ELISA OHTAKE

TAKE MY BREATH AWAY

Tira Meu Fôlego (Take My Breath Away) is a performance by five contemporary dancers, each with a very original work in São Paulo, whom director Elisa Ohtake challenged to conduct a thorough study of vitality. To this end, the director created an absurd, exhausting, poker face and taxing strategy to contemporary dancers for whom emotion is not a common start point on dance investigation: dancing, each dancer must give proof that he/she is in love. Furthermore, dancers have to expose themselves verbally to reach the proposed target, often acting in ways that they find strange themselves. It’s a struggle between irony and do it for real, between our daily 'blasé' attitudes and absolute excitement. The dancers experience their own inadequacies, they move in and out of tune. It is a general challenge. See below the text published in the event’s program, with the deepening of the proposed issues.

“In Take My Breath Away", we shall attempt an extreme investigation into vitality in close proximity to pain, death, risk and celebration. In this performance we shall place ourselves in a situation of passion, the utmost instance of vitality: the most drastic situation of all, perhaps, from which escape is hardly possible. But how can there be an extreme discussion of passion when capitalism has precisely captured it through its cult of total emotions, intense exploitation of sensational sensations, fright and freshness? How can passion be investigated in the body when continuous marketing-produced emotion/ excitement has increasingly become a requirement for being in this world? When this has become default behavior, the measure for acting and perceiving? How can we do an extreme investigation of a vitality that borders on pain, risk, libido, and merrymaking? We shall push the subject and see what happens. Even if we have to mix everything up, or desperately alternate between passion in the vital sense of the word and the mere spectacularization of emotions.

On the level of a metalinguistic description of the same performance, today we are going to indulge a sadistic curiosity. Take contemporary dancers for whom emotion is not a common start point on dance investigation, for whom the powerful and well received approach to dance as thinking-body is crucial. Now we ask: what happens they tackle typical modern dance issues while having to "dance passionately"? What happens when they are suddenly required to express their innermost emotions with the utmost force and dignity? How will these completely different views of dance be organized in their bodies? Which bodily dramaturgies can be actualized?

Referencing the same performance in neurophysiological terms, we could say that today we shall tackle the challenge of corporeally discussing – in the most chemical sense possible – the relation between dance, emotion and sentiment, or between dance and altered states of the body and the brain structures that chart the body and underpin thought.”

Elisa Ohtake

Credits
Conception, direction, creation, dramaturgy: Elisa Ohtake
Performance and creation: Cristian Duarte, Eduardo Fukushima, Raul Rachou, Rodrigo Andreolli, Sheila Ribeiro, Elisa Ohtake
Set design, lighting and sound: Elisa Ohtake
Lighting and sound operator: Jeff Campos
Set building: Cesar Resende
Production: Stella Marini Púrpura Produções Artísticas
Photos: João Caldas

Reviews

Take My Breath Away is absolutely smart, united group, harmonic, delicious text and extraordinary concept, anti-everything, anti-virtuose, anti-expressive, excellent humor, brilliant.”
Agnaldo Farias, curador of 23rd Sao Paulo Bienal

Take My Breath Away delivers what it promises: it is hard not to be in a breath-taking state of awe that is brought about by the viewing of scenes, one more exciting than the other. Elisa Ohtake and her amazing team of five assistants produce a gleaming sequence of awesome, fun, and provocative propositions. If it were necessary to identify them, the tag would be “displacement”, given their resulting from a legitimate present-day production. Ohtake’s performances bring together a bit of theater, pop world, visual arts, one-man show, standup comedy, all cooked in a broth of established references and, of course, dance. Matters pertaining to the performing arts are all there, lined up and smiling to / laughing at us: authoring, collaboration, representation, narrative, presence, crowd, expressiveness, things that separate modern from contemporary, biography, relationship between warm-up exercises and performance, etc."
Helena Katz - “O Estado de S. Paulo”

Video

https://vimeo.com/91663175