Artist Talk by Cristian Duarte

Ng Yi-Sheng

June 20, 2015

We got to learn a number of things about Senhor Duarte today: how he grew up in São Paulo, joined an experimental dance collective in the city in 1994, decided on choreography over practising his university degree in advertising, got a scholarship to study dance in Europe, and went back and forth between Brazil and Europe for years before finally choosing to use his hometown as a base for creation...

The Hot One Hundred Choreographers, staged in 2011, was more or less his "hey, I'm back" production, channelling all his choreographic influences - even childhood ones, like Bruce Lee's martial arts moves and Michael Jackson's moonwalking - into an ultimate list which he can draw on in a semi-freestyle production, quoting from each over the course of an hour. (Yes, the movements are slightly different in order every time.)

He's even created a website to go with the show: Brazilians in green, New Yorkers of the seventies in yellow, etc, though the order of the blocks changes slightly every time you refresh:

(The I Had the Time of My Life song is his way of saying thanks to the choreographers, and a quote from - where else? - the movie Dirty Dancing.)

He's decided he has to stick to these 100, mind you:

CD: This list can always change. Because the Internet is so easy, and I am always changing. But I have to think, this is in the context of 2011. So I don’t change the references, only the links when they disappear.

Surprisingly, it was this production he wanted to focus on, not the longer trajectory of his career. It was only in the Q&A that bits of his biography came up - the stuff above, and his awareness of how his tastes and impulses change choreographically, how he was unable to perform work from ten years ago because he's now a different person - he's got to reconnect with all his influences when he does The Hot One Hundred, because he can't approach them as the guy he was in 2011.

Some stuff about BIOMASHUP emerged too:

CD: Coming from a solo, I felt an immense desire to move, to keep continuous motion for an hour or so, just like this but with more people, for one hour or more.

Chatting with Tom Monteiro, they came up with the idea of this unending dance wherein Monteiro would be present throughout rehearsals, creating and composing as an inextricable part of the development. Turned out to be hell to rehearse, mind you, because you can't just carve out sections: the 25-minute mark can only take place at the 25-minute mark, because that's where they've managed to get through their emotional and physical work by then. So he had to give feedback live, speaking while they were dancing, intervening, signalling with small movements how he wanted Monteiro to shift the mood of the music, like a maestro, he said, by which I think he meant orchestra conductor.

Turns out he was amused by my ostrich comparison, by the way. Lucky thing!

  • 2015