This Wednesday we will be performing Anne Frank. Anne Frank premiered in April 2015 and was created for our company by the Brazilian choreographer Reginaldo Oliveira.
I can not go into Anne Frank before talking a little bit more about Reginaldo. Reginaldo grew up in Rio de Janeiro, and after dancing with the Rio de Janeiro Theater for a few years, he found himself packed up and ready to move to Germany. Our paths first crossed ten years ago, when he joined the Staatstballet Karlsruhe as a dancer where he has been dancing ever since. Seven years ago he choreographed his first piece: Attempt as a part of the Young Choreographers evening, and hasn’t stopped ever since.
Our first time working together was in 2012 during the creation of Torn, and many times after that. Reginaldo can be very strict and demanding, but also always open to his dancer’s creativity, all qualities I like to work with. During creations, as a dancer, it is vital to be open to direction and ideas. We are tools that fulfill the vision of the choreographer, and in order to do that I try to put all my judgment aside and be one hundred percent present to whoever my choreographer is that day. I love creations! Dancing a repertoire is special because of its history, but creations are new and exciting, you are about to express something that has never seen before, and to be able to put your own little special touch to it is an incredible honor. So Reginaldo likes to create, and I love being created on we work quite well together.
When i found out Reginaldo would create Anne Frank came along I was more than happy; I read the book a few times as a teenager, and I have always been very interested in the second world war. Being the most widespread and deadliest war in History, the six years that followed Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 resulted in more than 50 million deaths; I personally feel a responsibility to keep this story alive, so that we can maybe prevent it from happening again in the future. I was ready to work my hardest to make sure this would be a good piece. I had time and energy to spare, and I willingly donated them to Reginaldo.
A creation always has productive days and shitty days. Sometimes, things flow, everyone is excited, you have a room full of thirty dancers working the hardest they can, and it feels almost effortless, and others days, hours of hard work result in half a minute of good material.
The amount of material choreographers extract from us is a lot bigger than the amount of choreography that ends up going on stage. It’s a selection process almost as tough as darwin’s famous theory. Only the very best part of the work gets to see the lights of the stage, the rest ends up in an external memory, it might be used for a different choreography on a different occasion, or it might end up as another piece of electronic junk. Almost everything we do on studio is recorded to be reviewed by the choreographer later, creating is almost like solving a massive puzzle, the material gets broken down, edited than put back together in a different order or even in a whole different moment. It can be tiring and frustrating at times specially when your body has already learned a certain sequence and you suddenly have to change it, but it’s challenging both physically and mentally and that is one of the reasons i love creations so much.
During the second act of Anne Frank we get to see the inside of a concentration camp. In most concentration camps, women and men were kept separated, so we follow Anne Frank into the female quarters. It is a very powerful and important scene, with fifteen girls on stage, we portray the endless suffering of this women, who were helpless and at the same time very strong. As some people were imprisoned for years, the horrors that took place became almost routine. Some of the survivors say they kept a constant internal struggle to maintain their humanity; we had to find a way to honor their suffering by exposing our bodies to extreme movements. So we all worked together to create a language of movement that would show aggressivity and repetition. By the end of the show there is not one knee that is not bruised, but its definitely worth it.
Have a look at the trailer:
I hope it comes back as big a success as it was last season!