HOW DOES A CHOREOGRAPHY TRIGGER OUR THINKING AND WHICH PROCESSES OF PERCEPTION CAN BE RE-EVALUATED WHEN WE WATCH DANCE? THESE QUESTIONS SIT AT THE HEART OF “DISJOINT”, AN ON-STAGE EXPERIMENT THAT PLAYS WITH ENTRENCHED MECHANISMS OF THE GAZE AND ENGAGEMENT, PROPOSING UNFAMILIAR PHYSICALITIES AND INCONGRUOUS NARRATIVES INSTEAD.
In this new work by Anastasia Valsamaki, three dancers explore an unfamiliar physicality: a means of expression not rooted in the consistency, harmony or naturalism of the body’s movements. “DisJoint” takes a physical approach to the notion of disjointedness, to non-functional movement, so that both the material produced by each dancer, and the ways in which these materials are combined, can stand in opposition to values that are entrenched in dance movement – namely harmony, flow, and classicizing forms – and even propose something different, something new. Devoid of all these entrenched values, this on-stage experiment also positions itself as a query to audiences, who have been “trained” – in a sense – to see and to understand specific expressive possibilities of the body in dance. In reality, Valsamaki seeks to pose the following question: which processes of perception are activated when we watch a choreography and to what extent can we consciously overturn these processes in order to propose a new mode of thought?
Whether grappling with the fragile balance that exists between the group and the individual or devoting herself to the small-scale solo form, Anastasia Valsamaki’s explorations are always guided by the idea of “clean” movement. For this young choreographer, dance constitutes – first and foremost – a way of thinking and of observing, over and above every narrative intention or need for a storyline.
Her choreography “Sync” premiered in 2016 and went on to be selected by the Aerowaves network as one of 20 works by young European artists presented at the 2017 Spring Forward Festival. With “Sync”, Valsamaki focused on the notion of togetherness, the fragility of co-existence, and the preservation of individuality with a group.
In her solo performance “Body Monologue (2018)”, the choreographer used a small-scale choreographic form to explore the narrative functions of movement, taking the expressive possibilities of the body and the structure of theatrical monologues as her basic tools.
Invaluable collaborators – such as acclaimed architect and designer Manos Vordonarakis, and George Paterakis, musician, composer, and founder of the String Theory Ensemble – worked with Valsamaki on “DisJoint”, contributing to her research and helping pinpoint which tools could help achieve an incongruous result, one marked by non-synchronization and dysfunction, incongruity and disconnection.