In a four-week research residency in August 2020 at Uferstudios, Rita Mazza approached contemporary dance from a Deaf perspective. Working with hearing dancers and choreographers, as well as Deaf Visual Vernacular performers, Rita Mazza researched “visual sign performance” as an interface of visual language and dance. The research was the foundation for her first solo work DANDELION II, which was created in the co-production that followed the residency.
Co-production – DANDELION II
After the work residency in summer 2020, Rita Mazza premiered their resulting solo work DANDELION II on July 8 in a digital live stream (due to the pandemic situation) at Sophiensaele.
Viewing the stage as a playground, Rita Mazza explores the combination of dance and sign language, creating a new form of visual poetry. They link rules of sign language such as hand shapes, facial expressions and everyday movements with movement studies by Laban, with ballet and Visual Vernacular – an art form of sign language that is very popular in the Deaf community. Some moments of the solo performance are also inspired by works of Deaf poets of the 1980s, including Clayton Valli’s Dandelion and Robert Panara’s poem On his Deafness. DANDELION II is Rita Mazza’s first full-length solo. Selected for Tanztage 2022, Rita Mazza additionally performed DANDELION II live in front of an audience on two evenings in January 2022.
Concept, Choreography, Performance Rita Mazza Lighting Design Raquel Rosildete
A production by Rita Mazza in co-production with Making a Difference: SOPHIENSÆLE, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Uferstudios, tanzfähig, Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin, TanzZeit, Diversity.Arts.Culture and Zeitgenössischer Tanz Berlin. Supported by TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, co-financing fund.
Photos: Mayra Wallraff