Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Andromeda - From the Dancer's Viewpoint

You may have seen the recent photos online advertising Luminarium's upcoming Mythos:Pathos Project, specifically featuring the Andromeda Solo; a piece that incorporates intricate movement with complex (and wearable!) visual art and lighting design. It is a feast for the eyes, and a feat for those currently building it. But while Luminarium choreographer Merli V. Guerra, lighting designer Matthew Breton, and visual artist Julia Wagner continue to create the wearable light-based structure, it is the soloist who will ultimately become the most intimate with the final product.

Melenie Diarbekirian as Andromeda
(Guerra 2012) - Mythos:Pathos
Photo by Julia Wagner

Luminarium Senior Company Member Melenie Diarbekirian joined LDC a little over a year ago. She is an accomplished performer, currently also dancing with Urbanity, and has worked in a variety of theatre settings. But! As the character of Andromeda in Mythos:Pathos, Melenie now finds herself facing some very new and exhilarating challenges. Below are some of the thoughts that cross her mind, while working with one of the most unique costumes she has ever experienced:
It's really interesting having to dance with a crazy contraption above my head. At first I thought that my movement was going to be very limiting, but I'm able to do a lot more then I thought I would. Because the piece is built around a bra, I'm able to move my torso so much more which is great!

When I dance with the piece on, I have to be very spatially aware of the area above my head.  I think of it as having extra limbs that are growing out of me.  Just like my arms and legs, I have to be careful of my limbs.  But I also have to make sure that I don't break the lightbulbs, so especially when doing movement on the ground I have to be very careful.  I try to extend my energy into the piece above so that it's not weighing me down, but lifting me and extending myself to my fullest.  This also makes me feel as though the piece is part of my body as opposed to something that is on top of me.

I love experimenting with it. There are so many places to weave my arms in and out of the piece and even places to grasp onto it. I'd have to say that turning is one of the most difficult things to do. Because the piece is not symmetrical, the weight is off balance and can sometimes throw me off, but in recent rehearsals I've learned to work with it and acknowledge which side is heavier so I can adjust it on the other side.

There is certainly plenty of consideration going into all aspects of the Andromeda Solo, as well as the Mythos:Pathos Project as a whole. Stay tuned for more entries chronicling the making of Andromeda, and keep your eyes open for some exciting indoor skydiving posts!

TICKETS to MYTHOS:PATHOS are now online for our performance at the Armory in Somerville (Aug 3 & 4) and the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown (Aug 31, Sept 1 & 2).
CLICK HERE to buy tickets, or to learn more about these performances.

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