ROUGH CUTS

A platform where (for the most part) improvisational dance/poetry/cante reflect what we, as dancers/artists, are feeling as we navigate through the landscape of Covid and these current chaotic times.  

Introduction to Rough Cuts from Elena LaComadre (4:13)

Click the speaker icon at the bottom left corner to unmute​.

REFLEXIONES: EL AÑO PERDIDO (3:55)
 

Translation: Reflections: A lost year

Music: Abuela Perrata from Orobroy

By: David Peña Dorantes

Personal Artistic Comment:

2020 is considered by many to be a lost year due to COVID -  a devastating tower moment that seems to be continuing on as we have entered 2021.  As with any major loss in one's life whether - death, health, financial disasters or this pandemic creature that has gripped its claws in our world, one walks through the path of the stages of grief dealing with grave situations, and depending upon the individual - some feel it more than others. 

Date improvised: May 3, 2021

Stages of grief include (and not necessarily in that order) are shock, denial, bargaining, anger and pain. One arrives at the realization of final acceptance, but can be left with depression, loneliness and isolation. And the logical part of our mind tends to reflect back upon the why's and how's could this devastation have occurred in the first place. 

 

Of all improvisational pieces that I have explored,  this improv of "Reflexiones: El año perdido", it is myself I cannot recognize. It portrays a woman who is asking those questions, praying for answers, feeling the anger, loneliness and isolation.

MARTINETE (3:57)

Music: De Querer A No Querer from the Album Flamenco

Artist: Miguel Poveda 

De querer a no querer
Hay un camino muy largo
Que "to" el mundo lo recorre
Sin saber cómo ni cuando
Y ahora que yo soy el yunque
A mí me toca aguantar
Cuando yo sea el martillito
Negras las vas a pasar
Si no es verdad
Esto que sale de mi boca
Si no es verdad
Que los pasitos que estoy dando
"p'adelante"
Se me vuelvan "p'atrás" 

Date improvised: April 30, 2021

NANA FLAMENCA (2:36)

Translation: Flamenco cradle song

Singer: Pablo Dominguez

Guitarist: James Cosman.

La luna por el cielo

Se va durmiendo

Y una cama en las nubes

Se está haciendo.

 

Tiene la luna

Luceritos de plata

Junto a su cuna.

Date improvised: April 23, 2021

Personal Artistic comment: This was part of a live  performance (hence the coughs)  set for seven dancers, presented at the Harbourfront Theatre Centre (formerly the du Maurier Theatre) in memory of César Alvarez - original singer and guitarist for Arte Flamenco.  The nana was the prelude to the piece entitled A mi lado (At My Side) - a title so fitting- not just for us dancers, but for Pablo and James who stepped in and carried on for Cesar. I will be forever in their debt.

 

Nanas are cradle songs. This nana depicts the moon against the midnight sky. As it nestles itself in a bed of clouds in order to slumber off, it casts precious silver beams of moonlight upon the child's cradle. 

CANCIÓN DEL AMOR DOLIDO,

EL AMOR BRUJO (1:59)

Translation: Song of Sorrowing Love

Music: Manuel de Falla

Singer: Roccio Jurado.

El Amor Brujo is the story of Candela--an Andalusian woman who is haunted by her dead husband's ghost. In life, he cheated and tormented her with another woman named Lucia but in death he returns only to haunt Candela. Canción del amor expresses how her blood blazes with jealousy. It seems even in death she cannot seem to escape his torment. 

Date improvised: April 3, 2021

Personal Artistic comment: Originally this piece was created for the Canadian National Exhibition's Say Si to Spain presentation in 1990, intended for only three dancers. It was later performed as part of the full work of El Amor Brujo in November 2002 and then again in 2007. Thirty years later, rediscovering the piece as a much older dancer with many sustained injuries and feeling more like a wounded warrior in dance, my heart still yearns for this music. But even more than that, it is the dancers who I miss the most. 

MARCAJE POR TARANTOS
(Excerpt only, 2:52)

Song: Por Ti, Me Acuesto Tarde (For you, I go to bed late)

 

Guitarist: Tomatito  

Singer: Pansequito

Tarantos are from southeast Spain (Almeria, Murcia and Cartagena) and it belongs to the jondo or deep song category of Flamenco. They are songs birthed from the heavy and lonely work in the mines. Their unique sound has a romantic and yet slow lamenting quality. 

Date improvised: March 12, 2021

Claveles rojos 
carne de mujer morena 
que huelen a claveles rojos 
la blanca huelen a azucena 
y por eso que a ti te cojo 
porque tu eres 
pa mi la mas buena 
claveles rojos 
carne de mujer morena

Red carnations
flesh of a caramel-coloured woman
that smell like red carnations
the white one smells like lily
and that's why I take you
because you are
for me the best
red carnations
flesh of a caramel-coloured woman

GREEK LULLABY (3:14)

 

Music: Thanasis Moraitis

Sung: Lydia Koniordou 

Title: Κάμε νάνα να κοιμηθείς. (kame nana na koimitheis)

 

Personal Artistic comment: Simply said, a beautiful melancholic lullaby to soothe our crying world which seems to need it just about now. 

 

Lullabies and lamentations! Strangely enough, they share a common thread. A crying baby is cooed by the mother to enter peaceful sleep while a lamentation or dirge symbolizes the final farewell as one crosses the threshold of life to everlasting rest. 

Date improvised: March 6, 2021

GELEM GELEM (7:55)

Known as the national anthem of the Roma/Gypsy people, it is a lamenting soulful song so beautifully expressed by singer Esperanza Fernandez and accompanied by the great Flamenco pianist Dorantes.

Personal artistic comment:  Work on this piece began in August of 2020 - during the aftermath of the killing of Mr. George Floyd, the protests around the world, the riots, destruction of historical statues and monuments while still enduring COVID. 

In the midst of all this, I was also involved in writing an article about my mother's difficult journey to Canada to be included as part of AN IMMIGRANT STORY - designed and told by Sholom Wargon. 

Date improvised: February 17, 2021

Gelem Gelem allowed me to lament through recalling these emotional events. Both affected me profoundly while having to close the doors to the school of Arte Flamenco dance school due to the lockdown. 

Gelem Gelem has for me become my improvisational dance ritual before I hang up my dance shoes. With each and every time I execute the piece, it always seems to take part of my soul away or perhaps -  just perhaps - Gelem Gelem heals it.

Date improvised: February 6, 2021

BETRAYED  (4:48) 

Musical excerpts in order: Skaros by Stavros Kapsalis, Medea (Tiempo del Dolor) by Manolo Sanlucar, Llanto by Franck Monbaylet 

Personal artistic comment: It is said 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' as no one possesses a greater wrath or vengeance than a woman when she has been wronged as in the case of  Medea. 

 

At times, this piece allows me to empathetically understand Medea's plight. Other times - more often than not, it is an expression of anger and frustration due to the global pandemic that has seemingly brought most of humanity to their knees. Like a thief, COVID has robbed much of our time, changing our lives to accept a 'new normal' that we did not ask for.

 

But with hopeful anticipation, the world will see victory.

Synopsis of Medea:  In Greek mythology, Medea was written by Euripides (431BC).  It is the ill-fated love story of Jason ,the Greek hero of Argos, and Medea, a powerful sorceress and princess of Colchis. In order to help Jason steal the Golden Fleece, Medea betrays her country, father and she murders her brother. 

 

Once on Greek soil and exiled to Corinth, Jason abandons her and their children in order to advance his political ambitions by agreeing to marry King Creon's daughter. Medea, overwhelmed with grief over the loss of Jason's love, vows revenge on Jason with an unspeakable act that would torture him forever. She slays her own children. She flees to Athens on a golden chariot sent by her grandfather, the god Helios.

Additional reading: - the Wikipedia article on Medea.

More videos to come.