Common Dreams (Provisional title) is an interdisciplinary piece that results from a reflection on dreams. Dreams, a subject that is so unique to each person, yet so enigmatic in itself. I was interested in thinking about whether there are recurring dreams in a large number of people. Who hasn’t dreamt of falling into the void? Who hasn’t dreamt of flying? Who hasn’t dreamt of being chased? Do you remember your dreams? Have you ever known inside the dream that you were dreaming? Can dreams solve problems? Can we communicate with animals or our ancestors in our dreams? Can dreams see into the future? Can we dream the same dream?
At first glance, Common Dreams is a sensory show, with compositions and sound environment by João Polido, the vocal trio Guarda-Rios (made up of João Neves, Mariana Camacho and Susana Nunes) and two dancers, myself, Ana Rita T, and Joana Gomes. The two dancers are accompanied by a group of ten dancers (professionals and amateurs) who produce circular shapes and streamers in a spatial choreography. The two dancers will have the task of standing out from the “serpentine” choreography to develop unique dances, full of details. The vocal trio and the sound environment support an imaginary plot that converges the dances and the choreography towards the same meaning, which is poetic, non-linear and based on dream elements that are perhaps common to a large number of people.
The Common Dreams project is linked to an interest in translating dance into words, or in finding ways to communicate a dance, or to compose a dance through words. This interest led me to work on audiodescription in dance (AD). This piece seeks to be inclusive for a blind or low-vision audience, not by giving an oral description of the events afterwards, as AD proposes, but by thinking of it as a show that is accessible from the very start. Blind dancer Joana Gomes will contribute to this objective because of her condition.
Thinking that the description of a dance has something similar to a dream, because both produce mental and sensory images that are difficult to translate into words, we propose taking the visual out of the hierarchy of the senses, the visual as proof of the real, and creating a poetic and sensory plot, accessible and concrete in the imaginary of the dream, with which everyone can identify.
I intend to work in five stages:
The first stage consists of listening to and recording different people’s descriptions of their dreams. These recordings are sound material for João Polido to compose, and also complement the work of composing the dances by Ana Rita T and Joana Gomes.
To guide me in collecting dreams, I was particularly inspired by the reflections of Tobie Nathan, a French psychologist, teacher and writer with a great deal of work in ethnopsychology. His book “La Nouvelle Interprétation des Rêves” (2013) – The New Interpretation of Dreams – is a clear proposal against dream symbolism, which assigns fixed meanings that could be used by anyone. Dreams are a singular matter, but because we live in a community and share common concerns and desires, dreams also bring us closer together. Based on his book, I’ve highlighted the following categories that will serve as a guide to build this collection of dreams and that will serve as the basis for the play’s plot:
. Losing footing, falling asleep, falling.
. Sequence of images – crossings.
. Not finding something, losing something.
. The nightmare, the scream that wakes you up.
. Sex and pleasure.
. Role reversal, the little guy who becomes big, the horse that leads its rider.
. Dreams of lack, dreams of excess, dreams of fear and dreams of hope.
. Dreams that invent new proposals, solutions to problems.
. Death or the dead.
. The dream as an outline of the next day.
Based on these audio collections and the categories of dreams described above, the dancer Joana Gomes and I will work on dances. Solo dances, composed with the singularity and imagination of each one of us, dances that begin and end as if they were following a song. The process of composition involves rewriting the dance we’ve done before until it is what we intuitively consider to be fair and interesting for the choreography as a whole. This “rewriting” is as much choreographic, returning to dance with the idea of composing, as it is textual, i.e. describing with words the events and feelings experienced, in a balance between what “I feel” and what “I do”.
This stage will give rise to a set of dances that are described on paper, like a score-poem. A mixture of inner monologue and a concrete description of movement and gestures.
With these score-poems I will work together with the vocal trio Guarda-Rios to compose songs that give text and imagery to the dance and choreography. The songs will probably not be composed with the entire text of the score-poem, but with a basis that gives an understanding of the “heart” of the dance and the intentions relevant to the category of the dream.
A global choreography.
This is a stage of choreographic composition, where I design the choreography for the group of ten dancers (amateurs or professionals) who are integrated into the dances of the two dancers.This work is done in parallel but together with João Polido, so that we can unite sound and movement in the overall sense of the piece.This stage is initially done on paper and then with the group of 10 dancers.
Image description: Free drawing to exemplify the serpentine movement of the 10 dancers.
Getting our hands dirty.
Bringing all the elements together in the same space – dance, sound environment, vocal trio and choreography for 10 dancers. Adjust and enjoy.