It is well known that Jellaludin Rumi's (Persia 1207/1273) literature
represents one of the most important texts of the Muslim tradition.
But only recently the occidental world is recognizing his poetry
to be as important and inspiring as the poetry of Dante or Shakespeare.
Celebrated as one of the greatest mystic poets of the Persian /
Muslim tradition, Rumi belongs to the selected gallery of the ones
who were simultaneously capable of penetrating the divine spheres
and the pantheon of creative poetry.
Drawing from his texts and philosophical concepts for two years,
observing its resonance in the movement improvisations, and associating
them with previous dancers' life experiences, I began to construct
with my company a work on the physical and emotional memories of
singular moments, that I called "emergencies", where the manifestation
of the power of life appears in a special and unequivocal way, to
the point of becoming "imprinted" on the body.
The general structure of the work was designed as "scenes/ verses"
of independent images, with a common atmosphere that gives them
a sort of unity in a more abstract plane. With that, I intended
to convey the idea of a mosaic and to scenically mirror the structure
of a Ghazal, the traditional form of the Persian lyric poetry of
the XIII century.
I have tried to be loyal to the spirit of Rumi's poems and, without
discarding the gigantic geographical, linguistic and cultural distances,
I have made an effort to absorb his world and to maintain his symbolic
system alive, actual, near and direct. I also strongly refused to
be trapped in an ethnocentric fixation that could hold back the
possibility of totally embracing a literary work just because it
comes from another culture and another time.
The creative process has been an innovation for our company. From
one side we kept going with our traditional studio rehearsals. From
another, our meeting place has expanded from the studio to the virtual
space of the computer world through the use of Quick-Cam, chats,
e-mails and other information technology resources.
Feeling that technology could work as a support for a poetic vision
of the body and interested in exploring this new space for thought,
collaboration and communication, I decided to profit from my New
York residency with Ballet Hispanico to expand my creative process.
I placed the idea for an international collaboration on the Internet,
exchanged innumerous emails with the dancers and Rio de Janeiro
creative team, observed rehearsals through Quick-Cam and video,
and sent movement sequences over the Internet. Both for me and for
my long-term dancers (the great majority have more than 10 years
working with the company) it has been a time to expand the geographical
boundaries of body and space.
This has proved to be a rewarding experience. On the virtual field,
the international collaboration ranges from the sharing of ideas
and discussions on aspects of the work to poems, shared personal
experiences on the issues raised by the subject, and even some dance
sequences that were kindly offered by distant Internet collaborators
as personal contributions.
At this moment, while still working on the performance with the
dancers, I'm seeking the best way to incorporate these contributions.
Since the opening of GHAZAL is delayed by the renovation of the
Sergio Porto Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, new partners are welcomed!
I think about GHAZAL as a celebration of life, poetry and dance,
as well as a celebration of the innumerous possibilities of artistic
interaction in the contemporary world. REGINA MIRANDA