Good Maneries: interview with choreographer Luis Garay
“Maneries is also about imagination, and the bodily production of imagination, so the commitment of the performer must be very high.”
Colombian choreographer and director Luis Garay brings Maneries, performed by (and created for) the fiercely captivating dancer Florencia Vecino, to FringeArts April 14-16 (tickets/info). Garay (who is now based in Argentina) will also be leading a workshop for area dancers on April 13 (info/register). Maneries “explores a catalogue of gestures, pictures, poses, sculptures” and is a highly original evening of movement showing the incredible diversity of the human body. We caught up with Luis last fall to ask him about the dance.
How did you come up with the title Maneries?
Luis Garay: I don’t remember where I was or the exact moment. But I know we didn’t have many options for the title. It was pretty much the first and only option. Maneries is a concept from Giorgio Agamben’s book The Coming Community. He teaches us that maneries is not the plural of manare (ways of), on the contrary. Maneries is one place, like a fountain, from where all possible forms emanate. Maneries embraces both the universal and particular at the same time, like an example. In each example the “universal” is contained. So Maneries is collections of examples.
Luis Garay: We developed a special relationship with Florencia [Vecino]. We created rules, collections of gestures, pictures, poses, sculptures—and she mixes them up, live, like a deejay. The structure of the piece is very rigid, but at the same time it allows [the performance] to be changed every time. Maneries is also about imagination, and the bodily production of imagination, so the commitment of the performer must be very high; Florencia commits 100% to what she does and that is why the piece is still alive.
What kind of conversations took place between the two of you?
Luis Garay: We talked about the state in which she needs to be, to start and to build the piece. We talked about it a lot, because this “state” is very complex, it requires that she is very attentive, at the same time inside the piece and observing herself from the outside—all the time, so it is very paranoiac. She has many rules to administrate at the same time. Many archives to execute. We talk about warriors all the time and what that could mean: she is a warrior of language. The piece is about what she does as much as it is about what she doesn’t do and we imagined out of her.
What did you work on most when fine-tuning Maneries?
Luis Garay: The energy. Because it is very fragile. We know the energy and the place the piece needs to grow. It is very thin. So we train that as much as possible. I know the ambient and the atmosphere in which I want the audience to be. It is very broad and at the same time very specific.
What experience do you get out of watching the performance now?
Luis Garay: I like watching it because I surrender to the performance every time. When the piece produces the kind of energy we want to create in the room, I am the first one to enjoy it and live it and experience it.
Thank you, looking forward to the show.
April 14–16 TICKETS & INFO
140 North Columbus Boulevard (at Race)
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Maneries photos by Dudu Quintanilha.