Dance as tool for social transformation

Meditations on my last creation.

“You shall create beauty not to excite the senses but to give sustenance to the soul.”

— Gabriela Mistral

Yesterday was the premiere of my latest dance piece, a solo created for the Brazilian Dancer Zilda Arali. The project is Winner of the Nelson Seixas Prize and pays tribute to the Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.

The project is very special for me, because was developed in my hometown in Sao José do Rio Preto. I went there this summer (winter in Brazil) and we had three weeks to find in the dancing body the poetry of Gabriela Mistral. My family did not expected me to be there, I arrived by surprise. My family was very happy though confused, and these overwhelming sensations outlined what my journey through the creation process would look like.

The research for the work started already in Austria where I leave, and was an incredible experience getting in touch with Mistral ´s work. So I was fully prepared with the images that I wanted to translate into dance movements and ideas to reach the audience in the way Gabrielas Mistral reached me with her words. However the situation was completely different from what was in my imagination.

Since two summers I could not visit my country and I was living immersed in reality here, working in a great theater, getting stressed by each premier, under pressure due to selfish desires of myself and others, when I returned to my roots the very different realities ended up crashing, and it was very difficult to find myself again for a while.

Crossing temporalities and realities were the key to understand deeply Gabriela Mistral ´s leaving as an stranger, as “other” became a creative force to make transformations through the work of art and Education.

When I received the pictures of our preview I was deeply touched. My twenty three years of dance career I thank to projects like this. I am thankful that nowadays I can comeback and share what I have learned.

I could deeply experience how the incorporation of environment and culture reflect in the results of my behavior in relation to the meaning of “stage” in addition, the importance of knowing your audience, with whom you are talking. Some choreographers are able to embrace universal issues and communicate with a more diverse audience. Dance is a universal language, however, when it comes to educational purpose, pedagogical skills become tools for staging the imagination in a way that increases the ability of the audience to appreciate the art of dance.

After this experience I believe even more in dance as a tool for social transformation, before creating a dance many aspects of life, environment, cultural, personal and political are re -evaluated within the inner landscapes of the choreographer ´s souls and the outside world. The dance is a meeting point for all those questions and wishes and will speak through a very settle channel, I formulate after Gabriela Mistral ´s quote in the opening of this blog: choreographers create beautiful dances not only to excite the senses, but to give sustenance for the soul.

I thank you all the wonderful team that made this beautiful project possible, the dancer Zilda Arali for her passion and commitment, Marcelo Zamora for the organization, mentoring and production, Jonatan Salgado Romero to screen the landscapes of our visions and musicians and composers César de Medeiros and Leandro Doliri that stitched up the piece together with their sound design and inspiring music.

PS: This was my first blog. I chose English with the intention of communicating with more dancers and choreographers around the world. I’m not an expert with words but I feel the need to start passing on my knowledge acquired throughout my dance career. Please feel free to comment and exchange insights and you are very welcome if you want to help me improve my English.