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 Post subject: Mal Pelo
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 9:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
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Mal Pelo

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The Animal on Your Back

Press release

Mal Pelo made its Dance Umbrella debut in 1993 with popular return visits in ‘95 and ‘96. The company was founded in 1989 and its creative and original works are made collaboratively by joint artistic directors María Muñoz and Pep Ramis.

Packed with doubt, love and humour, L'animal a l’esquena charts the journey of a couple in a long-term relationship marching through life. Joys, miseries and dreams are all treated with equal, but tender, irony. Don't miss this charming and fascinating duet, performed by two charismatic artists and packed with a wonderful 'performing' set, magic tricks and 'Heath Robinson' like contraptions.

Fri 25 Oct - Meet the Artist
Free to ticket holders after the performance.

"Mal Pelo think in such vivid pictures that the eye is constantly captivated"
The Times
"marvellously assured and thrillingly imaginative" The Scotsman
"outstanding" The Spectator

<small>[ 09-09-2002, 00:55: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Mal Pelo
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 10:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 63
by Donald Hutera

“For the spectator dance is an immediate physical experience, but its poetry is complex. For the dancer, dance is the urgent need to begin to dream meaning into one’s body.”

The above thoughts come from Maria Muñoz and Pep Ramis, joint artistic directors of the Spanish group Mal Pelo. Since founding the company in 1989, they’ve graduated from small-scale projects to larger, emotionally richer and visually more ambitious pieces. As varied as these are, each tends to possess a paradoxical fragility and strength that is altogether human.
Ramis, Muñoz and those with whom they work are not out to razzle-dazzle us with spectacular technique for its own sake. No matter how fabulously well they dance, they remain flesh
and blood beings who inhabit a world “where reality and fiction are often confused - a unique meeting point between thought and imagination.”

The title of the theatrical, text-peppered two-hander they bring to Umbrella 2002 translates as ‘the animal on your back.’ It’s compelling and full of wonder, with an approximately 80-minute running time that seems to fly by. The movement, whether a jerky solo or fluid duet, is at the service of a larger dramatic purpose centred on Ramis and Muñoz’s intense, physicalised characterisations. The pair suggest
a couple soldiering on through life on a set that, like them, undergoes multiple transformations. Chief among the production’s vivid, captivating stage pictures are a silhouette painting executed live and, incredibly, the introduction of a Heath Robinson-like flying bicycle. But, marvellous as these elements are, they don’t supplant the moving and humourous depiction of two complex individuals.

TICKETS: 020 7387 0031

This interview was posted by Stuart Sweeney on behalf of Donald Hutera and first appeared in Dance Umbrella News.

Donald Hutera writes regularly on dance and arts for The Times, Evening Standard, Time Out, Dance Europe, Dance Magazine (US) and Dance Now. He is co-author, with Allen Robertson, of The Dance Handbook.

Join Dance Umbrella's mailing list to receive future editions of Dance Umbrella News.
Call: 020 8741 5881

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 Post subject: Re: Mal Pelo
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2002 4:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 11
Location: London, England


Spanish-born Maria Muñoz and Pep Ramis have spent more than ten years working together, dancing and choreographing for Mal Pelo. And on stage it is their familiarity with each other which really powers the intensity of their dancing.
They come together with the force of an impact, as if they were able to consume and occupy every angle of one another’s bodies

L’animal a l’esquena (the animal on your back) uses an intriguing mixture of poetry, dance, music, a mobile set and a couple of very unexpected props to evoke the physical and emotional landscape of a couple’s journey.
The scenic effects, a large tree branch, a revolving screen imprinted with several worn-out faces, and an old fashioned tricycle \ flying machine, which actually ascends high above the stage floor, all lend the piece moments of comedy and surreal symbolism, but it is the complex contradictions of Muñoz and Ramis’ relationship that gives the piece its most interesting levels of meaning.

Their confidence in one another enables us to relax as we watch their displays of physical intimacy but at the same time we are tense and enthralled by their desperation and aggressive passion.

Their first meeting is unusual and one is not sure of their relationship. Remis interrupts Muñoz’s energetic solo by appearing at the back of the stage, microphone in one hand and a large leafy branch in the other. He moves swiftly around the stage. He speaks into the microphone, his Spanish accent softly amplified as he offers the branch with poetic appeals.
The first time they touch their actions are equally strange. Their movements are not soft and delicate but hard and impersonal. She rubbes her hand over his face and wipes her mouth on his shoulder. There is an almost ‘disturbed’ quality about it.

Throughout the piece Muñoz and Remis engage us by their constant battles between desiring and resisting, rejecting and loving. One minute Muñoz throws herself on top of Ramis’ back, hanging limp on his shoulders as he struggles to move through the space; the next he envelops Muñoz from behind, dominating her movements as she simultaneously flops and wrestles in his grasp. Their exchanges of body weight and the constant shift in dynamic are so seamless and fluid that they become almost one body. Their desperation is harsh but their underlying ease with one another makes it beautiful.

Another unsettling ambivalence was Muñoz’s severe masculine appearance when she first enters . It was hard to tell if she was a man or a woman, and it was only the sight of her bra-strap that gave her gender away. Taking on a manly role her movements were strong and explosive, yet at the same time she played the docile role. It’s not until the very end of the piece that we eventually hear Muñoz’s voice and see Ramis become equally submissive.

If there is one false step in L’animal a l’equena it is the loud techno music which often invades the space between sections. Perhaps the intention was to destroy the emotional build up of the previous scene, but if so it was crassly done. A minor irritation though, soon forgotten, as Muñoz and Ramis resume their tempestuous duet.

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