“What is behind a performance? What practices, rules and scores live under the surface of a choreography? The subjectivity of art reveals itself not only in the interpretation of a work, but also in the making of it: artists develop their own vision, framing their personal methodologies. This heading feels the excitement of the process of choreographing a piece, collecting insight of the reasoning behind the choreographer’s choices” – Giulia Quacqueri wrote by aming to introduce the reader to her column. Here is her first contribution focused on “Stand-Alones” by Chris Haring/Liquid Loft performed for Operaestate Danza 2022 at the Orto Botanico in Padua.
Experiencing the performance in the Orto Botanico of Padua was intriguing and stimulating: the company’s approach to integrate the piece in the environment and the way they relate to the audience are the main focus of my reflection today.
Stand-Alones is a fragmentation of sounds and movements, a perpetual sense of dislocation surrounds the performers, the audience and the space. The body of the dancers is the vehicle for 105 hints of life stories, each one characterized by a specific sound score. They constantly jump into different characters, now in perfect correspondence, now with disrupted, contorted or twisted references.
Starting from the relationship between the body and the sound, principles of contradictions and oppositions are present on several levels. Chris Haring approaches the Orto Botanico searching for antithesis. ‘How can you relate to a plant? It is such a perfect thing that I don’t want to interfere,’ confesses the choreographer, who would rather work against it to create space for interpretation.
He is interested in treating the audience as an intelligent audience, giving them hints of inspiration to let them find their way through associative thinking. This is an attempt to overcome traditional narrative structure, embodied metaphors and storytelling, that restrict the action of the audience and prevent them from responsibility.
During the performance I found myself wondering, physically as well as imaginatively, through an entangled world. The fragmented lives echoed inside me while moving between the halls of the Orto Botanico. ‘I would like to be more radical. I am interested in giving the audience time to be alone’ said Chris Haring during our interview.
Another strategy to move away from traditional narratives is to work with the rhythms of the movements instead of the form. The company’s main method to create is based on music parameters. The choreographer often prefers to listen to the movements, interpreting their weight, energy, tempo and dynamic. They use this method also to interact with visual material, architecture and environment by considering the wider rhythms such as breath or solar-time stream. This is an effective tool to look at the overall dramaturgy of the performance.
Rhythm and associative thinking are the key words of my experience with Liquid Loft. They support an open environment that challenges the audience, engaging and embracing. How you relate to the work is always valid and unique. This freedom is electrifying and makes the audience get up from the comfortable chair of the theater.
GIULIA QUACQUERI | Enrolled in a BA in Contemporary dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance of London, Giulia is a final year student collaborating with ABCDance as part of her work placement experience. She perceives art as a means of investigating the world. Choreography is particularly intriguing: chance and intention, the patterns in the nature and bodies, the diversity of languages.