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Dance  – 

Negotiating Surrender: Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre

In my process as a choreo­grapher, usually the image comes first: a spinning white plate, an underwater queen, a weeping bounce house, spaghetti hair. When constructing and deconstructing that image in the studio, I practice a sort of radical presence encompassing my body, my spirit, and the image. I aim at breaking open the symbolism in a way that might reveal something about the human condition. That research recycles back into my body and distills into a kernel of physical information that I use as a psychic barometer to navigate a more lengthy research period. The more time I have in this state, the more I am able to articulate tasks that I feel will guide the dancers toward surrender.

The photographs and notes shown here document this process through three works: Tropical Depression, a work in progress set to premiere in May 2019 at Miami Dade Live Arts; Carne Viva, first shown at the American Dance Festival (ADF) in 2016; and Make Believe, first shown at ADF in 2018.

Although the aspects of my work people often remember most are the images, the presence and sensitivity of the bodies onstage remain the most potent sources of information about what is happening. As a dancer I am inherently surrealist, in a constant state of releasing the creative potential of my unconscious mind  /  body. I am interested in the limit­less expressive potential of every part of my body, and the clarity that comes from subtle prompting. Your knees are weeping. Your feet are laughing. Apologize for your hair.

Photo of a white man wearing colorful ruffly sleeves and a flowery headdress, sitting on the pavement and smoking in front of a blue door
Simon Thomas-Train. From Tropical Depression, 2018.

 

Photo of three dancers wearing colorful and ruffly flamenco costumes, walking away from the camera down a Miami street
Dancers Rayne James Raney, Simon Thomas-Train, and Britney Kerr Tokumoto, (left to right).

 

Photo of three dancers in ruffly flamenco costumes (orange, yellow, and blue) walking in the sand on a path to the beach
You are bags of sugar that empty with each touch.
Dancers Britney Kerr Tokumoto, Rayne James Raney, and Simon Thomas-Train (left to right).

 

Photo of a journal page full of handwritten choreography notes
A page from the journal of Rosie Herrera with notes from the making of Make Believe, 2018.

 

Three dancers in ruffly flamenco costumes, two male and one female, sit on a bench in front of palm trees, looking overheated
You are performing in a tiny burlesque show where the big reveal is your [insert body part here¬—knee, teeth, Adam’s apple].
From Tropical Depression. Music: Rolando Laserie, “Hola Soledad”

 

Photo of a male dancer in bright flamenco costume sitting on a weedy beach. A woman sits next to him, holding her forehead.
You remove your voice to place it on an altar that is shifting in space.  
Rayne James Raney

 

Photo of a journal page full of handwritten choreography notes
Pages from the journal of Rosie Herrera with notes from the making of Make Believe, taken while observing class with David Brick of Headlong Theater, 2018.

 

Photo of a journal page full of handwritten choreography notes
Pages from the journal of Rosie Herrera with notes from the making of Make Believe, taken while observing class with David Brick of Headlong Theater, 2018.

 

Photo of a female and male dancer in the rain. She holds a horizontally crouched position by encircling his head with her arms.
You are two glasses of water that are slowly pouring into each other.
Ivonne Batanero and Simon Thomas-Train. From Carne Viva, 2018.

 

Photo of a male and female dancer in the rain. She balances upside down with the help of his upright, L-shaped arms.
Ivonne Batanero and Simon Thomas-Train. From Carne Viva, 2018.

 

Closeup photo of a woman's bare feet on a man's bare shoulders. He concentrates as he holds her ankles.
Your limbs are blades that you are using to dissect each other and remove each other’s organs.
Edmundo Abel Berenguer and Ivonne Batanero. From Carne Viva. Music: Oliver Messiaen, “Louange à l’Immortalité de Jésus,” and Rocio Jurado, “Como Yo Te Amo.”

 

Closeup photo of a woman's bare back and upturned head. Two hands (with painted nails) reach in from the front and squeeze her flesh.
Katie Stirman and Elaine Wright

 

Closeup image of the skin of someone's back, with two hands squeezing the flesh deeply.
Edmundo Abel Berenguer and Elaine Wright. From Carne Viva.

 

Closeup image of a woman's hands holding, between her breasts, a scooped-out avocado with a Virgin Mary figurine inside.
Your heart is a bell and you are ringing it.
Rosie Herrera