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'Nobody Knows' and 'I Lost Something on the Hill'

Fernando Suels Mendoza and Luna Dance Company

by Rosella Simonari

December 11, 2011 -- Teatro Alfieri, Montemarciano (Ancona), Italy

A bare-chested male dancer slowly moves on a stage filled with see-through balloons. It is a poetic, almost melancholic image, especially when he bends his knees and simulates the act of flying with his arms. The dancer in question is Fernando Suels Mendoza, the piece is called “I Lost Something on a Hill” and is dedicated to the memory of Pina Bausch, who abruptly passed away in 2009. Suels Mendoza is a member of her company, Tanztheater Wuppertal, and has worked with her for about fifteen years. As he notes in the programme note to the piece, a year she died “I felt the need to go back to the studio and move on the basis of this loss in order to express what I felt. When I began moving and composing the piece, I realised that I was not doing it to show how I felt but rather to liberate my feelings in a way or another”. He associated these feelings to the idea of fluctuation which is represented by the balloons. This intense solo shows how fragile is the human soul when we lose somebody, and, at the same time, how powerful is our ability to endure and survive. Suels Mendoza’s movement quality is elegant and beautifully balanced, with bittersweet colourful phrases such as when he takes yellow flowers out of a black jacket he wears.

In the summer of 2011 Suels Mendoza returned to the Luna Dance Center, a dance school in Ancona, Italy, for a workshop on dance theatre. He had already been there in 2009 for a local dance festival and for another workshop. On this occasion he was so happy with the result of his work that he decided to choreograph a piece for the dancers he worked with. The result is the second work of the evening, “Nobody Knows”, a choral piece full of joy and ironic sketches. The predominant colour is white as is the colour worn by most of the dancers. Suels Mendoza has affirmed that working with this group of people has inspired images concerning youth, enjoyment, and possibility. One of the initial images presents a female dancer wearing a long laced dress. She stops in the proscenium and, while taking and leaving part of her skirt for a series of times, utters the following words: “leave it, get it back”. It is a funny statement on the cyclical development of time and maybe life. Another scene is characterised by three male dancers holding a female one in their arms. They then surround her, each doing a different task like holding a microphone for her to sing or keeping her blond straight hair up while she sings a happy birthday song. Other scenes include group phrases as well as duets, during which the well trained Luna Dance Center dancers entertain the audience. As the producer of this project and director of the Center, Cristiano Marcelli has noted, “Fernando has succeeded in obtaining the best possible result from all the dancers, valuing their uniqueness, building their roles around their personalities, their twitches, their dreams, their experiences”. Marcelli continues specifying that Suels Mendoza found fertile terrain in Ancona also thanks to the work of Simona Ficosecco, choreographer and teacher at the Center. She has been teaching dance theatre and contemporary dance for many years, nurturing her students with professionalism, passion and dedication. This project was promoted by AMAT, the Society for Theatrical Activities based in Marche, the region where the event took place.

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