With ConCuerpos we continued our artistic research on how to apply the concept of Universal Accessibility to dance during the second semester of 2023 with a new creation project. We won a grant from the Monistry of Culture in Colombia to continue the development of a stage language that allows the autonomous participation of people with visual and hearing disabilities as an audience. This research resulted in the creation of an inclusive dance work, being performed by artists with and without disabilities, and at the same time accessible. For ConCuerpos this is of great relevance, since our interest is to create artistic products where all people can access autonomously and with the same opportunities.
Specifically we had the urgency to investigate various ways of describing dance and include these findings within the sound design of the work, so that it is sufficient for blind people and interesting for sighted people. The basic question is how to generate a sound composition of a dance work that includes audio description elements in a creative way?
Thus, I proposed to the company and my co-creator, Diana Leon, to create a work like a music album, where the central axis is the sound universe and from there emerge various ways of relating movement, dance and other scenic elements. For this reason, we invited composer and pianist René Moreo and singer and vocal coach Isabella Martinez to collaborate with us. In this manner, we created 4 scenes, which we call songs, each one with a different proposal on how to audio describe in an artistic way.
All of the above refers to how, to methodological intentions. Now, as for what, the content of the work, we chose the theme of ABSENCE as a way to continue the broader investigation into the emotional identity of Colombians. This broader investigation began with the previous creation called IRA, which effectively focused on how anger is part of our identity due to the prolonged domestic violence in the country. Therefore, addressing the absence at this time feels like the logical step, taking into account that forced disappearance has been, and unfortunately continues to be, a harsh Colombian reality. In fact, the feeling of absence is present in each of the family members and friends of the more than 51,000 people who disappeared in Colombia between 1985 and 2023 according to data from the Single Registry of Victims (RUV).
Each creator-researcher approached absence from a different perspective. Diana León did it from how that feeling resonates in the subjectivities of each dancer. Therefore, her proposal is personal and intimate. On the other hand, I addressed the theme from a collective perspective, connecting with the stories of people missing due to the armed conflict in Colombia. We both developed the songs or scenes collaboratively with the musicians and the dancer-researchers of the company.
CANCIONERO PARA LA AUSENCIA - SONGS FOR ABSENCE
The piece was premiered on November 17th and 18th 2023 in Bogota, Colombia and you can find all the documentation here: