|Created by Gabriela Medina and Mario Villa,
Notes of the Hershey Man features the raw choreography
of Medina and Mariana Granados set against Mario Villa's striking visual
concept. The piece also presents a unique collaboration between the company
and the distinguished philosopher, educator, and author Maxine Greene. A
passionate advocate for aesthetic experiences in education for more than
half a century, Dr. Greene makes a special appearance in Notes of the Hershey
Man to offer her personal reflections on the subject of violence. Original
music and sound design for the piece was created by the well-known Mexican
film composer Carlo Nicolau, who composed the music for the film Santitos
and the music for New York-based choreographer Stephen Petronio. For Notes
of the Hershey Man, Nicolau uses text and body sounds as instruments, and
integrates the words of Maxine Greene and others to unify the audio component
with the dramatic action on stage.
Following the structure of a boxing match, Notes of the Hershey Man is constructed
as a series of 1-minute "rests" and 3-minute "contacts."
During the rest periods Maxine Greene offers her improvised reflections
on the subject of violence. Medina and Granados respond to Greene's thoughts
with 3-minute dance pieces that also focus on violence, anger and beauty,
and how these ideas relate to each other. The dance intervals are segmented
further to comment on how these themes relate to the self, to relationships
between two individuals, and to interactions among massive groups of people.
Immediately following the performance, Maxine Greene will invite the audience
to participate in a salon-style discussion about the subjects of violence
and beauty, as they were expressed in the performance.
About La Manga
La Manga was founded in Mexico in 1994 by dancer and choreographer Gabriela
Medina and visual artist Mario Villa. That same year, Guillermo Maldonado
joined the company as a dance trainer and rehearsal director. In 2000,
the company grew to include Mariana Granados, dancer, choreographer and
teaching artist, and in 2004, Shirley Levy became the company’s
Public Relations Manager.
The group's work concerns itself with the role of artists and their relationship
with society. In particular, the company is rooted in the beliefs that
first, artists are citizens and human beings who should speak out against
the atrocities for which our species is responsible. Second, as philosopher
Maxine Greene suggests, artists must "think and imagine things as
if they were otherwise." To do so, La Manga integrates the work of
artists from different disciplines to produce aesthetic statements that
incorporate elements of popular culture into an innovative theatrical
vision presented in both performing and visual arts venues.
Since its foundation, La Manga has also sought to abolish the idea that
a narrowly-defined "perfect" body is the only appropriate instrument
for dance expression. This goal has led the company to develop the Integrated
Dance Theater Methodology which is used in its artistic work, in leading
seminars, and in movement research projects with the physically disabled,
professional wrestlers, homeless youth, adults, and more recently blind
and visually impaired children.
La Manga has performed in 8 countries across the Americas and has been
the recipient of many distinguished grants throughout its ten-year history.
In particular, the company has been supported by Mexico's National Center
for the Arts and FONCA, Canada's Banff Center and Gibraltar Point Center
for the Arts, and Venezuela's Latin American Conservatory for Performing
Arts. In 1995, its piece Fabula de Hilario received the National and Continental
Contemporary Dance Award by the National Institute of Fine Arts and the
Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico. The company has presented
work in myriad cultural venues in New York including recent engagements
at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU (as part of the
Mexico Now festival), The Riverside Church Theater (for the NuDanceNow
Festival) and at the MediaNoche gallery (as part of Place, a year-long
series of exhibitions that explore the role of networked technologies
in transcultural experience). From May – August 2005, La Manga will
head to Japan for a residency at the Kyoto Arts Center and performances
at The Art Theater Dance Box in Osaka.
For more information about La Manga, please visit the company's website