5 short films from dance artists exploring territory, human connection, initiation, digital collaboration and body-image.
Lenzu’s No more beautiful dances wrestles with ideas of exploration, introspection and reframing a woman after becoming a mother; Scheu and Freed’s Plastic Belly explores human connection, Lim Paik Yin’s In[formal] Interchange surveys a landscape of amalgamations through a series of performance dialogues online, Quinn’s Border Lives seeks to share the voices of older members of border communities in Northern Ireland, and the autobiographical Becoming Oxum by Alysia Ramos.
The screenings will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Mary Wycherley
Annabella Lenzu: No more beautiful dances
This film wrestles with the ideas of exploration, introspection and reframing a woman after becoming a mother, and being an immigrant. Lenzu’s dance-theater piece uses spoken word and drawings to tell a personal vision of femininity, and what it means to be a woman today.
Director, Choreographer and Dancer: Anabella Lenzu
Cinematographer & Editor: Angelo Vasta
Acting Director & Voice Coach: Daniel Pettrow
Technology advisor: Todd Carroll
Best Dance Film “No more beautiful dances” at NYC Downtown Short Film Festival, NYC (2018)
Honorary Mention at the 7th Edition of the International Screendance Festival Movimiento en Movimiento, DF, Mexico (2018)
Courtney Scheu / Itamar Freed: Plastic Belly
Plastic Belly is a contemporary dance work on film by Sunshine Coast-based choreographer Courtney Scheu and visual artist Itamar Freed, created with the support of dramaturge Liesel Zink. Set to an original sound score by Harel Tsemah, and filmed on the beautiful secluded beach at Third Bay in Coolum, Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi country, Australia, this work is both visually captivating and deeply sensitive to the current times.
Two women emerge into the unknown; their fantasies and fears personified by the shape-shifting, ephemeral belly of a blue, plastic tarpaulin. At times the material is all consuming, covering bodies, at other times, it moves in harmony with the dancers as they support each other to navigate the new terrain.
Plastic Belly explores human connection, at a point in history when this topic is more relevant than ever. Recent experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic have traversed the emotional and mental impact of isolation, the fear of the unknown, and a deep desire for connection. Plastic Belly will explore the artists’ lived experience of this extraordinary time, navigating the boundaries of a new future and capturing the ever-present tension between the desire for intimacy and the primal need for self-protection. In amongst the overwhelm of the media during this time, the calming pace of this work provides an important reflective space for audiences to consider human connection, our relationship to nature and to unfamiliar situations.
Lim Paik Yin: IN[formal] INTERchange
IN[formal] INTERchange surveys a landscape of amalgamations filled with possibilities and playful disruptions through a series of performance dialogues online. These dialogues attempt to negotiate the physical and the digital frame by improvising, intervening and collaborating with South East Asian performance practitioners who grew up with an analogue childhood and a digital adulthood.
In seeking to understand what is performance in the context of South East Asia, this research engages Malaysian/South East Asian performance makers who use their body to create artworks in any form. The project engaged visual and performance artists who are not formally trained in academia (fine arts). This investigation stems from a dialogue with self-taught artist Djuawdi Ahwal of Taring Padi on his art practice in 2017.
This performance was broadcasted live on YouTube on the 11th of March 2018. Together 13 Southeast Asian performance makers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore & Thailand explore the question ‘How can performance making online be collaborative?’
By interviewing and collaborating through performances with the participants, this research brings into focus new approaches to digital anthropology regarding notions of field site, participatory research, and the anthropologist as author. Furthermore, the film explores immersive and interactive live streaming technologies as anthropological research tools and modes of representation.
IN[formal] INTERchange has been published in Journal: Volume 4 No. 1, 2018: New Cultures of Tracking, Live Streaming, Sharing, Liking and Commenting and presented at a panel of Research Day IV: Performance and Feminism, Theatre Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland.
Dylan Quinn: Border Lives
Border Lives short film is the culmination of The Here and Now project that took place in and around the border village of Pettigo during 2018/19. The film seeks to share the voices of older members of the community and to raise the profile of their experiences and considerations around the border.
Over a 12 – 18 month period Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre utilised dance and other creative arts activities to develop relationships and enable the sharing of experiences. The project explored and highlighted the experiences of people living in and around the border in Ireland and is part of a wider programme of work by Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre entitled “Anseo”.
Alysia Ramos: Becoming Oxum
An autobiographical dance film inspired by the experiences of Alysia Ramos, a white American woman who initiated into the Afro-Brazilian religion candomblé at the Ilé Axé Omorode in Rio de Janeiro in 2019. Due to candomblé’s long tradition of secrecy, it is forbidden to document or recreate this sacred rite. Thus, this film doesn’t depict actual events but instead traverses sense memory to chart the physical, psychic and spiritual distance she needed to cross to find her path in the religion and come to know her orixá (deity), Oxum.
Shot entirely in Ohio a year after her return home, the choreography serves as a container and embodied archive of the experience, a memory that can be expressed, though not revealed fully. While the public ceremonies of the orixás, filled with music, dance, and pageantry, have long been the focus of cultural production by artists and scholars from the US, this film focuses on the more intimate, physical, and contemplative side of the religion. This aspect, rooted in a fusion of traditional African rites of passage with a concept derived from Iberian mysticism (recolher) results in a “feitura,” (formation, initiation) that is the beginning of a new identity within the collective.
Anabella Lenzu, originally from Argentina, is a dancer, choreographer, writer and teacher with over 30 years of experience working in Argentina, Chile, Italy, and the USA.
Lenzu directs her own company, Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama (ALDD), which since 2006 has presented 390 performances, created 14 choreographic works and performed at 100 venues, presenting thought-provoking and historically conscious dance-theater in NYC.
As a choreographer, she has been commissioned all over the world for opera, TV programs, theatre productions, and by many dance companies. She has produced and directed several award-winning short dance films and screened her work in over 50 festivals both nationally and internationally, including London, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.
Lenzu has written for various dance and art magazines, and published her first book in 2013, entitled Unveiling Motion and Emotion. The book contains writings in Spanish and English on the importance of dance, community, choreography, and dance pedagogy.
Currently, Lenzu conducts classes at NYU Gallatin, School of Visual Arts, Wagner College and Peridance Center.
Courtney Scheu is an independent dance artist – performer, choreographer and educator. Scheu is completing Gaga Teacher Training with Ohad Naharin, Batsheva Dance Company (Tel Aviv) supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust. In 2019, Scheu collaborated with Itamar Freed as AIRIE – Artist in Residence in Everglades within the UNESCO World Heritage Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Scheu was recently an Artist in Residence in the Crows Nest, Sunshine Coast through RADF Sunshine Coast and Arts Queensland. She presented new a contemporary dance work created in collaboration with Freed in Supercell Dance Festival Brisbane 2020, Horizon Festival Homegrown 2020 and Tempo Dance Festival 2020. In London, Scheu presented work in the Emerge Festival 2017 by C-12 Dance Theatre and Resolution 2018 at The Place. Scheu is committed to contributing to conversations of dance, education and the cultural landscape of Australia.
Itamar Freed, born in 1987 in New York City, works and lives in London, UK. He has an MA in photography from the Royal College of Art, London 2018. He is the 2016 recipient of the Clore Bezalel Scholarship for an MA at the RCA valued over 70,000 GBP.
Freed received his BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design 2012. Freed was selected to exhibit in the prestigious BEERS London Summer Marathon and will present a solo exhibition in 2020. Freed also won the first place prize for the EPSON Award for Excellence in Photography 2012.
Freed showcased at Museum of London, Christie’s Auction House and Grosvenor House, London, Pulse Miami, Volta New York, Nordart 2018, Germany, and Haifa Museum for Art.
His work resides in private and public collections worldwide – the JP Morgan chase art collection, Estee Lauder, Lauren and Mitchell Presser Photography Collection and American Embassies collection.
Lim Paik Yin is a visual anthropologist and an interdisciplinary artist working with the camera, and site-specific performance. Her works use the human body as a visual motif to explore the various ideologies and political forces that shape attitudes toward human bodies. Her praxis in movement explores the origins of movement and impulses, seeking to find ways to create spaces for people to move in new ways, heal and embark on a journey of self-actualization.
Her praxis in performance informs her visual anthropology research in collaboration with artists based in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia to visualize their experience while participating in trance rituals/performances through film and drawings. Currently she is serving as network head of Research & Documentation for MyDance Alliance, Malaysia 2020-2022.
Dylan Quinn has been working as a Choreographer, Dance Artist, performer and facilitator for over 26 years. In 2009 he established Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre (DQDT) and has operated as Artistic Director for the last 11 years. Dylan has created numerous company performances and commissioned works for a range of dance and theatre companies and was Irish Times Theatre Award Nominee 2018. Dylan’s work has been presented nationally and internationally across Europe and the US.
Dylan has performed and undertaken a wide range of community and education projects across the UK, Ireland and Internationally. He has development a particular focus on creating work that explores the context around the border in Ireland, i’s impact and highlighting the experiences of these living in border communities. He has undertaken a range on innovation projects involving performances on the border in live and film formats.
Dylan has been instrumental in initiating the We Deserve Better social engagement movement in Northern Ireland, highlighting the inadequacies of the political system. As a development of the movement he has established the Conversations NI platform, engaging people from a range of backgrounds in conversations that are important to them and to their community.
Alysia Ramos is a dancer and choreographer now based in Ohio, where she serves on the dance faculty of Oberlin College. Previously, she worked as a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist in NYC for over a decade. She directed her own company the Mezclado (mixed) Movement Group which brought together an eclectic group of world dance artists from the contemporary, Latin, Afro-Caribbean, and hip hop dance communities in the creation of original works from 2003-2007. She also performed with a diverse roster of companies and choreographers including Gabri Christa/Danzaisa, Nathan Trice/Rituals, INSPIRIT a dance company, Niles Ford/Urban Dance Collective, Sing Sing Rhythms, Kotchegna Drum and Dance, and Samba Fogo.
Alysia’s embodied research centers on exploring issues of power and appropriation at the crossroads of dance and society. In original works for stage, immersive environments, and film, Alysia’s choreography interweaves cultural traditions, seeing the human condition through personal narratives, mythology, and ontological questions. Her artistic vision is to compose accessible contemporary choreographies that forge connections among people while harnessing the power of the unfamiliar to transcend limitations and introduce new possibilities.