Last fall for the first time in many years I created a solo for myself. I carved out 5 weeks for myself to create something new that I would perform at the University of New Mexico’s annual alumni fundraiser for the Dance Department. Most of my creative outlet for the past 8 years has gone towards work created for our company the Latina Dance Theater Project. This was a special time for me to focus on my own work as a solo artist, which had been my focus for years prior to LDTP.
“La Guitarra/The Guitar” was the outcome of this time. I have to say this was a special “no pressure” choreographic process! I gave myself certain elements and parameters and the process began. Inspiration came from my Father who had died earlier in the year and I knew I wanted to use his favorite Lorca poem, La Guitarra. I also knew that I wanted to further explore the flamenco rhythm of Soleares, to make a solo that used no more than a 10 foot diameter and to use my Carmen Amaya flamenco costume that I had but had never used since purchasing in 1985 while living in NYC. The making of this little solo was one of the most satisfying and enjoyable experiences of creating that I’ve had in many years. Maybe because it was something special that was a gift for and from my Dad.
I would describe this short 9-minute piece as a “Picasso-esque” deconstruction of a flamenco Soleares…think of one of his cubist paintings of the guitar! The movement was inspired by the poem, which I used as text in both Spanish and English. I did not use shoes or footwork. The piece was pared down to the essence of the “ritmo hondo” of this melancholy lament of the lone guitar. Lorca is brilliant in evoking images of the guitar “weeping monotonously, as water weeps, as the wind weeps of frozen snowfields. It is impossible to silence it.” I found an incredibly piece of music – a solo guitar piece – of course a soleares – by Son de la Frontera. The fit was amazing in terms of music and silence, creating space to insert the poem, almost like the music was waiting for Lorca’s haunting poem.
I hope to perform “La Guitarra” more in the future both here in LA and beyond.