On a recent afternoon, Carlota Pradera and Lazaro Godoy both peered at the empty, black performance space and pondered the narrative of the upcoming show, Bare Bones.
Neither would reveal the show's narrative, if it has one; only that every aspect of the production, from the tree trunks to the natural vines used as props, will project life in its organic form. And the movement will be propelled from a visceral place. "That's the beauty of dance, there's really no narrative," says Godoy. "It's better to leave it to the imagination."
The highly anticipated experimental show opens Friday and runs every Friday and Saturday through the June 28 at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores. Bare Bones takes place in the center's intimate, 50-seat black box studio, and is part of the MTC's Sandbox Series.
Described as a "metaphoric labyrinth," Bare Bones uses movement and a visual installation to explore and analyze power dynamics among individuals and cultures. The work questions divisive lines that ultimately alienate families, lovers, friends and political enemies.
While any semblance of a plot will be left open to interpretation, it's clear that Pradera and Godoy both have culled from personal life encounters to create Bare Bones. They speak about the work meditatively. "We all individually have our own experiences as humans, as people," says Pradera, the current MTC artist in residence. "And I think my personal experiences usually are exposed within my work. We all go through conflict and resolution and look for better ways to co-exist with other individuals."
Representing over a decade of dance work in South Florida, both Pradera and Godoy are known for bringing the human experience to the stage. In developing Bare Bones, "we started to have thoughts about walls, separation, arguments, fights -- and love, which has that power," says Godoy, an alumnus of Young Arts and Julliard, who recently returned to Miami from a four-year dance stint in Israel.
He revealed that the performance touches on two souls meeting and coming into each other's space, "stirring up what's already there," getting closer and eventually becoming one. Eventually, "they relate in the space like monsters," he says. "There's no happy ending but there is hope."
The Cuban-born dancer has a philosophy to executing this piece, which is to "lead by emotion and see where it goes physically."
The interactive set, consisting of tree trunks and vine-like foam work, help illustrate natural formations in the body and the environment. "We are bringing something from outside into this space that already brings you somewhere else in a way," says Pradera, who grew up in the green mountainous region of Sabadell, Spain.
Hammering away in the theater's background is the show's artistic director Juan Carlos Zaldivar. The award-winning Cuban-American filmmaker seeks to create a set that speaks to Pradera and Godoy's emotions and frame of reference.
"They knew they wanted to do wood and we just started talking about in their minds, what kind of places this performance or these characters were moving in," he says. "There weren't any real places but there were inspirations. So you have inspirations in the places they were born, places where they grew up. So out of those geographies I started to look for common denominators." Zaldivar will project images on the back wall during the show.
The performance is more multi-disciplinary collaborative event than dance, and includes live music from experimental electronic musician Juraj Kojs and special lighting design from Alexey Taran.
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Bare Bones from Carlota Pradera runs Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. at the Miami Theater Center, 9806 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami Shores; tickets $15-$20; mtcmiami.org.
--Kai T. Hill, artburstmiami.com