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A broken cup is more important than me

May 20, 2014

Between Coffee Lines

Choreography and performance: Luis Villanueva

Mexico, 2014


As in any other artform, dance has its own mechanisms to inhabit, manipulate, capture and create its spatio-temporal universe. Accordingly, capabilities of this body movement discipline go beyond just altering linearities, interrupting sequences, or even delineating the spatial limits of performance, but it’s also capable of suspending the time flow or even fragmenting and unfolding space.


And facing the eternal and playful question if it is space-time that shapes dance or the other way around, if indeed dance is the responsible for sculpting space-time,  there have been choreographic proposals expressing their own thoughts on the subject since the mid-twentieth century.


Many different dance perfomances took place during the last Dance Week on various venues of the Mexico City Theatre System. In this context, Between Coffee Lines, a Luis Villanueva’s choreography (Miguel Covarrubias 2007 for best male performer award and choreography) that sets out a very peculiar space-time experience through an exploration of loneliness, waiting, idealization and how it falls apart was presented.


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Theatrical and with a touch of stand-up comedy, this staging is, generally speaking, a look at the metamorphosis of a man who finds himself in a coffee shop awaiting for a woman. Meanwhile, audience is witness of his desires, frustrations and loneliness translated into spiral movements playing with a mobile set which -emulating the body of the performer- is constantly dancing, and such as the role he plays is persistently mutating.



In Between Coffee Lines, space is disassembled and glued back again over and over amidst harsh shadows moving on the walls, making their own choreography. Anxiety produced by high doses of coffee is perceived in his movements and also exposes spectators to a sort of spatial contained-volumetric experience where, on one side, we see how the character slowly emerges and on the other, how the scenic elements transform the shape of space.


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It is a no-lineal story, fragmented and fractured, where a cup of coffee becomes a time unit. Another interesting aspect is the dramatic text, interpreted out loud and acquiring its own physical dimension that way. Likewise, space materials –such as bubble wrap, wood, fabrics- are incorporated as sound elements of this coreography which is complementary to Ken, To Be or Not to Be Recyclable?, the first approach to the same protagonist, also staged by Luis Villanueva in 2013.


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In a moment when the clock seems to have finally stopped -but not the consumption of coffee- space gives the impression of being on the edges allowed by containment, waiting the slightest reason to sprawl everywhere, just as if a pressure cooker remained forever in the fire; and that man who dances his history in front of the audience, all wrapped around the solitude of his hopes, is so insignificant that a cup full of that delicious and cardiotonic dark liquid, crashing on the floor, is more important than him.



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