The return of Julie Barnsley as choreographer has been fortunate. Her renewed presence as author and also as performer has permitted the revitalization of the experiences of her expressive and reflexive discourse, which with enormous contundency she projected during the stimulating Venezuelan dance scene of the 80s and 90s.
Her work Shakti en Ascenscion o Rainbow Revisited, premiered at the end of last year by Accion Colectiva (Aktion Kolectiva), has just been awarded The Municipal Dance Award, mention Choreography, from the Libertador District’s government.
Originally conceived for an unconventional space at the Chacao Cultural Centre, this project was recently seen in a theatrical version at the Sala Juana Sujo theatre at the Casa del Artista.
Barnsley’s obsessions around; human relations and the struggle for power ; and the situation of woman conceived as a subordinate being, as a painful nonentity and the existential vacuum that this inevitably leads to; remains in tact, only this is now revitalized by a decisive interest in a bodily gestuality which is more emotional than formal.
The piece begins with an act of invocation and nostalgia. Here, the author herself interprets the initial solo of The Rainbow Dance, her short and now fundamental work, an essential icon of the national expressionist dance movement, which revealed her, 20 years ago, as a choreographer and performer of most particular investigations and as an exceptional interpretative register.
The actions develop into a varied dramatic construction, where extreme female sentiments, in permanent relation to the male perspective, acquire archetypical characteristics. Three women, perspicaciously off balance, reveal the veracity of their weaknesses, yearnings and impossibilities. They share the same scenario with an audiovisual installation, conceived by Goar Sanchez, here there occurs some aggressive chromatic contrasts, which could be conceived equally as a pure and abstract environment or as a bar in which to relieve an aching heart.
Here we evidence the expressions, ( born from lived experiences and also from a cold rationalization of the conflicts) , of figures, incarnated by militant performers who enjoy the maturity and completeness of their bodies and spirits, Julie Barnsley,Claudia Capriles and Vanessa Lozano, each with their own individual impulses and sensibilities, transform the codes of the contemporary dance, into something really significative, which really belongs to them, overwhelming the public with the authenticity of their work.
The three scenic presences in Shakti en Ascenscion o Rainbow Revisited, have now entered the world of women, who are traumatized and violent, non conformist and radical, characteristics of Julie Barnsley, the conceptual north which she has never abandoned and which is reflected clearly in her book, El Cuerpo como territorio de la Rebeldia, published by Iudanza, 2006 (The body as a field of Rebellion ). A notable work about the dance assumed with conviction and not only as a mere diversion.
To this fascinating and complex universe has now been added, by means of her latest creation Après Petipa, the desolate vision of the swan, the inextinguishable symbol of the western ballet academy, of tragedy, splendor, decadence and death. In Julie Barnsley’s hands, the classic myth turns convulsively contemporary, in an historic moment which admits no return.
El Nacional, Caracas, 12 de Septiembre .2007, by Carlos Paolillo.
“Shakti en Ascención (Shakti Rising ) or Rainbow Revisited” a performance work which explores the energy of the feminine… Barnsley begins this cathartic event with reference to the Rainbow Dance, (a previous dance work of her creation ), and alongside Vanessa Lozano and Claudia Capriles explores intimately themes which have been constants in her expressive investigations ; violence, role playing, social manipulations, the intrinsic isolation of the individual.” Shakti Rising” approaches the body in no formal way to activate a discourse which is authentic and primordial, a dissertation with great audiovisual potential inspired by the particular temperaments of the performers. Here, Barnsley bewitches the public with a solid and coherent proposal which arises from intense experiences and reflections, experiences which have converted her into an exceptional performer……”
Jose Antonio Blasco. EL Mundo, Caracas.
“Aprés Petipa”…this feminine quartet disturbs the solid foundations of the academy and using strategies of the New Dance movement offers moments of beautiful plasticity… Barnsley deconstructs the physicality and the aesthetics of ballets which are emblematic of romanticism, “Swan lake” and the “Dying swan”, to create another discourse around the feminine.”
Jose Antonio Blasco. EL Mundo, Caracas.
“Shakti en ascensión o rainbow revisited” and “Après Petipa” approach the feminine from different angles, although both coincide in that they deal with violence, decadence and death…
(Apres Petipa) … alludes to the swan as that eternal symbol and to its formal recreation in the classical ballet, and converts it here into an image of desolate and disturbing postmodernity.
Carlos Paolillo www.danzarevista.com
(Denuncian la incomunicación) OJO
Video and Body. Body and Video in a frenetic confrontation intensely denouncing the "massmedia" culture. Dance and technology at the service of a totally commited event......DELICADA DECAPITACION takes the breath away of the spectator, provokes innumerable reactions and doesn´t leave the viewer comfortable in his seat. The theatre and the dance interweave to present psychophysical actions and reactions which reveal all the existencial misery of man and his cosmos.
..Each movement, each gesture and step contains a special strength and calculated intention which is devastating...... Decadence,anxiety and loss of self are materialized by Accion Colectiva, this staging is only posible thanks to the refined technique, and a precise investigation of the Individual body /mind and its relation to the society.
.........Julie Barnsley, the only performer, possesed by the characters… brilliant in her interpretation-, immaculate expression-,physical poetry.
Juan manuel Garcia. A. M. Mexico