PEDRO: When I come to create for a Ballet/Dance company, I like to get a sense first of what the the dancers are like and what they excelled on. Then, If the company is more Ballet oriented or more modern/ contemporary, that, should also influence what the meaning of the piece will be and how I want to come across as a choreographer.
Just like in songwriting, certain melodies are asking for a specific language, and so it happens the same with dance.
We are constantly bombarded with news of the state of the world, with things happening on our personal lives, and with subjects that we are interested in, that make us think and get inspired. However, that vast selection of subjects to choose from, can also make the task of deciding which one will end up utilizing a little slower, and getting a feeling of who you are working with, is essential to be able to strip down the possibilities and to choose what vocabulary will be mainly used for it.
As a dancer, I performed the classics as much as I’ve worked with the more modern and contemporary choreographers. That gives you the range to be able to display a larger dance vocabulary, while keeping your essence as a creator.
My thought is always: Meet them half way.
So, I Observe, try to understand and feel who they are, while having very clear ideas of which direction I want to go to. Then, we meet half way, where we find common ground and a balance is created.
In the case of Ounce of Found was a little different, knowing that it was a freelance collaboration with the former soloist of the Royal Opera House in London, Fernando Montaño.
I had been an admire for quite some time of his rich dancing and pure technique while being at the company , but we never had the change to meet in person, until he became a freelance artist in December 2020.
When we met, we hit it off right away, having a very long conversation on what he inspired me artistically, and where he saw his carrier evolving into.
Listening to his background and experiences, something clicked with mine.
Both, having danced with Ballet companies, had decided to become independent artists at a certain point on our careers, the fear of the unknown, the excitement of new adventures, the eagerness to keep on learning. All was there.
I guess, what attracted me the most, was how open minded he was to try new things. And so we started working on the 26th of January 2021.
For me, was very important that the choreography would enhance his brilliant technique, as well as making sure it had the necessary depth to showcase the subject matter and his sensitive acting.
So, the subject matter being the exploration of the inner self and realizing how past experiences help us build who we have decided to become today, I understood that this had to show on how we approached movement.
If we were doing a double saut de basque, I will make sure, that the way we would get into it, would be pulled and even slightly tilted, while respecting the Classical bases of how it’s supposed to be done.
While I had the meaning of what I was searching for, and even how I wanted to explore the movement and dynamics very clear in my head, I still had no idea how I wanted to name the piece. I wanted something meaningful, but not obvious, something that makes you think further, but not pedant.
So I kept on listening to the music. A Cello Suite from Bach, I thought had the same intricacies in the music, as what we were tying to say in the dancing.
It was based in Classical, yet the shape was not square, it gave us permission to undulate, while keeping the lines very present.
After a while, a definition came into my head. Through life and dance, we learn constantly, we advance and so, we move on.
Then, what we’ve taken with us, has an importance on who we are and how we handle future challenges, I kept thinking.
Suddenly it became clear:
Importance = Weight
Learn = To find out
Then I wanted to find a way to put it in a poetic but honest and earthy frame.
How could I give weight a less obvious sounding way? The measures of weight would be the solution. The ounce was the winner.
And so, what is found had to measured by the ounce, becoming:
Ounce of Found.
PEDRO: When I started working on this project, my intention was to turn the negative situation of the world being closed down and turn it into a positive.
So, initially I wanted to created a dance film that we would be able to share with the audience right away, and then, another choreography made for stage performances in the future.
While the choreography kept developing, it made sense to keep it as the same piece, with a few adaptations between the stage and the screen.
Around the same time I started working with Fernando on Ounce of Found, I got approached by an Australian composer named Dead Sea Radio, who wanted me to create a music video for a piece of music, and I started working with a project called Room to Room, runned by Ana Maria Lucaciu and Catarina Carvalho. Those piece have to yet be released.
Being involved on three projects meant for the screen, changes your spectrum completely. How you view space, angles and even the rhythm of the choreography, being able to zoom in all the details we can’t see from afar.
Even If I am excited to be back in the studio creating for the stage, I am certainly grateful to have learned so much during this process of creating for film.
PEDRO: That’s a great question! I honestly think I was and I still am in constant research of detailed and precise movement. Learning how to guide the audience’s eye, but never forgetting what moves me initially, which is human emotion. A critic once, called my piece as being « Very human », and that is something I carried with me all the way. I want to convey emotion, and being able to point into an emotional journey, and then take it back and let the audience interpret it how they feel like.
We don’t all go through the same experiences but emotions are universally felt, so when you give the freedom of interpretation, the intimate sense of what you wanted to say in the first place, it’s still there.
In terms of the construction of a piece, I think I added layers through the years.
Constructing deeper intricate choreography with larger groups of dancers.
Trying to reflect the balance between the sensitive and the mathematical side of the brain while creating.
PEDRO: I am really excited about artist that are devoted to their craft, being unafraid to step out of their comfort zone, but mostly I am excited about those who sport integrity and honesty when they dance or create. To never fake a movement, step or emotion.
When a movement or facial expression is organic and truthful, even when it’s done in the most tiny and insignificant way, it transcends space and time.
There are many dancers and creators who can fit this mold. A perfect example would be Crystal Pite, who has a huge range of creative styles, and even writes about her own work. Another person that I find extremely interesting is Damien Jalet, for his sense of esthetic and the way he plays with the stage, making the angle of the dancers a choreography in itself.
PEDRO: Right now, the most helpful thing for me would be exposure. Being able to feature my work for others to see and hopefully to take interest on it, so my future developments can be shared with them.