For the Prague Quadrennial 2007, Portuguese choreographer M. Pereira, sound designer S. Cruiz and Czech dancers prepare a production that focuses on the symbology of words, the body and costume/clothing.
You stand or sit in Namesti Republiky and know something is building towards a climax. During the first few minutes you can hear audience members whispering to each other “is that person part of the show?” as performers come in regular clothes and perform regular actions. It is only when certain words or gestures are repeated that you are able to piece together a reoccurring pattern. The performers are then boxed into their performance space by electrical cables and the whole first routine of a girl bouncing a ball, another on the phone, two girls with shopping bags fighting, and two tourists with a map begins again. This motif is repeated numerous times with various swapping of roles and costumes and doubling up of characters. A lady in blue, who plays the maracas expertly, summons each new repetition within the dance and draws the audiences attention away from the other performers pre-occupied with dressing and undressing.
Costumes were my main inspiration; this piece is all about the costumes.
The performance is around 45 minutes long and after around half an hour and 4 or 5 repetitions the dancers strip down to nude underwear and repeat the motif one last time, with accentuated dance movements and exaggerated everyday gestures. The finale comes as the dancers put on bright red dresses and move as one in a line, first onto the floor, a unified roll and then up again. The way the performers’ everyday costumes are stripped away to unify them first in nude-underwear and then red dresses understates the theme of the whole piece and the organized chaos that collates to perfectly- in- time choreography gets a wholly positive response from the audience.
Interview with Miguel Pereira, a Portuguese choreographer.
What do you do in Portugal?
I am a choreographer and a performer and at the moment I am working on many projects across the world. When I have finished here in Prague I fly to London to work on a piece with Transitions Dance Company. After that I have a few jobs in Barcelona and also I am working on a piece about Africa so I am very busy!
What were your inspirations for this performance?
Costumes were my main inspiration; this piece is all about the costumes. I recently developed another piece of performance with costumes – so I just continued to work with the idea. For me the idea of costumes has a double meaning and so I like playing with this. I believe that costumes are not just the clothes that the actors wear; I also think that they are a representation of the characters habits and an insight into the characters personalities.
Why did you choose to perform this piece in the street?
I didn’t want the audience to instantly be able to distinguish the performers from the general public. The costumes I used just started as everyday clothes then as the performance progressed I wanted it to become evident that they were costumes and representations of the characters, not just clothes.