THE AZORES PREMIERE & WORKSHOP SERIES
My company, Rocha Dance Theater, recently participated in its first international performance and workshop series in Sao Miguel, Azores and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!!! I, along with my husband/composer, Joseph Rivas and company members Jillian Hollis and Courtney Drasner, were part of this wonderful opportunity. My parents also traveled to attend the company performance and to enjoy their yearly vacation in their homeland.
It has always been a dream of mine to perform my work and to share my teaching practice with the Azorean community. My family lived in Sao Miguel until the early 1970’s when they immigrated over to New Bedford, MA. I grew up in a city that was populated by mostly Azorean people so I was immersed in both american and portuguese traditions and culture. I felt at home during this trip, recognizing food such as lapas/limpets, sardines, tremocos/lupini beans, bacalhau/cod, favas, and a popular cheese called “queijo da ilha” from Sao Jorge. I ate a lot of cheese. Also familiar was the socializing on stoops and sidewalks, the stone walls and structures that resemble my own father’s work here in America (he is a stone mason), the unique azorean accent and more.
It was so wonderful to exchange dance with a place and community that I love dearly. Here is a recap of our amazing week!
Day 1: The venue!
Here we are at Teatro Ribeiragrandense, located in the town, Ribeira Grande. This is where we performed and also where I taught the student workshops. We met with the director Andre Raposa to discuss the weeks schedule and workshops. Look! It’s our poster!
NEXT: The Workshop Series begins!
This group was energetic, passionate and so much fun to work with. They were natural performers with an authenticity that blew me away. Thank you Belarmina, Ana Rita, Marina, Julia, Rita, Catia, Leanor and Carolina. I put my portuguese to the test during class…I heard some giggles as I struggled with conjugating verbs and pronunciation. Thank you dancers for helping me out. We definitely exchanged dance and language! I’m determined to be more fluent now! Here are some shots from class.
Jillian & Courtney arrive!
Tech rehearsal with the crew!
Andre Raposa, the director of Teatro Ribeiragrandense, was also the lighting designer for Battledress. His beautiful lighting really brought Battledress to another level, complimenting the costume designs and music perfectly. Joe (the amazing composer) was the sound operator and also handled the video documentation of the show. Here are some pics of our tech rehearsal in the theater!
It was a full house and the performance was everything I imagined and more. The students, the company and the crew did such an amazing job! It was a truly magical evening. Thank you Joe for the beautiful music score and tech work, Jillian and Courtney for your highly skilled performance, Andre for the dreamy lighting design, the students for their incredible passion and spirit, my parents for being the best fans ever and the Azorean arts community that attended the show. Also, thanks to Kelly Olshan for assisting me on this project, The US Embassy in Lisbon for the Innovation grant and all our fans who contributed to our fundraising campaign.