Wednesday 25 October 2023

Uillinn Dance Season: Alexandre Iseli from Tipperary Dance

Tempo Rubato, Tipperary Dance. Photo: Robert Stuckenberg

 What are your impressions of West Cork as a creative place for dance?

Unfortunately I haven’t had the time yet to travel to West Cork. What I really value is the

initiative to support dance, and to involve a seasoned professional to develop the curation of

the programme. I also value the fact that the architecture of the building was not initially

designed for dance. This means that the curation of the venue cannot be limited to old

fashion values, such as for example a vast stage or an impressive lighting rig. This opens

our eyes on the fact that production values are not the key element to making great art. It

steers the art form into new directions that are for me closer to its true nature. When we

present Tempo Rubato, we will have to give up on our lighting plan, but I have no second

thoughts about this, because it doesn’t define my work.

What was the Inspiration for your work? 

I am always hoping to create this team environment in which people flourish and start to

deploy their own language. So the starting point of the work was the idea to develop

something in which the dancers would have to contribute to and be very strict with the score,

while feeling very free. A combination of rule and individual freedom in which the group can

create something exciting while the individual could continue to shine and not feel restricted.

The title Tempo Rubato make reference to a note that is found on certain music scores: it

gives license to the interpreter to play with tempo, while respecting the score.

What point did the work go from concept and development to becoming a full work?

We had no time for development and concept. I just had 4-5 weeks to create the work, in the

middle of managing our Tipperary Dance programme and festival. That said, I have been a

performer and choreographer for over 25 years now, so I have been developing my own

concepts about the type of work I want to do. For me this has more weight than the specific

topic of the piece. The nature of interactions, the place of the dancers in the process, the

source of movement, where and how movement finds its relevance, how interaction between

dancers creates meaning, these are some of my topics, and they appear in every piece. It is

about the absolute value of the human body, its depth, its sensitivity. We live in a world that

confines the body to be economically efficient, or trained, or aesthetically pleasing.

Instrumentalising the body that way is very limiting. This is not who we really are and it tends

to generate exclusion.

How has your work evolved by bringing it to West Cork Arts Centre?

Like I said we have to adapt for space and lighting. I have no worry about this. It will densify

the piece that already exists. We have to trust dancers. I actually like to put a piece in a

different environment and let the dancers find the ways. They have instinct, their body has

the knowledge and skills to respond if they trust themselves. Instead of being too formal

about this, what we have to do is open our senses, open our eyes, and the body adjusts. It’s

a challenge, it is exciting. I am aware it is not necessarily possible with every piece, but for

Tempo Rubato it is.

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