Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Le Balon"...Junior Almeida

Junior Almeida is a choreographer who uses the body as an instrument, it has percussive qualities like a drum, it has lyrical qualities like a violin, and when it is appropriate, he can blast you with movement that looks like the pop of a trumpet...he is music in motion:

MUSICALITY: Junior's history as a "perform-ographer" is legendary. He is considered one of the founding members of the Parisian hip hop community. If anyone knows and appreciates the history and culture of French hip hop, it is this man. Consequently, every nuance of his movement is informed by this history. When an artist studies and understands how and where his art form originated, the musicality of the resulting choreo is flavored and complex.

DANCER SYNC: If you ever have the opportunity to study with Junior, you will very quickly realize that his movement were made for the dancer, not the other way around. It does not suggest that they are "easy" or "less challenging" in any way, but rather, they are always rooted in the body's natural tendencies. Science tells us that the human body is roughly 60% water...and now watch Junior's ability to translate this fact into actual gestures in his spine, shoulders, and arms.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: In this example, Junior has decided to incorporate at prop into his choreo. What gives the piece dimension, is his ability to imbue the inanimate object with a spirit and soul. Through Junior's manipulation, the balloon becomes his accomplice and counterpoint, creating a wordless dialogue between two "friends." See if you, as a viewer, can guess what is being said between them.

KUDOS to Junior for exploring the dynamic between the living, breathing organisms of the human body, and the structural, architectural features of an unlikely partner!

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