From the moment we arrived in Bolivia we had contact with Carmen Collazos Moyano, who established her company La Lupa in 2011 in Cochabamba. She has been working with Kenzo, and Boukje Schweigmann and many Bolivian artists. She is one of the contemporary choreographers here in Bolivia who currently is investigating in her own choreographic signature. Since 11 years she teaches at the Laredo Institute for the Arts, where art is implemented, as part of school education.
In this “exchange” we were invited to dance in her latest work “Imanidad”, which she created in 2012. And vice a versa we invited her to dance in the re-work of “Rituales”. “Imanidad” is one of the most contemporary work, that we have seen so far in Bolivia. Carmen’s point of departure is how magnetism is related to human relationship. Because of her clear theme it was easy for us to engage within just two weeks of rehearsal in her re-work process. She translated magnetism into movement and developed a movement language for that piece. During the creation process her dancers also propose ideas, which she picked up. An interesting, contemporary work, which is well received and has possibilities for more.
By joining her process, we also experienced being part of a contemporary company in Bolivia, which dynamic is different from a company in the Netherlands. The main problem they face in Bolivia is in how to maintain a dance company, while the dancers including the director of the company have to work besides working on their art. So there is less time for investigating and focusing “just“ on the artistic development. Besides that it is difficult to manifest yourself as a dance artist, because there is no possibility in Bolivia to obtain a certificate of a University that states that you are a dance teacher, nor a dancer, nor a choreographer. The idea and vision of the unique Laredo Institute is great, but still there is no continuation of this specific artistic career as a dancer/ choreographer/ dance teacher. So observing her efforts to run a contemporary dance company, we see a confrontation with Bolivian reality. Where the dancers whom she taught in the Laredo Institute and whom she also works with, after finishing their “High School” have to study something “decent” to be able to earn money for living. The educational system of Bolivia yet does not allow carrying on in developing an artistic career. Therefore most of them are obliged to study something else or study in other countries. In both ways they will have to spend more time with other activities or even leave the company for being able to study somewhere else. Never the less through her experience and her way of working, Carmen is one of the few people in Bolivia working with contemporary dance. Her work is not linear, abstract, with strong physicality and clear themes, including passages of improvisation within a clear structure. She has interesting ideas and is manifesting her work on stage, in the studio and in teaching.
This exchange was for us a great possibility to experience contemporary dance of Bolivia’s next generation, who we belief will lift up contemporary dance in Bolivia, creating whole new ideas and pave the way into divers directions of contemporary work. Carmen is also one of the persons who did her utmost best to get the studio full for the workshops that we thought in Cochabamba. Most of the workshop participants were her students at the Laredo Institute. Although they are young they are committed and mature in class and open to investigate in their own languages. A pleasure to teach and hopefully Carmen will be one of the new generations, who will find support, so she can develop her choreographic signature.
Funny things on the side: Most Bolivians are like us complaining about the weather … We always try to tell them imagine Holland for a while – temperature in Cochabamba never really drops under 9 degrees for a long time and most of them feel a cold when temperature drops to 17 degrees for normal in their case is 23-30 degrees. Not even talking about the fact that in Bolivia the sun is around each day. Of course there are also clouds but until now after 5 month we may have experienced 3 days without sun! Looking at Holland really gives us a new perspective on weather: rain, wind, clouds, snow and some days of “just” sun.