Posts Tagged ‘cross-cultural performance’

Anne & ANDARES in El Salvador! The beginnings: Days 1 & 2

February 16, 2015

From November 17-24, 2014, cultural geographer, dancer, and Salvadoran émigré, Luz Mena, and I returned to El Salvador for our second trip developing Forgiveness Project: El Salvador, now known as, ANDARES! Join us in our journey of art and discovery!

Anne and Luz with Mezoamerika

    Luz and Anne with Mezoamerika

Day One – Monday

After a night of no sleep for all of our preparations, Luz and I arrived in San Salvador in the afternoon. We were met by Bart, a family friend, who drove us first to Gabriela Mena’s home (Luz’s mom) where we picked up a supply of food for the week and then on to our Air B’nB on Calle Madre.

Our first evening ended very early for me—a delicious repast of guacamole and fresh corn tortillas, checking emails, studying our translation-transcriptions of all of our interviews from our June visit, and then off to bed for me. Luz enjoyed a visit with her sister, nieces, and newborn grand-neice before retiring as well.

Day Two – Tuesday

Our first morning was devoted to more preparations, reaching out to collaborators, videographer, translator, etc. I am studying hard to recall our first visit, to cull the most salient aspects of those first meetings and conversations, and to sharpen my own focus as we attempt to dig deeper. We still are far from knowing exactly what the scope of this project will be.

I am holding out hope that the one collaborator from whom we have not heard, will appear—Roberto Quezada. Meanwhile, there is still much to do with our other participants—Mauricio, Ennio, Patricia, Roberto, and Godofredo. This evening, we have the honor of visiting Mauricio and Ennio at Mauricio’s home, where we will get to see the collection of antique, indigenous flutes, hear music, break bread, and discuss where to go next. (more to come)

Mauricio picked us up in his truck to take us to his home in. First, he wanted to give us a heads up about their new band member, Rene Muñez. René is a world class pianist and composer who was also on the front lines of the guerilla movement in the revolution. He has seen it all and suffered greatly. Mauricio wanted to warn us that he would be a bit rough around the edges and that although he wanted to participate with us, he would want a lot more clarity than the others have been willing to ride with. We talked about the necessity for some open ended-ness, precisely because I, as the Artistic Director, was not on the front lines. Therefore, I would work to be as clear as possible about the parameters of the work, but that conceptually, I would be absolutely working with the material that theses collaborators come forward with. We stressed the importance of more continuous communications, which are difficult across the miles.

Meanwhile, I am keenly aware of how that very distance that had been worrisome over the last 4 months had completely dissolved as we met, embraced warmly, and fell instantly into conversation as though we had never parted this past June.

Ennio joined us on our way to Mauricio’s home. Soon after, Rene appeared. This handsome young man bore no resemblance to the image I had been prepared for. He was warm and kind and keenly intelligent. Clearly a serious artist, he wanted to express how the content of our work was a very concrete reality for him on a daily basis, and that he wanted to know that we would give clear parameters for the work they, as a band, would be generating. It was a rich conversation, to which he had much to contribute.

We watched the promotional video that they had put together for their band, Mezoamerica. Their specialty is the pre-hispanic flutes, made by indigenous Mayan-Lenca people of El Salvador. These flutes are so precious that they will need special governmental approval to take them out of the country.

I also showed them footage of my choreography from Unsing the Song, a piece I made as another international collaboration on genocide, in 2006. Then, we had the extreme honor and pleasure of hearing Mauricio and Ennio play us music from the flutes, as well as their drums, which they pulled from some corner of their modest apartment. Absolutely mesmerizing and heart opening sound.

We returned home moved, inspired, and deep into the next stages of formulating this project.



Yaroslavl, Russia Day Seven: The Forgiveness Lab Continues…

March 27, 2013

On day four of Forgiveness Lab, Frances and I continued some separate directing and construction work. We’re working well as a team. I had figured out to use the music of Marc Ream, (a long-term composer and collaborator with ABD,) which fit perfectly. Joel created the score from student text – a weirdly simple, spare, haunting piece that Charlotte agreed to sing live for us. Dustin agreed to improvise two little duet sections with Frances – they are brilliant together; and Monaca agreed to join Véronique for another duet section in addition to reading my previously constructed forgiveness text. The pieces are falling into place miraculously and the students are extremely pleased with their work. Yay!

Finally a break...Anne and Frances sitting with the Festival and Link Vostok Director, Lisa First, in a café in Yaroslavl

Finally a break…Anne and Frances sitting with the Festival and Link Vostok Director, Lisa First, in a café in Yaroslavl

In spite of being a bit bedraggled after all that work, we followed the dear interpreter, Anna, to the local street market and to a few stores to purchase gifts. She offered invaluable information about our surroundings, the buildings, the people, etc. Then she found us a lovely café where we finally had some good strong coffee, SUSHI (yay!), and enjoyed the ambience of the town. The café had seating inside and out, with netted hammocks for whomever wished to rest in out front. Later that evening, Sonsheree Giles, Joel Brown, and Sebastian Grubb from the Axis Dance Company, Liz Lerman, Oleg Soulimenco, and a Russian dance company all performed in what was a beautiful concert.

In the midst of much teaching and performing, we are getting to know a lovely and richly varied group of colleagues from around the world. With us on this journey from the US are the remarkable Axis Dance Company folk, the amazing Liz Lerman and three gorgeous artists who work with her (Samantha Speis of Urban Bush Women, Ted Johnson, and Kate Freer all of New York City,) and Tamara Pullman of Los Angeles. New to me from NYC are members of the Urban Dance Collective: Royce Zachary, Stephanie Booth, and Cara Robino.) The Festival Director, Lisa First, hails from Minneapolis, along with Evy Muench, Heidi, Monaca, and Dustin.) There are Charlotte, Alessandro and his son Nicholas from Italy, and Jasmin Hoffer and Oleg from Austria. Meeting Véronique from France was especially exciting as she already is talking about future collaborations between her and ABD to take place in France. It has also been a pleasure to work with Francine from Holland and the Hungarian Ferenc Feher and David. (ANNE)

Frances with dancers, choreographers, and other participants in the Festival on the Volga

Frances with dancers, choreographers, and other participants in the Festival on the Volga

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