Playing on the words “armor” and “amour,” Miami-based choreographer Lazaro Godoy takes on the complexities of a key human experience: love. Working with a team of collaborators, including creative partner and performer Carlota Pradera, Godoy is extending the range of his creative language. Until now, movement has been his primary artistic mode. With ArMOUR, he incorporates still visual images, space, and movement.
ArMOUR premieres Friday at Miami Theater Center and runs through Sunday, including the performance itself and artwork on display during the day. New Times spoke with Godoy while he was in the idea phase of the project, to learn about his creative approach.
Your new piece is about love, right?
Lazaro Godoy: ArMOUR is the title of the piece. It’s a work in progress. I am choreographing it as a dance piece, but at the moment, it’s an installation. It’s very visual. I’m working on the visual side of me. It’s a way for me to express myself, different from movement. It’s a meditation as well.
I don’t want to reveal so much, but it’s basically “armor.” When you think about the armor of the body that we carry with us through life, our bodies have many stories. When you take off the armor, you become vulnerable and exposed.
You tend to work collaboratively. Is that true for ArMOUR?
I’m directing and choreographing and putting all the elements together. I’m creating all the visual components. And I have a team of artists that I’m putting together to support this work. The lighting designer, for example, a photographer, and Carlota as a performer. There is a live singer also. So in general, they are all adding elements to the work. It’s not me making the work alone. It’s very important for me to let others influence the work while I’m doing it.
Where are you now in your creative process?
At the moment, I’m elaborating on ideas because I have access to the actual space for only one week. So when I enter the space, it will just build. I’m performing as well, and I’m putting together my visual side. I’m not a professional visual artist. I haven’t studied, it’s just self-learning, and the passion to see colors and to merge into a world that is my own, basically. You can create a safe place, which all art does. It makes a world where you feel safe and you feel like it’s very honest.
Is this a personal love story or a more universal one?
I’m looking at it as a message. It’s something that I put together, and I deliver it as a message that everyone can relate to, instead of just for a couple or genders. I’m exploring with identity, colors, and ethnicities. I’m excited really by what I’m discovering within this process, and I hope to find more surprises along the way. I don’t know how to describe love — I don’t see one way to describe it — but I feel like it’s in the direction of universal. It can transport you to the past, the future, and the present at the same time.
What led you to work on this topic of love?
I went through something in my life. I felt like I was never going to be able to recuperate from that fall. But I did, and now I’m looking at that. It hurt, but you can stand up and continue looking at the world positively, looking to the light. I felt my body healing — it’s about loving yourself as well and giving yourself that time to heal. I have been three years with my partner. It takes time. All these consequences are starting to create this idea of love, so “armour” — I play with the word.
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Do you have a hope or expectation about how the audience will relate to your rendition of love?
I don’t expect anything specific from the audience, because we all have such an individual way of feeling. It’s very unique for each one of us, even though it’s a collective feeling that unites all of us. I hope that they feel as light as possible when they leave the space. They can celebrate that feeling of love and acceptance. I cannot really control that; I don’t want to manipulate. I just want to present it. I’m very young within this, and fresh, in a way that I really don’t know how it’s going to go.
Sometimes I have a tendency to go very dark and heavy. So I hope that I get rid of this heaviness and [that audiences] feel pleasure with looking at each other and accepting ourselves vulnerable and exposed, not to hide anything.
— Catherine Annie Hollingsworth, Artburstmiami.com
Performance and exhibition by Lazaro Godoy. Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29, at the SandBox at Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores; 305-751-9550, mtcmiami.org. Performances take place at 8 p.m.; tickets cost $25. Exhibition is on display from 2 to 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.