Brazilian-born dancer and award-winning choreographer, Marina Magalhaes, speaks about the thinking behind (UN)BRIDALED.
‘As far back as I can remember, I’ve have always loved dance. Dance became almost like a second home, a second family, something to keep me grounded and consistent,’ Marina Magalhaes says. She shares her gypsy-like experience of moving from country to country with her family as a child.
Reflecting on her upbringing, Marina Magalhaes earnestly declares that dance has been a really strong marker of her identity. She then recalls a poignant memory from her childhood, where her cousin insisted that she learn salsa. In return, she proudly began dancing the spicy Latin American dance, with no recollection of how she had learnt it. Her sense of cultural identity is closely tied to movement and dance; it has always been integral to her being.
Marina Magalhaes recently showcased her riveting choreographical work, (UN)BRIDALED at The Drama for Life (DFL) Human Rights and Social Justice Season May 2016. She performed her solo work Limbs, choreographed by Maria Bauman, during her stay in South Africa. Showing both at the My Body My Space Festival (Mpumalanga, South Africa) as well as the Maitisong Festival (Gaborone, Botswana).
Every performer desires to be part of projects that truly nourish their creative soul, that empower artists. Projects that, as a result, remind them of why they’ve ventured into this tumultuous industry in the first place.
(UN)BRIDALED is certainly one of these gems. Marina Magalhaes created this interactive dance theatre experience in 2014, with the original Latino cast in her home base of Los Angles. She completed her BA with World Arts and Cultures (Dance Concentration) as her major and Women’s Studies as her minor at University of California Los Angeles. Furthermore, acquired the philosophy to make work that derives from a personal place, and to explore her positionality in the world. (UN)BRIDALED is no different, and her personal experiences became an entry point into exploring the theme of patriarchy, especially in relation to the bride.
‘To me in my life, no oppression is clearer and more present than patriarchy,’ says Marina Magalhaes. The theme of this year’s DFL Human Rights and Social Justice Season was ‘States of Emergency’. With a chuckle, she says that as woman our entire lives are made up of unremitting states of emergency, constantly worrying about our safety for being a woman. As she says, ‘While men walking down the street are at peril of getting mugged or experiencing violence, for woman there’s an added factor, like our bodies could be used against us.’
Patriarchy is ever present in our society. Young women are constantly confronted with issues pertaining to their bodies, marriage and the role of women. Addressing patriarchy’s affect on woman through dance, naturally, is a daunting task. Yet, nothing is more relevant in South Africa’s current context with the rise of anti-rape movements in universities, than women taking agency of their bodies. This process not only empowered the performers, but encouraged the entire body of women present in the theatre during the performance to channel Iansã and assert ‘I don’t give a fuck!’ (A very defiant line in the work).
A revelation for women that should go onto the street, into the workplace, with women wherever they are. A line that should therefore go beyond the confines of the theatre. The ideals that Marina Magalhaes strives for are pertinent to the daily survival of women. She believes that artists should be integral to a society and that artists should be politically engaged. This is in order to create provocative and relevant work, that critiques the society they live in. Certainly a characteristic she admires about South African artists.
She fuses her love and appreciation for contemporary dance styles, as well as her passion for Afro-Latin dance. This in addition to the desire to eradicate bridges between contemporary dance/music in relation to that of the traditional.
Finally, (UN)BRIDALED is a physical and emotional dive into the depths of womanhood, into what makes them who they are. Marina Magalhaes’ wish for woman across the world is, ‘To allow ourselves to be total contradictions and really complex human beings.’ She continued to subtly inspire as she enthusiastically shared her love for feminism and how, ‘Feminism saved my life!
‘I love feminism. It gave me all this language and context to understand everything I’ve been through. And that’s my other wish for woman, to at least understand feminism and engage with it without demonising it.’
For more information onMarina Magalhaes or any of her productions, please visit www.marinamagalhaes.com