Floor work Fer­nando Melo at Aspen Santa Fe Bal­let


Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

Dur­ing the per­for­mance of Fer­nando Melo’s new work, Dream Play, by Aspen Santa Fe Bal­let, au­di­ence mem­bers won’t nec­es­sar­ily be look­ing at the dancers — not in the typ­i­cal sense. Melo’s piece presents an in­ven­tive way of see­ing dance. The per­form­ers will be on the floor, and their move­ments filmed and pro­jected onto a screen in real time. The piece is in­cluded in an evening of mixed reper­toire from the com­pany on Satur­day, July 15, at the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter. “We are play­ing with per­spec­tive,” Melo said, speak­ing in be­tween re­hearsals in Aspen. “We are play­ing with giv­ing the au­di­ence a dif­fer­ent per­for­mance, a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence of a the­atri­cal show . ... The au­di­ence plays a very im­por­tant role in in­ter­pret­ing the piece. It’s a con­cept that tricks the eye of the au­di­ence and in­vites them to ex­pe­ri­ence this shift of per­cep­tion.” The re­hearsal process re­quired its own shifts in per­cep­tion — and, for the ASFB dancers, a shift in phys­i­cal po­si­tion. Dur­ing the piece’s six weeks of de­vel­op­ment, the dancers were ly­ing and mov­ing on the floor, an un­usual space for pro­fes­sion­als used to mak­ing the floor a spring­board for ver­ti­cal move­ment. “We be­gan by ex­plor­ing what is pos­si­ble on the floor, and what move­ments we could do. How can you rein­vent things like walk­ing, sit­ting, stand­ing? We spent a pe­riod of ex­plo­ration where we dis­cov­ered what is and what is not pos­si­ble in the stu­dio.”

Melo cred­its the com­pany’s dancers for their ded­i­cated en­gage­ment with the process of fig­ur­ing out what is and isn’t pos­si­ble. The re­hearsals, while ex­cep­tional in their spatial de­mands and un­fold­ing move­ments, are typ­i­cal for Melo in that they are an ex­ploratory, col­lab­o­ra­tive process, with each per­son con­tribut­ing their in­sights. “As a re­sult, you have the most un­fore­seen re­sults — the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing ones. Things you couldn’t have imag­ined start to emerge.” Mu­sic for the piece is by Erik Satie and Frédéric Chopin. Melo views mu­sic as vi­tal to cre­at­ing a dance’s at­mos­phere. “It’s there to sup­port the scene that we’re cre­at­ing” — but not, as is of­ten the case with chore­og­ra­phy, as the de­ter­miner of when steps must oc­cur and what the dance must there­fore be­come.

This is Melo’s sec­ond com­mis­sion for ASFB, fol­low­ing his 2016 piece Re:play, which the Los An­ge­les Times praised for “cap­tur­ing snap­shots of move­ment in frag­men­tary flashes of light, like the frames of a film.” Melo vis­its Santa Fe from his home base of Gothen­burg, Swe­den, where he is re­hearsal di­rec­tor for the Göte­borgsOper­ans Dan­skom­pani. After leav­ing Rio de Janeiro at age six­teen, the Brazil­ian chore­og­ra­pher trained with

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