Choreographing Elysia Crampton's Spring of wound
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
To study the Cecchetti vocabulary (important thing to notice here: I studied the vocabulary and not the method, if I wanted to study the method I would have had to do it differently, because my method of choice is Placement Method, not Cecchetti) has given me many surprises along this road.
First of all, I chose the composition of an Aymara two spirited musician, their name is Elysia Crampton. I was planning in the beginning to choreograph with some classical music, but there are so many musicians that are alive and also are doing great things. And if you follow me on social media I have strong political positions regarding decolonisation. So I couldn't help but wonder (yes I am making a reference to Carrie Bradshaw on purpose so you can laugh):
why shouldn't I choreograph ballet on the music of an indigenous composer?
It is not just because of this that I chose Elysia's music, it is mostly because this song which I choreographed, still feels for me as a source of empowerment. No other song has made me feel so strong. Maybe because I hear Afro Bolivian influence in this piece. It goes beyond reason, it reached a spiritual level to me that I cannot quite explain with words. As I was starting to think about the choreography, I wanted to put some Afro Bolivian steps into it, and this represented a challenge. Because the song made me want to move but I didn't know how to move to the song. It is so unique, that I could not imagine how to dance it. So I let the Cecchetti vocabulary set the aesthetics of it. The more I was choreographing with the Cecchetti vocabulary (a very "old fashioned" one) the more I felt like it fit perfectly to the speed of Elysia's "Spring of Wound". Of course I did not keep the Cecchetti style properly, because I quite honestly don't care about being a Cecchetti soldier. I just used the vocabulary to create. The choreography resulted into a physical bomb. I always end up exhausted at the end of the first two minutes and a half. This being a laboratory, it is the first experiment, so the vocabulary and the music is so rich, that it took time to choreograph only two minutes of it. Because not only I had to choreograph it, but I had to dance it properly, technicaly speaking. And I cannot deny, that without a stable solid ballet training I would not have been able to do it, which is why I insist on the importance of Eric Conrad's Placement Method. So stylisticaly speaking I am aware that I am not faithful to the Cecchetti aesthetics, and technicaly I know I can do better. Circumstances of freelancers are not quite comfortable as you can imagine. So I will no longer procrastinate this end, because in some way I was feeling sad and nostalgic to put an end to this research, but to see the small piece of choreography that I created makes me want to keep developing it. A big thank you to Elysia Crampton, for their work, their existance. Their music trascends this reality, it somehow describes how other dimensions look and feel (I am sure Elysia knows what I am talking about). Like I said in my other posts, I will not glorifiy ballet icons anymore, I am grateful for Enrico Cecchetti's contribution to the ballet world, but I am sure many ballet icons wanted just to be the best versions of themselves instead of having altars dedicated to them. For now, I am deeply focused on giving the importance to the alive artists of today that are making an impact wherever their field is, without forgetting the History of Ballet. Eric Conrad is one of them. When I think of Eric I think of all these Ballet icons that during their lives were hated by the ballet industry (like for example, Agripina Vaganova), but when they died they were glorified. Maybe that's just human nature, we all hate the people that say the truths we refuse to hear, and only years after we value their work. History repeating itself. But when it comes to BIPOC artists commited to decolonisation, the purpose of creation is exactly about NOT repeating history. And for me, Elysia is part of this important community of artists that actually want change. It feels realy lonely to be a ballerina with indigenous roots in an professional field where the size of my head is too big for me to work in a corps de ballet. Or my legs are too short. Elysia makes me feel like I belong somewhere. I belong in this "nowhere" just like most BIPOC migrant artists that made a home out of the diaspora: the Abya Yala. Thank you Elysia, this one is for you. And of course grateful for the DIS-TANZ SOLO funding for the support.
Gefördert durch die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Programm NEUSTART KULTUR, Hilfsprogramm DIS-TANZEN des Dachverbands Tanz Deutschlands.