neema bagamuhunda

broken links

 

photo james mweu

Broken Links

 

Choreographer: Neema Bagamuhunda

Dancers: Adam Chienjo, Franc Bakoloko, Jack Atulo, Esther Wambui

 

Concept:

Broken Links was initially conceived and performed as a solo in 2005 at the choreographic encounters, Nairobi.

Broken links is the story of the link/relationship between the different aspects of our lives/bodies. The things we are brought up knowing and believing to be absolute truths and how this belief is slowly undone over time.

The original piece was in three parts occupying three distinct spaces.

 

The Body/Heart/sacred space: A square marked on the stage on the extreme upstage left. On the upstage right hand corner of the space was a pile of river stones (smooth rounded stones. The first movement was to mark out the square, get inside the square and perform a “ritual” (using traditional dance steps). The piece begins and ends here. The last part is movement developed from a text retracing the whole journey.

 

The spirit/ mainstay/mast: A diagonal line from the centre stage right corner of the square to downstage right. The exit and reentry into the square is along this line. The exit follows a development of the traditional movement s along this line; the reentry is with movements denoting lines, a development from the waves in the soul space.

 

The sea/ soul/turbulent space: The rest of the space outside the square. This area denotes emotional and physical turmoil. Movement in this area plays on the idea of oceans and seas…currents, waves, storms etc

 

The exploration

The idea for the Nairobi  lab was to rework the piece into a group piece preferably a trio; ending up with four dancers, we set out to explore what the piece could become.

As the choreographer, I shared with the dancers my inspiration for the choreography and the spaces. To me, retaining the original idea of the choreography and the space demarcations was important; to start off.

The dancers started off by contributing traditional dance movements for the beginning. These developed to exit the square along the diagonal line; the dancers then moved into more improvisational movements, individually, some moments in groups, these build into linear movements that leads back into the square where one of them reads out a text as the others move around him and manipulate him.

 

The process:

After sharing the choreographic idea with the dancers; we commenced exploring through improvisation in the different spaces. Out of the improvisation, some moments were retained and others discarded. Keeping the square as the point of entry and finishing, the choreography was structured through the moments that the dancers had experienced while exploring the theme. We opted to do away with the stones present in the solo because the number of dancers made the establishment of the “heart” of the piece easier and also brought out the ritualistic aspect without needing the stones.

 

Development

Having just begun to explore the piece, the structure has remained quite rigid and the same as in the solo; however, with time as the piece develops it will be possible to break it down and disintegrate it more as well as to play with incoming suggestions from the dancers and the lab participants.

The next step in this exploration will be to play and get deeper into the group movements and dynamics; the solos, duets and trios, There is especially the wave-like movement of the group that I am keen to develop into the signature of the piece that we have yet to explore more.

 

The text

1. The mile

I walked my mile today

And thought of life

I thought of things both true and untrue

I thought of things said and unsaid

Of things better left unsaid

I thought of things I’ve done and those I haven’t

Of things I should have done and those I shouldn’t have

I thought of the meaning of life

Why it has to be so hard

Why I can’t have everything I want

I thought that life may be meaningless

But it was certainly worth living

I thought of death too

And wondered about the afterlife

I asked me many questions

Some I couldn’t answer

I thought about philosophy, art and science

Which holds the most truth about humanity

I thought of the things I know

And those I would never know

I walked my mile today

It was the longest mile of my life

 

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