26 Aug, 2015 | Celia Dyson

Art and Urban living

Creativity within the city’s small spaces

The show “Solos en La Paz” is a series of solo contemporary dance performances organised by Isabel Aillón. It takes place in a small, black, rectangular room in El Desnivel, a theatre not far from Plaza Avaroa. In addition to choreography and movement, the performers use sound, lighting and props – such as photographs, rice scattered on the floor or multimedia projections – to transform the limited performance space.

Sharon Mercado, who presented a contemporary piece influenced by Andean tradition, told me about the importance of space in her work. ‘Space for a dancer is essential,’ she explains. ‘We need large spaces that have a good floor, that have a mirror. These alternative spaces,’ she continues, ‘like El Desnivel, Kinesfera and Casa Duende are really tiny because the people who own them don’t have much money. It costs about 30 pesos to rent for an hour, sometimes not even an hour. Because of this I think the majority of independent dancers in Bolivia work on short performances like those today.’

Despite the limited space, poor floors and the high cost of renting a place to rehearse, the dancers of “Solos en La Paz” pull off a set of well-crafted, unique performances. If the city’s relatively small contemporary dance scene gained popularity, it would be interesting to see what these performers could do, given access to larger spaces and more resources.

Photo: William Wroblewski


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