marcela levi


Laura Erber
Rio de Janeiro
March 2015

"We're not riding our own body"
On Mordedores by Marcela Levi and Lucía Russo

In 2014 Marcela Levi e Lucia Russo started a lengthy process that required the collaborative participation of young performers in a research on violence, understood and experimented beyond its immediate connotations of annihilation, death and destruction. In opposition to the public imaginary - not to mention the cultural and social policies aimed at pacifying violence by the (equally and obviously violent) means of doping and exhausting energy, all this carried out in the name of edifying harmony - Marcela Levi and Lucia Russo use the energy of violence to trigger a spiral of forces in tension. In contrast to the sheltered and aseptic bodies of today, in their desperate search for a self-protecting fortress wrapped in cosmetic fancy-dress, they counter-propose a permeable, more plastic body that can burst, dirty and get dirty, think and get thought, bite and get bitten.

Such a stance has enabled the directors and the performers to articulate their bodies pitilessly and at the same time with a precision that is delicate, the result of the fragile balance of the involved relations and affects.

This is not a question of returning to the violence of myth, which purifies and redeems, but rather of accepting violence as something that is part of us and extirpate its creative, anti-determinist, dirty dimension; no longer to seek causes or understand, but rather to incorporate in another context - bodies in contact - the effects, gestures and rhythms undertaken by this force. What is usually feared and evaded, always presupposing violence that is exterior to the body or to life, begins to function as vital energy. Also, as a result, the violence expressed in this way perhaps conveys a shadow of eroticism, with the biting performers suggesting an erotic current running through their bodies.

The tremble dance - imitating the body shaking when a marksman fires his gun - and the relation between hunger and the laughter of hyenas plotted the research and motivated experiments. From the bodies on stage, as if from some abandoned cave, emerge improbable sounds that reverberate in the spectator. More than visual - and in this sense the production differs from the last two projects signed by Levi and Russo - Mordedores is extremely epidermic, tactile and vibratory. Its plasticity is more apparent in the redness of the sweating, extenuated bodies than in its choreographic or spatial setting.

Most of the dancers want to be horsemen, and that is a problem that our work sets for the body. We're not riding our own body: we are the horse...
More interesting are the bodies (re)moved by invisibilities; our dance convokes these bodies annoyed by their own image and contours... There is something here reminds us of science fiction, cartoons, certain dreams. (...)

(Levi & Russo)

For us the project is part of the search for a dance of bodies attached to the outside, bodies diverted (in joyful joint diversion)... This is where we are moved by Bjork singing "Violently happy", the split I of Rimbaud or Nijinsky writing in his diary that "We are rhythms. Meaning is always located on the boundary, face to face with the proliferating wave of difference. There are no identities, only rhythms."
(Levi & Russo)

On the other hand, the project takes on the risk of the interminable and the unfinished when the directors prevent the dancers, after months of rehearsing and a season performing on stage, from enjoying the comfort and stability of form. Once they have reached a certain plastic dynamic and rhythmical structure, Levi and Russo go on to propose workshops in which other performers momentarily join the original cast that appears in Mordedores. In this way, bodies strange to the project and its modus operandi begin to contaminate it by re-opening the group's exploration of a new plastic rhythm.

In the endless game of biting and being bitten, jaws seek a balance between the metaphoric and the literal, avoiding both the obscene spectacle of exposed wounds and torn-off flesh, and the false gesture of a bite that causes no intense effect on the foreign body. This shows the fragility of form, turning degradation into vitality, the vitality of dirty contact with other sweaty, red bodies.<