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Attention: tonight’s performance contains clothing

Photo of Aragosta by Camilla Cerea:

Aragosta, choreographed by Moreno Solinas and presented by ASMED/BAlletto di Sardegna is a surrealist piece of dance. It is not a piece about surrealism or about Elsa Schiaparelli and her surrealist affiliations (the company’s stated source of inspiration and artistic exploration). No, it is the equivalent in motion of a Breton poem. And that’s what makes it unique and unlike anything you’ve seen – because form, content, sound, movement, costume, all the elements that one associates with dance and performance as parts of an artistic whole, here they’re broken down, taken apart and put together again in all kinds of unexpected ways.

Aragosta suceeds in two ways: on the level of form, it completely reimagines movement, the notion, need and impulse of movement itself, away from any attempt to beautification. It is movement in its pure form, constructed as we watch, devised and redevised, explored and discovered by dancers and audience simultaneously. In that sense – is it dance? It is and it is not – it is pure dance as a body who does not know dance would start discovering and creating dance.

In the same manner, Aragosta, inverses its source of inspiration – fashion design- to explore with the significance and function of the body in its purest form: the 3 female dancers are bare naked throughout the performance. It is the most in-your-face, unashamed, provocative, beautiful, awkward, natural nakedness. The body lives on stage, it is experienced and explored – the dancers drum the piece’s rhythm against their bodies until their skins turn red, bodies give birth to words, to other bodies, to ideas, shapes and things in a way that is playful, moving, annoying, lyrical or grotesque.

When at the very end of the piece the dancers finally wear clothes, there’s a melancholy attached to it: the vast, unexpected, uncontrollable beauty of the natural body suddenly becomes contained, colored, specified, structured into the familiar shapes and connotations of clothing. It’s an ending, the end of a series of potentialities that one can never return to. Clothing appears for what it is, a structure and a social artifact. The moving body disappears into a beautified, social body. Attention, this performance contains clothing.

(You can catch the final performance of Aragosta on Thu 7/24 at the Wild Project, 195 East 3rd str.

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Caden Manson is a director, media artist, and teacher. He is co-founder of the media ensemble and network, blog, and publisher, He has co-created, directed, video- and set designed 18 Big Art Group productions. Manson has shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; Taught in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Montreal, NYC, and Bern; the ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Caden is a 2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, is a 2002 Pew Fellow and a 2011 MacDowell Fellow. Writing has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, and Theater der Zeit. Caden is currently an associate professor and graduate directing option coordinator of The John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

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