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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Danza EN (new)


José Navas / Compagnie Flak (Quebec)

28 - 29 May, 10 p.m.
Teatro Fondamenta Nuove
Miniatures (2008, 60’) [Italian premiere]
choreography and dance by José Navas
music by Johann-Sebastian Bach, Vincenzo Bellini, Claude Debussy, Maria Grever, George Gershwin, Frédéric Chopin, Antonio Vivaldi
lighting Marc Parent
produced by José Navas/Compagnie Flak
in coproduction with Agora de la danse
with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
Originally from Caracas, but resident in Montreal for the past 20 years, where he founded his own company in 1995, Compagnie Flak, José Navas is one of the leading exponents of Quebecois dance and the creator of over 30 choreographies, many for ensembles, and above all solos, which have earned Navas his enviable reputation. It is with Miniatures, his latest solo creation, presented here for the first time in Italy, that Navas returns to the Biennale, where he was invited for the first time in 2002 by Carolyn Carlson.
The first solo performer I ever saw was Risa Steinberg, back in the early ’80s” - states Navas - performing pieces by Isadora Duncan and other pioneers of dance. The show awed me and shaped my desire and love for the solo form. As a young artist, my first ventures in choreography took the form of solos. Solos is like singing a cappella: as performer you are exposed. It fails utterly unless you connect your body and soul”. Seven years passed before Navas was able to return to his solo passion with Miniatures, a return that takes place at a moment of artistic and human maturity that enables Navas not only to reveal all the undertones and subtleties of his dance, but also to instigate an intimate dialogue with the public, exhibiting the fragility of a soloist who bears his soul.
In seven brief solo pieces, the show reveals the personal story and passions of Navas (the piece was originally called Love Songs). There is a tribute to the dancer who changed his life, Risa Steinberg; a piece in memory of his father, who taught him to dance salsa in the living room at home, imparting a love for dance and music; another inspired by the geometric style of William Douglas, his companion in life and art, with whom Navas began producing choreography. Without pushing his choreographic research further, Navas presents the pure joy of dancing, with a repertoire of music ranging from Bach, Bellini, Chopin, Debussy and Vivaldi to Gershwin and the Mexican María Grever.
“In painting, miniatures are fastidiously small, highly detailed rapresentations of reality. At first the nacked eye sees a tangle of colours on the tiny surface. But if you look closely, the details reveal a surprising landscape and a whole reality. Miniatures consists of moving landscapes, translations into movement of my own fields of memories. They are short glipses of love stories and of carnal desire. As a dancer, with my body changing faster and maturing, these landscapes are my declaration that my love affair with solo work will endure, regardless of age and circumstances”.
(J. Navas)
“At 43 years old, the internationally-renowned performer and choreographer is observing his body change and evolve, like an instrument that he plays different, that he feels differently. He approaches his craft like as a stage performer, including all the doubts that can accompany it, with assurance. He observes all that, and seeks its new possibilities. Is he trying to test himself with this new solo? Whatever the reason, it is his body and his experiences that he presents in seven movements, without costume or set, with as his sole accompaniment the precise lighting by his faithful collaborator, Marc Parent and the great music of immortal composers such as Bach, Chopin, Bellini, Vivaldi…”.
(Marie-Chantal School, “Df Danse”)
José Navas (Caracas, 1965) - After undertaking studies at the Escuela de Danza of Caracas, in 1988 Navas moved to New York to train at the Merce Cunningham Studio. During the years in the USA, he worked with Stephen Petronio, Michael Clark and Lucinda Childs. A turning point in his career came when he met choreographer William Douglas, with whom he moved to Montreal in 1991. Their artistic relationship lasted until Douglas’s death in 1996. After meeting Douglas, Navas had himself begun to create his own choreographies and in 1995 he founded his own company (Flak) for which he has produced over 30 works presented in about 20 countries. Bold, intense and provocative, the artistic vision of Navas bases its roots in Latin American literature; the choreographer is a master in the creation of atmospheres in which the sole compass for the public is emotion. Among his most highly-appreciated works, full of sensuality, are One Night Only 3/3, Perfume de Gardenias and Abstraction. Portable Dances, Anatomies, S  are his latest works for Compagnie Flak.