I miss a teenager girl who escaped into the forest.
Her purple sports trousers with low waist and her white lycra crop top.
Her oversized jacket.
Her forbidden cigarettes and her scrambled poetry.
Her euphoric nostalgia and her humorous naughtiness.
I miss her carelessness walking through the woods, disappearing as a protest.
I am this girl sometimes.
Yellow Puzzle Horse is a dance for a self made dress in a constructed forest. The dress, as importante as the sewing and the dancing, as forbidden labours.
What does it mean to be queer when you are alone away from another's gaze? What is queerness as a relation with oneself? During the last months, while the world withdraw in isolation, I started spending long periods in the forest whilst thinking, fantasising and experimenting this dance. Spending time in the forest made me notice and relate with matter in transformation. The way the same matter assumes shapes as a tree, a bug, a mushroom, a bear or a berry. Also the way the berry becomes the bear when it is eaten, how the tree becomes a mushroom when ocupied by the fungus, how the mushroom becomes part of my body when I eat it.
I feel how close our bodies are of becoming the tree and the mushroom - How matter transports itself from constellation to constelation of life - at the same time that my mind is ocupied with gender questions - what things I was not expected to do, to feel, to wear, to become. Gender as the forest feels for me like a mutable constellation, where one thing can become another but can also decompose and rest in the space in between, when the tree is neither the tree or the fungus but an unnamed process in between.
This dance is building a fictional body searching a relationship with a dress, while paradoxically dissolving itself in continuous metamorphoses, hosting emotions, imageries, trauma and sensations. Impressions, flashes, vague memories, and emptied out narrative fragments. Moving through desire.
Coproduced by Weld (Stockholm/SE), Skogen (Gothenburg/SE), MARC (Kivic/SE)) and ZDB (Lisbon/PT)) Residency support of Siobhan Davis Dance (London/UK), Inter arts Centre (Malmö / SE) and Citemor (Montemor o Velho / PT)
Production Support of Metal (Peterborough/UK)
Financed by Kulturrådet (SE), DGArtes (PT) and Arts Council England (UK)
The work in progress variation "A dance for a dress in the forest" was commissioned by Anna Asplind for Sjösala Dansbana - Unexpected Movements within the context of Movements of Change in partnership with Riksteatern.
Escapism in a nature where the body is free
By Thomas Olsson in Svenska Dagbladet (SE)
For the dancer and choreographer Dinis Machado, the dancing body is not only movement but also constant change. A body affected by both the room and the situation it is in, whether it is about political restrictions, gender identity or other playful practices more driven by lust.
The new work "Yellow puzzle horse" is no exception. It is a complex and searching solo where Dinis Machado (born 1987 in Portugal) continues to carve out their choreographic practice. An equally charged and signifying aesthetics, where every detail or movement that is part of their work affects what happens, and which was recently awarded with the 2020 Birgit Cullberg scholarship for young choreographer.
The ability to communicate with objects, words, body and sound in a state where everything can be questioned or renegotiated is something that has characterized the works of Dinis Machado that I have seen in different places. For example, the series of works, "Barco dance collection", where a number of different choreographers were invited to create short solos for them, were performed in or near various places that have been important to Dinis Machado since they moved to Stockholm almost ten years ago. It could be a lawn in Hammarby Seaport, the walkway outside a parking lot, a bookstore or a sweaty nightclub.
In September last year, the solo "A dance for a dress in the forest" was presented in Värmland's Sjösala as a work in progress within the framework of the regional dance residence Rural movements.
For many of us, nature, whether it is a large forest or a city park, has taken on a new meaning during the past year. As a refuge or a possible meeting place, the forest has in many cases literally become a new setting.
Although it is not exactly the solo just mentioned that has moved into Weld's stage room, it is there as a backdrop. Sometimes Dinis Machado wanders like a faun on a journey of discovery in a forest glade one late afternoon. Dresses change, changes as new positions are explored, while wordless, loud mouth movements seem to formulate something besides the pre-recorded lyrics or songs that are an important part of "Yellow puzzle horse".
The fact that the solo was created at a time when social distance is mandatory and when fellow human beings are seen as contagious also makes it easier to see the escapist and slightly evasive traits more clearly than if the circumstances had been different. Not least when everyone in the room except Dinis Machado wears a mouth guard, it feels almost utopian to see someone move and dance so freely. And a little melancholic.
Whether it's about their own body or that of others, Dinis Machado as a dancer and choreographer constantly shows how changeable it is or can be. And how it can be (re) constructed with the help of a gesture, a pose, a garment, or of a text or an object. Identity and gender are not left completely open, but they are uncertain, or rather experimented, in different ways in "Yellow puzzle horse".
Choreography, dance, dress, objects
Dinis Machado (SE/PT)
Footage on stage by
Dinis Machado (SE/PT)
Photo documentation of the performance by Lo River Lööf (SE)
14 > 18 Apr // Weld
// Stockholm, SE
12 >16 May // Skogen
// Gothenburg, SE
27>28 May // ZDB
// Lisbon, PT
29 Jul // Festival Citemor
// Montemor o Velho, PT