Returning Choreographic Fellow | Oct. 6-16, 2013 & May 30 - June 11, 2014
Yanira Castro returned to MANCC for the first of two residencies to develop Court/Garden, a dance for her company, a canary torsi. Court/Garden investigates the experiential shifts in an audience’s engagement with a dance through proximity, frame, participation. It takes as inspiration the participatory spectacles of the French Court, the spectatorship of the proscenium stage, and the presentation of live video feeds as frames in which to experience dance. The dance plays with a strict formalism inside a structure in which the audience’s relationship to the event is in constant flux. Through choreographer Yanira Castro’s contemporary lens, a canary torsi looks at theatrical conventions—the overture, the intermission, the close-up shot—to consider their role in the experience of a contemporary audience.
Castro’s fall residency focused on developing the movement vocabulary for the piece. The choreography for Court/Garden utilizes the steps of a popular 17th Century court dance, the Canary, as a system through which to create these experiences. At the time, the Canary was considered to be “bold, bizarre and exotic.” The steps consist of a skip and a stomp with the alteration of the heel and sole in the stomp. Castro and the performers utilized this dance as a system to structure their choreography through repetition, complex patterning and looping—while maintaining the Canary’s strict symmetry. Through prolonged and oddly placed silences, lighting that reveals the actions of the audience, and a subtly changing code of audience rules (when to stand, sit, speak) that the audience is guided through, Court/Garden is a dissection of theatrical traditions and their role in shaping our experience.
Near the end of the residency, Castro shared material at an informal showing before a large audience drawn from community members and students and faculty from Dance, Music and Theater. During the showing Castro experimented with audience placement and juxtaposing previously filmed backstage material with the live performance. Castro will return this summer to focus more on audience spaces, experience and involvement.
The residency was made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.