Macarena Afterlife aims to explore performative tools of corporeal “transformation”, taking into consideration questions like: How can bodies be revisioned through transposition strategies? Or how strategies of transposition can challenge the triptych power-knowledge-body. Which are the conditions in which embodied knowledge, behavioral expectations, structured narrations can be intervened? My objective is to reflect on the corporeality within a broader context of politics of culture and to develop a dialogue with physical assumptions and inscriptions, as well as gaining an insight into western cultural stereotypes, patterns and tropes. My aim is to explore and analyze movement as a means, in which group-formation systems of corporeal behaviors are exercised and instructed within a broader bodily west cultural system. How our perception and imagination over possibilities of relations and perhaps juxtapositions within established structures can be challenged?
A body-based performative investigation over the notion of “transposition”/”transformation” and its choreographic applications.
The initial focus of the research was to search for choreographic strategies with which movement variations and mutations can be developped and explored. I started Macarena Afterlife by exploring movements that are meant to have a social aspect. I have been interested in dance as a group phenomenon, but also as a moving archive of trends and aesthetic preferences, of cultural and historical contexts.As a millennial myself, I have been attracted by the ways the majority of modern west millennial population consume culture, referring to popular culture, and its products. Moreover, coming from a dance background, I wanted to explore dance movements that have mass accessibility and appeal, considering dance as a composition of signs derived from its location in socio-cultural codes.
In what ways a dancing format, that is developed by the people who “use” it, can be physically explored, and restaged, producing a different result in a different semantic frame? What movement modalities are looked on as comfortable watching? How can a movement be transformed? How does the user and performer of a movement deal with different mutations? What are the tools for transformating a movement score? Using the commonly acceptable dancing form as a starting point, Macarena Afterlife aimed to explore the tools that can redesign a formula of a choreographic motion and can decipher the code of communication this motion is reproducing. The project’s approach stemed from attempts to consider dance as a practice that constitutes its own meaning and efficacy and my interest layed on searching for choreographic transformation processes that can open up the possibility of re-creating a physical practice.
Movement Transformation 1 / The practice
I encountered the dance of Macarena as a simple score that consists of a variety of hand and hip movements. I slowed down and I deconstruct the score into component parts, devoting myself to possible variations coming out from repetition. What generated my dancing was more the interest of using the score as a trivial dance material rather than a nostalgic impulse or melancholic urge. It could be called learning, imitating, or simply doing another’s steps. Hopefully, in Macarena, as in most social and group dances, there are no legal copyrights so I overcome questions about authorship, ownership and originality of movement.
Movement Transformation 2 / Transformative effects of language
What is the relation between movement and language? How can a dance score be described with words? What is the process of encoding and decoding movement to text and vice versa? Taking into account that in every notation system there is a procedure of selection, I selected language as a strategy to explore and collect Macarena’s movement variations. I invited friends to perform Macarena as a score made of language instructions. I experimented with observation through the interface of skype and video calls and found ways to invite them into my practice. I recorded and collected their movement variations, while this method generated an experimental medium for transforming and crafting the simple movement sequence.
What seemed to be at first glance a three-minutes talk with friends in order to execute a dance routine, it unfolded to be a fruitful re-meeting. A discussion with friends. An intimate encounter. A trial of finding a common time in order to execute the task. Writing messages and arranging. Planning the meeting. Formulating the intention for communication. Booking the date. And then the time of the call. The meeting. Once done, it never stopped only in the talk. There was an intention of communication which was framed in a format like: Greeting – executing the task – asking about it – exchanging life updates– arranging a meeting in the city- meeting in the city. When does choreography start / end?
Transformations / Translations
At first sight, thanks to the transformative effects of language and the differentiation of the means of engagement, a kind of dynamics came out. A variated physical material intertwined and mixed in a chain of unaware reciprocal exchange. A transformative system of movement appeared. A supposedly past dance routine was self- generated by a system of exchange of different givers to the same receiver. How does the feeling of intimacy between givers and receiver affect the process of movement transformation? What does it mean to collect movements from friends? Does the fact that the movement is considered “a friend’s gift” affect the quality and the performance of it?
What I consider “choreography” started to appear into the whole process of translations. From the original video, to body movement, to video tutorial, to language, to video call, to friend’s bodies,to my body again. In this case, choreography became the structure of fascilitating invitations of different transpositions, disconnected from any kind of representation. And in that way, it was considered in an ever-expanding sense: in the moment of translation, in-between all meetings.Choreography existed in the moment of orchestrating the time with others, in the moment of sharing common time and space, or in the time of intentionless commitment: of trivial information sharing. Of exaggerating the unimportant. Of making visible the one that is there and not seen. Of re-finding the things that are there. I consider this choreographic activation of Macarena dance as an endlessly creative transformational force.
Lepecki, Andre. 2016. “Singularities Dance In The Age Of Performance”. New York: Routledge
Benjamin, Walter. 1996. “The Task of the Translator”. In Walter Benjamin: selected writings. Volume 1:1913-1926 MA: Harvard University Press
Certeau, Michel de. 1988. “The practice of everyday life”. Berkeley: University of California Press
Brandstetter, Gabriele, Klein, Gabriele (eds). 2013. ‘Dance And Theory’. Verlag, Bielefeld: trascript