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Liminal Dances








Joana Castro 6
Joana Castro 5
Joana Castro 4
Joana Castro 3
Joana Castro 2
Joana Castro 1

Júlio Cerdeira

— Performer and creator —

In Darktraces: on ghosts and spectral dances, Joana Castro presents a scenic space reminiscent of Kazimir Malevitch's Suprematism - a wide, dark shadow space that surrounds a white square of linoleum. In the performing arts, Malevitch's abyssal white is reversed, because here everything arises from darkness: this is our empty space from which emerge forms, forces, bodies, objects and sounds. This white form assumes, in this piece, a dual character: it is a form of its own that settles in space, but also a creative plan from which a more structured and rigorous choreographic discourse emerges. 

However, the most curious manifestations of liminality and spectrality arise in the tension of these two spaces. In the diffuse limitography of the shadow space and in the precise visible area of the space of the light, a choreography of contrast and camouflage appears, which plays with the dimension of the visible and the invisible, to the extent that it uses them to question the notion of presence of the gesture. All this becomes more evident when body parts are revealed or hidden in the costume, or when the gestures are settled and then dismantled, disappearing into the perceptible space. The spectral is not only mysterious by its characteristics, but, due to their uncertainty, it is embodied in entities of uncertain materialities, which are clearly and diffusely shown, as a cloud that occupies space and gradually disappears. 

In a choreography that seems to live through multiple dialogues, we revisit the personal universe of the four performers, as well as the ghostly traditions of dance, passing through Vaslav Nijinsky's The Rite of Spring, or Mary Wigman's Hexentanz. I believe that Hexentanz is, of all the references evoked in this piece, the most communicative, because it reveals the importance of arms, feet, face and breathing, as fundamental elements for the determination of movement through space and for the definition of the identity of the choreographer of the piece. As in Wigman, sensitive absorption movements seem to emerge, absorbing the densities of the space: fast alternations that cause a morphed effect in body's perceptible image; abrupt stops that grope and hold back space forces; slow draggings; and face expressions that appear and then fade away. There seems to be an enchanting drawing of abstract forces, as well as an occupation of the body by hidden forces. 

In an apparent division comparing to the previous choreographic discourse, a night light invades the scene revealing bodies that are less rooted in dance traditions and more enclosed in themselves. After the passage of a figure that resemble a snail, stain-bodies appear, slowly dragging in a blind transition - between silhouette and non-space - the darkened space. The bodies are compacted in the two-dimensionality of the penumbra and expanded in the shadowy cutout, becoming part of both these two realities of a similar nature. They become shadow-bodies, questioning their material boundaries and blurring their borders. Blurring in space, in a movement of expansion and contraction; undressing, leaving traces behind; gathering in a gradual osmosis - all this for an opening to another dimension: the body become something else, a new dimension, a moving orifice throughout the space, from which new forms can sprout.

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