In honor of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, choreographer Mariana Oliveira presents W.S., a piece inspired by the works of the greatest writer of all time. W.S. is a contemporary dance piece that challenges the dancers both technically and artistically, and invites them to immerse themselves in Shakespeare’s complex and emotional universe. The dance is accompanied by readings of Shakespeare’s works, as well as contemporary classical and electronic fusion inspired by the 16th century.
W.S. will be presented in three Los Angeles-based dance festivals, premiering at the Pasadena Dance Festival on February 22nd at 8pm, with additional performances taking place at the High Voltage Festival on April 4th, and the Dance on the Edge Dance Festival on April 26th at 2:30pm.
The piece begins with a reading of Sonnet 81, Shakespeare’s ode to the immortality of writing. Through gestures, the ensemble gives life to the emotion of his words. The second section is a technically demanding male solo of Hamlet, set to “To be or not to be”. The solo features both contemporary and ballet techniques as Hamlet debates life and death. Filled with revenge, in a very introspective moment, he asks himself if pain in life is inevitable; is life worth living or can one simply cease the agony through death?
In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s comedic tangled web of relationships, the confusing relationships are represented by tricky partnering work. Considered a comedy that explores gender roles and love, dancers are dressed in nude color to represent equality between the genders. The piece concludes with the famous balcony speech from Romeo and Juliet, and a passionate and emotional pas-de-deux expressing the blossoming of Romeo and Juliet’s love, rather than their story’s tragic ending.
The Union Project Dance Company is an LA based contemporary dance company founded by choreographer Mariana Oliveira that features the collaboration of dance and original music. The company’s vision is to encourage the collaboration of artists from diverse backgrounds. For more information, visit www.tupdance.com.
Photo credit: Billye Donya Photography