Sunday, April 14, 2013

World Influences

History and It's Effects

We know that Sasha began choreographing in 1983 once she made her way to New York City, but what may have triggered her inspiration for her dances? It was known that architecture and visual art were major contributors to the material aspects of her pieces, so when the review in the previous post mentioned that her style was a mix of 1930's German Expressionism mixed with elements of Pina Bausch it makes sense that history would be a factor in her inspiration. 

For example, why did German expressionism even happen?  Well, after World War II, visual artists were driven to create a relationship between modernity and primitivism.  According to a Huffington Post article on the topic, German expressionists, "sought to fight the academic rules of the previous century" and "to turn lonely streets into a site of color, transformation, and creation."  The expressionist art is dramatic, full of ferocity, and raw emotion.  Here is an example of this work:

Sasha's work is very similar to that of the German expressionist: it is simple, primitive, in her use of nudity and simple structural formations.  The modernism of elaborate props, costumes and huge spaces create a contrast that is dramatic, ferocious, and raw.  But why would she 1930's expressionism?

In 1992, when Sasha created "dialogues," the official end of cold war was announced, Europe broke it's trade, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to have an abortion, the North American Trade compact was announced as well as the lifting of trade sanctions between the US and China.  These are just a few of the thousands of events that occurred during 1992, but these were some of the most significant.  The breaking of trade barriers and the end of cold war ("term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and capitalist democracy.") shows the progression of a more unified world.  The freedom to create expressionist work was welcomed and it reflected on the barriers that were once there--this is ironically like the barriers that were finally eliminated after WWII in Germany and thus the German Expressionist movement.

Obviously Sasha has created numerous works since 1992, but the style of her work does remain the same.  I think that even though history continues on, the types of events that happen are similar.  9/11 for example: the hatred and anger felt started and fueled the War Against Terrorism.  The justification of power and the fear of terrorists is something that was and still is inspiration for art, and can be applied to Waltz's work.  The uncomfortable nature of the dancing is disturbing and yet you can't tear your eyes away and want to see more.  The power of the movement and the danger of the props and the unfamiliar sets are foreign, scary, and awesome; just like historical changes.

Works Cited:
"1992 World History."

'German Expressionism 1900-1930: Masterpieces from the Neue Galerie Collection' Looks Too Good To Be True."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sculpting Sasha

Why is Sasha Waltz the way she is? 

 Legacies? Influences? Let's discover the molding of Sasha Waltz:

  According to Apollinaire Scherr, "Sasha Waltz’s influences are like her city used to be: divided. On one side is 1930s German expressionism, which also shaped Pina Bausch. On the other is the 'just the facts, ma’am' structuralism of such Americans as Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer."  

As mentioned in my last blog entry: Sasha began her dance training in Amsterdam in 1983.  She later moved to New York City to further her training and begin her choreographic journey.  She was very influenced by architecture and visual arts. Large architectural environments and challenges seem to be the center of a lot of her pieces.  Her piece Dido and Aeneas (2005) has a giant fish tank as its center piece. See below:

Körper (2000)showcases her use of architectural interests with the space in which the piece is performed: a large concrete room- large enough for a giant black board wall to be placed right in the middle.   Körper is a trilogy about the human body: her props used on the human body are very large and structured pieces that seem to make the dance look tiny and almost puppet like in terms of their proportion to the props.  These props look like they could be placed in the abstract section of an art museum or even a sculpture garden.  Her movement is also very reflective of her architectural influence.  Very rigid and structured movements done in synchronized groups imitate columns and rows.  See below in the trailer for  Körper.

In Continu (2009), Waltz moves away from a large architectural center piece and creates a work, in a space no less large, and the movement no less structured.  According to reviewer, Judith Mackrell, of London's The Guardian, "the spectacle [of Continu] is stripped back to the bare essentials of movement, space and music. Yet at its best it is no less vivid with imagery and drama." Mackrell goes on to say that a ballet section of the piece is influenced by Trisha Brown's minimalist style.  See the trailer below:

In all of Sasha's 18 pieces, the visual spectacle of the location, props, costumes and number of dancers is present amongst all.  Visit The Sasha Waltz and Guests website to explore what she is doing currently!

Works Cited:

Mackrell, Judith. Sasha Waltz & Guests: Continu – review.

Scherr, Apollinaire. Sasha Waltz and Guests, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Who is Sasha?

So who is Sasha Waltz?

         Sasha Waltz was born in Germany in 1963 to an architect and a curator.  Her dancing began at the age of 5 with Waltraud Kornhass, who was a former student of Mary Wigman's.  Waltz furthered her training at the School for New Dance Developent in Amsterdam from 1983-1986.  Sasha eventually moved to New York City to continue training as well as dance for choreographers Pooh Kaye, Lisa Kraus, and Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks.  After spending a year dancing, Sasha began focusing on collaborating with visual artists, musicians, as well as other choreographers--and thus began her choreographic niche. 

      Waltz has "repeatedly conquered new spaces;" (Goethe Institut) her work is influenced by other art forms primarily architecture and visual art works.   These tactics were first seen in 1992 when she choreographed a grouping of "dialogues:" dances created with other dancers, musicians and visual artists.  A year after her "dialogues," Sasha began her company with Jochen Sandig called "Sasha Waltz and Guests."  In addition to the start of her company, Sandig also started the Sophiensæle, which is a theatre for the development of free dance and theatre.  With Sandig, Waltz created Travelogue-Trilogy, Allee der Kosmonauten (1996), Zweiland (1997) and Na Zemlje (1998), as well as the project Dialoge `99/I (Wikipedia).  Then in 2000, Sasha became the artistic director for the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz.  Here she choreographed Körper (2000), S (2000), noBody (2002), insideout (2003), Impromptus (2004) and Gezeiten (2005). 

    Overall, Sasha has created 18 pieces.  Her focus on connecting different styles and genres of dance helped Sasha redefine "the concept of choreographic opera."  Waltz's Dialogue series have become her trademark pieces, they showcase her desire to challenge the "formal and expressive forms of energy" (Goethe Institut). She uses large quantities of people in various places to create this challenge of energies.  

Below are photos and videos of some of her work.


Dido & Aeneas:

"Sasha Waltz."
"Sasha Waltz."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Step One: Liz Faraglia

Hi, Hola, Bonjour, and Good Morning!
I am Liz, and welcome to my blog about the incredible Sasha Waltz!
But first, a bit about who I am...

To start, I am a senior at UW-Milwaukee double majoring in Dance and Theatre and getting ready to graduate and join the world as a dancer and an actress in May! I am a 5'2" hopeless Romantic (much like that of Isadora Duncan), and thus enjoy cooking, knitting whilst watching the snow fall, photography, singing in the rain, the shower, and the car, spontaneous road trips, trying new restaurants and spending ample amount of time with my family and friends.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin.  Through my years in the adorable cities of Port Washington and Cedarburg I found entertainment and joy in taking dance lessons starting at the age of 4.  I was instantly hooked, and thus the birth of my dreams of being a performer.  My training has consisted of Ballet (8 with the Milwaukee Ballet School in addition to the other schools I attended), Modern, Jazz, Tap, and African.  I was enamored with the beauty and grace of Ballet and wanted to be an etherial goddess on pointe shoes the second I saw my first performance of Swan Lake. Thus, my dream and pursuit of being a professional ballerina was born at the age of 8.  I spent 2 summers at the Joffrey Ballet and the Rock Ballet and after assessing my experiences of both I felt constricted with ballet and shifted my focus to Musical Theatre, which I had fallen in love with during high school. The combination of all of my favorite things: dancing, acting, and singing made my gears turn.

A turn of events my Senior year temporarily put my performance dreams to a halt via an extremely serious car accident.  After being T-Boned going 50 mph, both of my humeri were shattered, my left femur was napped in half, my left knee broken, as well as a skull fracture, brain bleed, and radial nerve palsy.  Needless to say, dancing was replaced with PT and OT and a lot of work with a granny-walker.    5 months after my accident, and 2 months back to walking I auditioned and got into UWM's dance department with 2 broken arms and got in!  And here I am today--fully mobile, part metal, but dancing, acting, and pursuing my dreams! 

As a romantic I find that was inspires me and influences me the most are the things that I find beautiful and what makes me feel like I am in infinite bliss.  This would include nature, music, and physical comfort.  I move to reflect how I would assume I would feel like if I were to be dancing in the sun in the middle of a field amongst the mountains, for example.  I also like to dance what I feel emotionally.  I am influenced with my theatre work by using my relationship with my emotions to express myself through my movement.  I really value and appreciate that I am able to showcase all of my passions and quirks through movement and dance...that's why I find it so beautiful.  I hope to be able to continue integrate this beauty that I feel in more as I venture into the world as a hopeful and inspired dancer and actress.

So this is me--I am your petite dancer/actor romantic blogger friend! I hope you enjoy waltzing your way through my blog about the incredible Sasha Waltz.