On 12th May, the Society played virtual host to the Hilo Rojo Dance Company from Valparaíso, when director and choreographer, Maria Jose Franco Campos, was joined by three of her dancers (Camila Guerrero, Julieta Mazzoni and Paula Cortés Poirrier) to present Madeja de Gestos (Gesture’s Skein), a collection of three filmed works by the company, followed by an interview conducted by Society member and international dance critic, Graham Watts and questions from the virtual audience. The opening film was Hipotónico (Hypotonic), a compelling solo performed by Paula Cortés Poirrier that investigates the hypnotic condition of the body and the memory of movement; filmed in an empty room, Poirrier wore a striking headdress, designed by Simone Verdugo, and Campos’ choreography explored the contrasts between vulnerability and strength, lightness and heaviness and the horizontal and vertical. The work had premiered live on stage prior to the pandemic, in 2018, in Santiago de Chile. This was followed by a quartet, Viudas del Mar (Widows of the Sea), performed by the three women dancers together with Antonio Perez, which was filmed in the Plaza Echaurren in Valparaíso. The narrative was inspired by the funeral rites undertaken in the Bio Bio region for fishermen who disappear while at sea and the mourning women that are left to grieve. It was the company’s first work and focuses on the choreographer’s special use of gesture to convey an atmosphere of nostalgia and sorrow. The filmed performance in the Plaza Echaurren was enlivened by a dog joining in with the dancers and the bemused reactions of passers-by. It is a strong work that should be regarded as a signature example of Campos’ idiosyncratic choreographic style. The final filmed work was Gravitar (Gravitate), a journey through the highly specialised craft of chinchin fused with contemporary dance. A solo for Camila Guerrero, one of only a handful of accomplished female chinchin performers, it is a unique work that is unlikely to be capable of being performed by any other person since it requires elite expertise in both playing the chinchin (a drum and cymbals attached to the performer’s back) and as a dancer. This complex combination of music and movement requires significant powers of concentration. Following the three films, there was a composite photographic capsule of the company’s work in 2019, created by Maureen Maynenicholls.
Campos has pulled together an impressive group of creative collaborators, including Carol Contreras, the costume designer for all three works; her composers and musicians, Camilo Gomez, Olga Carrasco, Fernando ‘Charanguito’ Gajardo and Antú Carillo; and lighting designer, Gloria Barrera The question and answer session was simultaneously translated in the zoom chat function by Julieta Mazzoni (one of the dancers in Viudas del Mar) and a producer with the company.