The Dance Enthusiast Asks Joshua Beamish About MOVETHECOMPANY's “Saudade” Premiering at BAM's Next Wave Festival
October 11-October 15, 2017
Choreographer: Joshua Beamish
Dancers: David Norsworthy, Sean Aaron Carmon, Kevin Quinaou, Dominic Santia, Timothy Stickney, and Lloyd Knight.
Venue: BAM Fisher (Fishman Space)
For more info Click on The Dance Enthusiast Listings
Sammi Lim for The Dance Enthusiast: Do you speak Portugese? How did you first come across this word ‘saudade’ and in what context? How did it move you?
Joshua Beamish, Founder of MOVETHECOMPANY: I do not speak Portuguese. We were there on tour in 2010 and one of my female dancers, not featured in this show, is Portuguese. I actually found the language very difficult to pick up when I was there.
I came across this word 'saudade' randomly in a post on Instagram. I thought it was very beautiful and I immediately started researching it. I realized that it directly correlated with this indescribable state that I had found myself in for about seven years. It refers to a deep state of melancholic longing. It's almost like a weight that you carry around with you, that relates more to a sense of an awareness that something is missing or gone. Once I heard the word, I started seeing it everywhere and I realized that it had to be the title of this work.
TDE: What did David Norsworthy, Sean Aaron Carmon, Kevin Quinaou, Dominic Santia, Timothy Stickney, and Lloyd Knight bring to the table while creating and rehearsing your choreography?
JB: Only Lloyd, Sean and Dominic were original cast members. The other three are the second or third artists to inhabit the roles that they are in, so they didn't have much input into how the roles were crafted. In their cases, they have varying degrees of relation to the way the original dancer danced the part, so the process has been largely about me letting go of things that I liked about the original interpretations in order to discover what could be new and interesting about a different approach.
Regarding the original cast members, I would say that Lloyd innately dances every different from me, so he allowed my movement to transform onto his body in a way that was surprising and beautiful. Sean is very dynamic and has an undeniable presence, so I used him more for that than anything else, since I had the least time with him of anyone in the creation cast. He's also very quick, so he was able to learn a lot of material very quickly. Dominic is very specific, which is exactly what I love most in a dancer. He has an airy, loft to his innate movement quality that offers my work a delicacy that I think the piece needed.
TDE: I got goosebumps just watching the 25 seconds of preview on BAM’s website! Hildur Guðnadóttir’s stringwork on the cello is transcendent. Why is string music a mainstay in your creations?
JB: I find strings to be the instrument that resonates with me most consistently. Even in new music, I later find that what I take a liking to is actually strings but with a specific treatment of sorts. I'm not sure why I connect to strings more than anything else, but I do love the inherent physicality that is demanded of the artist to create the sound.
TDE: If aliens visited earth and you could perform one piece of choreography to explain what it is that you do, what would it be?
JB: I think it would be this work actually. This creation is most reflective of my personal life experience but I also feel that it best demonstrates my ability to use movement and shapes to communicate sensations and emotional responses.
TDE: The Dance Enthusiast is a huge proponent of audience reviews. What is your take on viewer feedback?
JB: I'm always open to hearing thoughts from audiences. Ultimately the work is created so that people can receive it and part of that is being open to how audiences are relating to it.