A P N E A | Rodrigo Sobarzo
Rodrigo Sobargo (CL) studied choreography at the SNDO (School for New Dance Development) in Amsterdam, and was a recipient of the danceWEB scholarship 2009 at the Impulstanz in Vienna. Before moving to Europe he finished a BA in theatre acting at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago. He has participated as a performer in works by Ivana Muller, Jefta van Dinther and Martin Nachbar. During the year 2011 premiered United States at Het Veem theatre in Amsterdam and engaged as a performer in Insignificant Others by An Kaler.
Rodrigo has an ongoing working relationship with Dance4 from his previous work in Europe in Motion in 2011. He also performed his piece The Harvest in May 2012, in which during a 60-minute workday the performers parcel, plough and seed the stage terrain in front of your eyes - sowing a convergent, connected space, nurturing a sculpture in motion and letting it resonate growing the attention and concentration within the performance space - allowing the audience to gather in the harvest; the energy invested is the works production.
After reaching the end of his most recent residency, we asked him a few questions about his time in the studio and thought we'd share the aswers with you:
You said that the piece was musical, or rather like music in nature, can you say a little more about that?
"I'm truly inspired by how music behaves and reaches its audience. Basically, it just posses us in a very straight forward way. I've been reading/listening quite a bunch of interviews by John Maus, he's a north-american musician who also is reading a Phd in Philosophy right now. He truly believes in the massification of pop music in a weapon-like way. There's no obstacle between the music and its consumer, no boundaries, no frames are needed, no explanations. And I truly miss that in the realm of performance/dance. The way music disseminates and radiates its power is awe-inspiring for me. There's no magnitude to it, no limits in its own limited means.
With all that in the back of my head I have slowly realized how these ideas are infiltrating the work, even in a more literal way this time (for APNEA). Every section within the piece could be perceived or absorbed as musical statement, in terms of its rhythm and sound manifestation. That allows me to almost disappear as a performer, even though I'm fully devoted to each movement, and that's something that I've been dreaming of since I started working on performance.
Summarizing I'm trying to adopt the way music reaches us in an instant manner. So I'm fully literally diving into a performance exploration that searches to flood the space with sounds instead of water."
How would you say you approach the relationship between yourself and the audience in terms of the experience of the work?
"I give a full responsibility to the audience, as full as I give it to myself. I'm definitely seeking to empower the audience in terms that I do not bring any answers to the space and I do not believe in the classic iconic figure of 'the artist' as the one who knows. I even don't believe in the word 'artist' anymore. In the country that I come from people that work on TV are called artists. I'm totally convinced that the word has lost its meaning. I consider myself to be a worker as everyone else that is dealing with a determine activity within our contemporary society. So in this sense I seek for a work that's dealing more with projections rather than with bringing answers. I love the capacity of interpretation that we posses while we attend a theatre event. And I want to abuse that fascinating capacity.
Many times after my performances people would come and share with me their experiences and associations and they would often ask if that is correct, if I wanted that, as if there would be right and wrong. And I always, even when I never even thought about that particular interpretation, I assume full responsibility for it, I almost embrace it as mine. That's exactly why I deeply love this job, its danger in terms that it dwells a public space, therefore its danger. It is dealing within the public sphere so in those terms it's uncontrollable. By more than I wish to imagine in the studio what it would happen and the time would be performed I could never ever even come closer. Because it's fully alive, I could never anticipate the reaction of another human being. And I'm seeking to celebrate that uncertainty."
What has attracted you to explore submersion? And would you currently say that this is the main focus of the work?
"Sometimes when I'm underwater I feel like I'm released from myself, almost as if there was nothing before and none would come after.
It is definitely the main focus of the work. I'm fully invested in translating that under water state into a performance without the presence of any water. To create a space in suspension, physically and mentally. Realizing that sound is the main mean to achieve all that I intend to create. I'm creating at times a sound wave with a clear origin/end direction, at another it's a wall of sound and at another it's sound fully flooding and devastating with everything and everyone, and my body/my presence it's just conducting almost like a music conductor."
If someone had looked into the studio this week what might they have found you doing?
"If they would have come during the morning slot I would probably be at my ashtanga yoga routine. It's a full 2 hours sequence that remains always unchanged (as they would practice in Mysore, India). Sometimes when I'm at it, by the middle, I fully doubt why am I doing it, it's so demanding that it's hard not to doubt when being on your own, but that's why it feels so rewarding afterwards, I guess it totally gets me into a state of mind that if absent the work would be probably different.
All the rest of the time in Nottingham I was figuring out how to work with the Kaossilator, which is a musical device that creates sound environments. It is the first time that I have used an instrument so it is a hell of a work for me and it feels extremely new."