Our blog today takes a look into the process of developing Bonnie Gaztambide’s piece for Dances of Offering. I had the honour of interviewing her and hearing what it’s like to work with the whole Pegasus Performance Group.
Jessica: Tell me about yourself, your background.
Bonnie: I’m a dancer and choreographer, from Boston originally. I’ve been working with the PPG dancers for three years now, and I love it. I love their energy and they are very talented. I love the Pegasus community.
Jessica: What is the title of your piece this year?
Jessica: What is the concept?
Bonnie: The piece is about water and in particularly about flooding. The beauty and the power of water. It's about loss, survivors, and the importance of community. Water as a life necessity, water as a relaxing, cleansing space to release tension. Water as destructive and surprising force. Water as a surge that can whisk our life away in an instant. Water is powerful and ominous. Something so awesome, and yet something those of us who have it in abundance, take for granted.
The story is mostly for the dancers. To infuse their movement with not just steps, pretty lines, awesome jumps, turns, flips and counts, but to use imagery, videos and stories to help tap into their emotions, their feelings, their frustrations and their own passion.
Jessica: How many dancers are in your piece?
Bonnie: 22. The entire Pegasus Performance Group.
Jessica: What is it like to work with a large group like that?
Bonnie: It was a challenge mostly because of number of dancers. I wanted to do a group piece using the entire cast. Personally I enjoy seeing all the different stages, ages and abilities on stage. It was a different working process for them than in previous years because they would have to sit and watch at times. Obviously I couldn’t work with all 21 at the same time, so I would send some of them off to another studio to work on material and to clean sections together. They had to learn how to work as a team. I also invited them be “collaborators” with the piece, in terms of sourcing movement. Some things we kept and other things we edited. The older PPG dancers helped A LOT and were amazing role models.
Jessica: How did you arrive at the concept for your piece?
Bonnie: I guess I was inspired by the music first. “All Fence No Doors” by Rising Appalachia. R.I.S.E is a female folk band from Atlanta, Georgia that recorded a piece back in 2005 about Hurricane Katrina. As we know, flooding happens everywhere, all over the world - the devastation and cost to people's lives it havocs is unfathomable.
Personally I like to do dances that have a story. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the audience has to get the story, but it gives the dancers something to think about so it’s more part of their essence, why they’re moving. They’re moving because they have some image in their head of a floating body or the water rising.
Jessica: How do you feel about the process so far?
Bonnie: Overall, I feel that the PPG dancers have done a FANTASTIC job and continue to inspire me each rehearsal. I feel very blessed to be a part of their lives and dance training. Pegasus is a beautiful place.
|Bonnie Gaztambide leading rehearsal with the PPG|