y manipuladas manteniendo el equilibrio para no caer ni en el panfleto ni en la abstracción. Cómo revitalizar una tradición histórica y cubana, llevar al espectador a un plano de sensibilización emotiva, mantener los valores artísticos a salvo de lo ancilar y evadir tanto el jeroglífico simbólico cerrado en sí mismo como los clichés al que nos tienen acostumbrados el tratamiento de estos temas. Había que partir de desesteriotipar a los personajes. Una de las maneras fue la consabida humanización de los mismos, dejando ver su parte débil y humana. Mariana tiene que haber llorado mucho donde no la vieran. No es que no llorara sino que tenía el valor de hacerlo oculta y salir con una cara reluciente a empujar al próximo hijo hacia la guerra y hacia la muerte con una sonrisa lavada por el llanto.

Otra manera fue hacer un sincretismo entre entre estos personajes y el panteón yoruba afrocubano, descubrimiento que surgió en el proceso. Mariana-Yemayá, Marcos-Ogun, Antonio Maceo-Changó. En el momento en que voy a coreografiar la escena en que Marcos enseña a sus hijos a manejar el machete me doy cuenta de que la danza de manejar el machete ya existe en Cuba milenariamente y es la danza de Oggun, dios de los metales, y que era mucho más fuerte reelaborar una información que forma parte de la conciencia colectiva del cubano que inventar de la nada una danza del machete. A partir de ese momento comenzaría a buscar en Mariana una evidente Yemayá, madre de todos los dioses, la madre por excelencia en nuestra cultura con sus pasos marinos que mecen a las criaturas y su manera única de salvar lo que tiene alrededor poniéndolo a salvo en su gran saya. ¿Y Antonio Maceo? El gran guerrero estaba también ya creado, era Changó.

En ese momento pude constatar que lo cubano, en este caso lo afrocubano podía completar o alimentar un personaje y una trama si era asumido en su esencia. Marcos en simbiosis con Oggun hacia surgir un personaje superior a ambos que iluminaba la esencia de cada uno, la riqueza poética y danzaria de la mitología yoruba puesta a convivir con la naturaleza histórica y humana de los personajes en cuestión.

En Retorna, obra cuyo tema es directamente una reflexión sobre el espacio que le otorgamos a lo cubano en la vida y en el arte, los personajes aparecen vestidos exageradamente elegantes, rayando en lo cursi y tratando de aparentar una total acepcia por los tambores. Aparentan no querer bailar la música cubana pero el ritmo es más fuerte que ellos y los lleva por un camino frenético y descontrolado a pesar de la lucha constante entre las poses que quieren mantener como apariencia y las caderas que son arrastradas más allá de todo posible control aparencial de clase, cultura, o personalidad.

Tanto el momento en que encarnan al “fino”como el momento en que después de luchar contra su propia apariencia son arrastrados por la “gozadera” están ironizados por los gestos, bailes y posturas no sólo típicas del cubano cliché, sino hasta del bufo, elementos de los que me valgo concientemente para mostrar lo grotesco y caricaturizar esta actitud de falsa acepcia. Cuando los personajes pasan la catársis y son concientes de la transgresión tratan de disimular. En ese momento comienzan a musitar la canción Retorna de Sindo Garay y a través de distintas relaciones que se establecen entre ellos y la canción van poco a poco abandonando las máscaras, comienzan a derrumbarse los clichés, el grotesco cede y la obra termina en que los intérpretes cantan a cuatro voces la canción, dejando atrás el tono de parodia conque ha sido tratado lo cubano durante la obra.

Lo interesante de este proceso fue el haber logrado armar una dramaturgia que me permitiera utilizar los propios clichés de lo cubano para, llevados al extremo, llamar la atención sobre otros posibles puntos de vista de lo cubano, que alejados de los tabúes, abren un espacio de reconciliación con ese mundo para quienes ya lo daban por inútil .

En El pez de la torre nada en el asfalto, obra cuyo tema es el cubano en medio de una crisis, las reflexiones sobre lo cubano marcan toda la primera parte: capacidad contemplativa, poca resistencia al patetismo, búsqueda de la catársis inmediata, refugio en el humor exorcizante,etc…Tenía que asumir elementos típicos de nuestra cultura como son una rumba o la gestualidad del cubano y la opción fue elaborarlos sin que perdieran sustancia en el proceso de extrañamiento.

La rumba, al mezclarla con la técnica de contacto que es una de las técnicas postmodernas que el grupo maneja habitualmente y que parte de estímulos mutuos en el cuerpo, en el espacio que produce el diseño del cuerpo y en las líneas de energía, dió como resultado un discurso de movimiento donde los pasos esenciales de la rumba aparecen con toda su fuerza pero emergiendo de otras fuentes. Esto me permitió entrar en un género popular tradicional desde una nueva perspectiva , y revitalizar una técnica como la de contacto que es una asimilación foránea desarrollada originalmente por la danza postmoderna norteamericana.

En cuanto a los gestos y signos gestuales del cubano también fueron elaborados coreográficamente. Pero a partir de su propia negación, es decir, asumiendo el mito del cubano hipergestualizador y utilizando toda esa famosa gestualidad para ocultar cosas, gestualizar para no tener que decir o poder secretear, la gestualidad, aparente arma de comunicación, convertida en arma de disimulo de lo ilícito, ya que la escena donde se trabaja con el gesto en la obra es la de los negocios prohibidos. Al elaborar el gesto cubano, cosa esta que se ha hecho mucho en nuestra escena, el matiz decodificador se consiguió a partir de ironizar traicionando este procedimiento.
Al comienzo de El árbol y el camino, los bailarines llegan tarde a la función, cada uno por diversos problemas cotidianos. Intentan comenzar a bailar con la misma ropa que traen de la calle y las mochilas al hombro después de discutir entre ellos, con la coreógrafa y con el público para tratar de salvar la situación ya que la música de la obertura ha continuado y el telón ha comenzado a abrirse. Intentan bailar desconcentrados, cargados de “realidad cotidiana” la primera escena de la obra que es nada menos que el paraíso. Por supuesto, el paraíso-escena-arte expulsa a estos intérpretes que están aún contaminados con el infierno-cotidianidad-realidad y no les permite evolucionar en el escanario, la acción se paraliza, están desesperados, se agreden , nosaben que hacer hasta que uno de ellos, comienza a invocar a sus dioses yorubas, cae en trance y va contagiando al grupo hacia un ritual de despojo de la santería cubana, el grupo se “limpia”de esta manera y ya “despojado”del infierno-cotidianidad-realidad el paraiso-escena- arte les permite comenzar la obra.

Las invocaciones y cantos afrocubanos aparecidos al calor de una acción aparentemente casual, en esta primera parte, se seguirán utilizando a lo largo de toda la obra con diferentes subtextos siempre como símbolo de lo ritual, espiritual, religioso y natural, dentro de una trama cuya multiplicidad literal se basa en los opuestos sociedad-naturaleza , proyecto social-proyecto individual, ritual social-ritual religioso.

Necesitaba un ritual purificador para que los personajes pudieran pasar del presente al estado de total armonía con el medio y entre ellos y ese ritual en Cuba tiene un nombre: despojo.
Como la danza de Oggun, conque Marcos Maceo enseña a sus hijos a manejar el machete, preferí no inventar un ritual sino elaborar el ritual de purificación por excelencia en la cultura cubana y aprovechar así no solo su fuerza ancestral sino además inaugurar en la obra “lo ritual”a partir de un ritual propio de nuestra cultura.

No todos los países tienen la cultura viva y absolutamente interactuante en todos los planos de la existencia que tiene Cuba, siempre me ha parecido que vivir ignorando la enorme energía que puede insuflar a la expresión contemporánea la incorporación de elementos de nuestra cultura popular o folklórica es perderse un gran banquete. A mi juicio esa cultura es en sí insuperable y es por lo que al tratar con ella lo hago siempre con un nivel enorme de autoconciecia, como si metiera mis manos dentro de un cuerpo viviente del que hay que extraer órganos vivos sin lacerarlo.

Monday, 22 November 2010 12:43

Bibliography

[compiled by Abigail Levine in 2010]

Boán, Marianela. "La Dramaturgia en mi obra." Gaceta de Cuba. UNEAC, Ciudad de la Habana: 2000.

Boán, Marianela. "Lo cubano, zona peligrosa." Gaceta de Cuba. UNEAC, Ciudad de la Habana: 1999.

Boán, Marianela. "DanzAbierta o el dedo en la llaga." Gaceta de Cuba. UNEAC, Ciudad de la Habana: 1999.

“Chorus Perpetuus.” The World of THEATRE 2003 Edition: An account of the world's theatre seasons 1999-2000, 2000-2001, and 2001-2002. Ian Herbert and Nicole Leclercq, eds. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Guerra, Ramiro. Eros baila: danza y sexualidad. Ciudad de la Habana: Letras Cubanas, 2000.

Howe, Linda S. Transgression and conformity: Cuban writers and artists after the Revolution. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.

Martínez Taberas, Vivian. "Cuerpos caribeños entre el teatro y el performance." The Drama Review, Summer 2004, T 182, pp. 24-32.

Martínez Tabares, Vivian. "Chorus perpetuus: bailar la plenitud del hombre." Conjunto, Nº 124, En-Ab 2002, pp. 58-61.
Reproduced in Teatro-CELCIT (Digital publication from Argentina) Nº 21, under the title: "Chorus perpetuus: el estallido de la elección."

 

Martínez Tabares, Vivian. "Marianela Boán: mover la palabra, ritualizar el gesto." Revolución y Cultura Nº1, En-Feb. 2001, pp. 45-48.

Santiesteban, Fidel Pajares. La danza contemporánea cubana y su estética. Ciudad de La Habana : Ediciones Unión, 2005.

Valiño, Omar. "Danzar la polis." La Jiribilla. Nº 14, Agosto 2001.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010 09:16

Acceso controlado (1995)

Acceso controlado is a multimedia spectacle revolving around the theme of controlled access and the metaphor (and growing reality) of gated communities in Puerto Rico. Five sections comprise this piece, with five characters masterfully performed by Hernández. La Reina delivers a fascist, classist, racist speech, claiming that democratization and mestizaje are crimes against the historic order. The security guard Teniente Cortés talks about the paranoia and false security nets people resort to - controlling access through the now ubiquitous gated communities being one of them - in order to protect themselves form the alarming growth of criminality in Puerto Rico. We later find El Chamaco in Primera Plana, a scene exploring the body language and expressions of the criminal(ized) youth, bringing to the forefront the interplay between will and subjection, the criminal life on the street and the institutional forces trying to control it. A short film follows, titled Milagros Vélez, based on Request Concert by Franz Xaver Kroetz and Act without Words by Samuel Beckett. The last piece, La Primera Dama en Solo Operático en Tiempos Desafortunados completes the performance, with a hysterical First Lady symbolizing the banality of complaint in a society where a financial elite controls cultural expression and politicians hide corruption behind hypocritical civic concern.

Published in Javier Cardona: Works
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