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Dance Thu Mar 22 2012

Love and Obsession: Carmen for the 21st Century

Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Monica Cervantes, Eduardo Zuniga - Photo by Jonathan Mackoff.jpg

Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Monica Cervantes, Eduardo Zuniga - Photo by Jonathan Mackoff

The number of truly original stories is limited and everything else is an interpretation of those common narratives passed down from generation to generation. Artists continue to manipulate common tales using modern themes, topical issues, and their own varied interpretations to develop works that feel and look new.

In Luna Negra Dance Theater's world premiere of CARMEN.maquia, running only on Saturday, March 24 at the Harris Theater, choreographer and Artistic Director Gustavo Ramirez Sansano uses the classic and tragic romantic opera Carmen to create a highly stylized and greatly physical dance theater work.

Although he was familiar with the work, Sansano admitted in a private preview that his choreography was often interpretive-based. It was something he had known for a while and grown up with, but his better understanding of the work was more succinctly understood the more time he spent with the story and through the choreographic process for this evening-length work.

"I didn't truly understand and I made my own script from what I was seeing," he said.

Monica Cervantes, Nigel Campbell in rehearsal for Carmen - Photo by Jonathan Mackoff.jpg

Monica Cervantes, Nigel Campbell in rehearsal for Carmen - Photo by Jonathan Mackoff

Carmen's lineage as a story is rich and when creating his work, Sansano took time to connect the story to the dancers' movements. Dance often stands in place as interpretation of story, but Sansano aimed to tell the story as succinctly as possible.

"One of the things I wanted to try is to achieve the story," he said.

CARMEN.maquia was created within a short piece of time, only 5 or 6 weeks, but even in it's earliest previews, the work demonstrated an intense physicality that promised a fantastic show for audiences. With the original orchestral selections by French composer Georges Bizet, both group segments and the duets between Carmen and the troubled and moody Don José are athletic in scope and scale.

Movements are fast-paced and largely controlled. The performance provides a new experience for many of the dancers and working with the choreography allows the dancers to find their own characters and consistency and building on it. in order to present the story the way that Sansano sees, feels, and understands it.

"The best way I could do [choreography] is by letting myself go," Sansano said.

--
Luna Negra Dance Theater's CARMEN.maquia runs for one night only, Saturday, March 24 at the Harris Theater. The performance begins at 8pm and tickets are $25 to $65. Tickets are available by calling the Harris Theater box office at 312-334-7777 or online.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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