Unseen was a collaboration between Anderson Carvalho Dance & Choregraphy and MindLeaps Rwanda, commissioned for the 2023 edition of the Ubumunt Arts Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. It is a short standalone work which tells the personal stories of the dancers, who have overcome trauma, pain, heartbreak, and daily struggles to create art, support their families, and bring love and joy into the world. The soundtrack is a combination of voice memos from the dancers, recorded woodwinds, and orchestral libraries which weave together a compelling narrative and draw the performance to a climactic close.
"The work is a reflection on the intimate relation of the body with its memories embedded in the skin and in the physical spaces. The work is inspired by true story, the memories of everyday life and is a reflection on the works of philosophers such as Gaston Bachelard, Zygmunt Bauman, Bertolt Brecht, notion of exploration of life experience, relationship, memories, home, and the experience of space. "...the house is the human’s first universe, which integrates thoughts, memories and desires that collects and contains past, present and future” - Bachelard. ‘The Intimacy of the Skin’ is a passionate choreographic journey through memories and experience of space, integrating thoughts, desires and beliefs. It offers a fascinating exploration of the many ways in which our skin shapes our lives, experiences and our relationships with others. From the sensory experiences of touch to the social and historical meanings of skin color, Carvalho invites the audience to reflect on the complex and multifaceted nature of our most visible and intimate organ.
Co-creation with dancers allows for a more authentic and inclusive representation of diverse experiences and perspectives. It’s a transformative process that can lead to some of the most powerful and memorable creative process and performance. It requires a willingness to let go of control and embrace the unknown, trust, and openness to experiment and take risks. The result is a work of art that is truly collaborative and reflective of the collective creative energy of the entire team. Through this process of collaboration, the dancers become co-creators of the piece. They are given the opportunity to contribute their own movement vocabulary, explore their own physicality, and express their own artistic vision.
In ‘The Intimacy of the Skin’ you will witness a mixture of unparalleled expression, a multilayered movement language, mesmerizing performers, astonish technique, incredible original score, and above all, the authenticity of each artist."
-Anderson Carvalho, choreographer
A word from Adam:
After working with Anderson last year on our first project together When I Left the Room, this new project Intimacy of the Skin offered us a chance to integrate the music and sound design even deeper into the narrative of the performance. From the beginning, Anderson brought me into the research process to understand where the performance is coming from. In addition to reading some of the same source material Anderson read to create this project, I’ve also been exploring new ways of creating music with his guidance.
The seed for the first sketch I wrote was entirely Anderson’s idea, and it was very intuitive and natural to create. The approach was simple: 1) record myself reflecting on and talking about my past, 2) create an illustration while thinking about what I just talked about, and 3) improvise a piece of music on my saxophone while reflecting further. These three creations gave me the building blocks to create a very personal piece of music, and it gave Anderson a visual component to add to the performance in the form of my drawing. They all came from a very intimate place within me, and this is what the performance is all about. Once those pieces were there, I spent a lot of time breaking them down and reorganizing them into something totally new, combining the voice memo with the improvisation.
As with the other pieces in the project, the improvisatory nature of the music keeps everything honest, intimate, and in the moment. Through this work I’ve been able to explore new techniques of audio manipulation, sampling, and audio-visual storytelling I’ve never tried before, and I’m very excited to see the performance come together with the dancers.
Read more about Intimacy of the Skin and Anderson Carvalho Dance & Choreography here.
You can listen to the full soundtrack for Intimacy of the Skin on all music streaming sites here
"In tandem with the dance and filmic constituents of Intimacy of the Skin, there is a stirring soundtrack of music, by Adam Claussen who was on board from the start of the project. Claussen worked with sounds and refrains from recordings made during rehearsals (voices, buzz of a mobile phone in a pocket) and from notes and drawings made by the dancers. We see for instance drawings, with scribbles of mapping – “bathroom, piano, office.” We hear in the voice over: “Stop. Go. Breathe in. Repeat. Skin. Skies… waves… surrender… no words…no place- just skin.” When skin transcends colour, geography, ideology, origin story- then what? As we touch and truly connect, there are no words as we find our intimacies – even if it is fleeting. The layering of visuals and sound heightens the narrative of Intimacy of Skin and the tensions and resolutions within the group as a whole and the individual within that group. We hear snippets of memories from the company, cantilevered onto Claussen’s waves of sound."
-Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn
“When I Left the Room” is a research dance performance of bodies that acknowledge their interdependency. A reflection on identity, culture, and human relationships. Inside a “room” the bodies negotiate possibilities of being in togetherness and physically experimenting, exploring notions of adaptation, agency, and connectedness. Intensively physical, playing out on/in shifting spaces, boxes, rooms. The work is interested in how we understand and perceive the world around us and how it impacts on our relationships, given one’s constantly changing point in space/time. A movement exploration and translation of today's internal, social, and relational conflicts on human bonds in a modern society, where human bonds have become light and loose.
-Anderson Carvalho, choreographer
Read more about When I Left the Room and Anderson Carvalho Dance & Choreography here.
The original score for When I Left the Room was released as an EP on July 7th, 2023. You can listen to it here.
“Thought provoking. Forward thinking…” - Outline dance
"The choreography is potent. The dancers are fabulous. The muted palette of costumes lends itself to the body being the primary mode of expression. With Faheem Bardien’s lighting design (always exceptional to see this lighting artist at work) and the original sound composition by Adam Claussen, When I Left the Room is an exciting new piece of dance theatre."
-Robyn Cohen, The Cape Robyn
The various dance scenes in the documentary De Hemelse Bloem were choreographed by Thu Hang Pham in collaboration with the film's director Tessa van der Riet. Filmed at the Museum of Humanity in Zaandam, the dancers performed the choreography over several takes to a mix of original and temporary music, all of which was adapted in post-production to fit the needs of the film, some of which were set in slow motion shots. The final scene in the film showcasing the full cast of dancers was however performed naturally with the soundtrack already near its final form, and can be heard below:
To read more about the soundtrack of De Hemelse Bloem, click here.