In the footsteps of Cassandra and Punch Line
Wednesday 2nd December @ 19.00hrs
4thFl Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
In the Footsteps of Cassandra
Choreography: RonitZiv Dancers: GefenLiberman, StavStruz
Music: Concerto no.1 for Piano and Orchestra by Johannes Brahms.
In the footsteps of Cassandra – was performed in January 2013, as a part of an evening program that presented four short choreographies that I have created during 1999-2013, from my first choreography to Cassandra. In this work I have examined the ways in which choreography can be influenced by a dramatic text. Working on Aeschylus’ tragedies during my studies in the Laboratory of Approaches to Ancient texts – Greek Tragedy, I was enchanted by Cassandra and tried to find ways to dance “her”. At the same time, I tried to avoid over-interpreting her mental, emotional state, as well as avoid what I perceive as a misinterpretation of her insanity.
I was trying to identify where the text and the movement image overlap.
The foundation for the dialogue between Aeschylus’ Cassandra and my choreography is based on the image vocabulary that characterizes “Agamemnon” (and Aeschylus’ writing In general). I have collected several central images spoken by Cassandra and the chorus: “Hunting dog”(line 1093) The god`s gift stays with her although she is a slave” (line1084)…”keen on the scent”(1093) “she searches for a track of murder”(line1094) and several central images spoken by Cassandra alone: “my destroyer” (line 1082) “a floor sprinkled with blood” (line 1093) “Oh! What about my miserable evil fate I cry aloud pouring my own suffering as well (line 1136)”
My method of working was that I “threw” the images out into the studios’ working space and looked for physical “resemblance”. In most cases, several movements’ solutions were created for every image. Then I moved on to map the manifestation of the text and it`s physical images, by giving each time a different instruction. For instance: I asked thedancers to react in movement to the intonation of the word and to its rhythm. For each word that I chose I asked the dancers to focus in a specific body part, and to move only with this body part. When I said “hunting dog” the movement was focused in the nose, toes, front hip. When we worked with the word, ” The god`s gift stays with her although she is a slave ” we simply tried to imitate the immediate image of being captured, hands and legs tied together. The movement instruction was to try to move without separation of the hands and legs. When we were working on “a floor sprinkled with blood” we tried to imagine that process when you notice that the floor is full with blood until you realized that this is the reality. For “she searches for a track of murder” we let simply to noise to lead the movement. Following this new movement lexicon, the work focused on the need to define the movement and to try to speak it loud and clear.
The traces of Cassandra in space, draw a vertical course, in a direct and indirect line. The starting point is up stage center, continue down stage, than again direct to the upstage at the end of the work resemble her death.
The work is a duet for two woman.
Teaching the material/solo to another dancer this produced another question regarding the aspect of transferring a specific movement / physical process to a dancer who owns physical characteristics that are very different from mine. For example, I have noticed that when Geffen, my dancer, performs the piece, the emphasis is put on a more graphic/technical body language, one that details the hand-work and enhances a sharp and formative quality.
The challenge is remain on combining the dancer qualities with the needs of the choreography and the difficulties/questions/conflicts it raised, invites dancers to take part in the piece as a performer, in which two solos are performed simultaneously.Geffen performs the one true to Agamemnon’s text and images and Stav will perform the more elaborated one. Randomly, the two interact with the same movements, then disengage to separate processes until the next time in which the movement finds its common ground.
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