Newton Moraes and the challenge of our times
Gloria Blizzard is a freelance writer
Artistic director and choreographer, Newton Moraes, is a master storyteller. In his latest work Wired Love, he weaves movement, voice, lighting and soundscape into a tale that explores our relationship with technology, specifically, our appendage-like cell phones.
In this poignant commentary on our modern struggle, the dancers are initially unable to make a physical or an emotional connection with each other, filming the suffering of another or remaining engaged with their separate screens. They alternate between their separate solitudes and moments of human contact.
The ensemble of five highly skilled dancers from diverse in backgrounds, move fluidly between ballet, contemporary dance, hip hop, Japanese Butoh, Indigenous Brazilian Xavante dance and sign language. An unconventional pas de deux references the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira. The dancers also reference the characteristic movements of Orixas, the gods and goddesses in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. This multitude of cultural movement vocabularies results in an hour long work that is epic in scope.
It is also full of insight and humour. “I’m doing a show,” one of the dancers says to his grandma as he video calls her from the stage in mid-performance. The other dancers all gather around to wave to the grandma in his phone. The audience laughs and yet is left to wonder if this an appropriate time for connection.
The piece includes a powerful soundscape that ranges from soaring operatic voices, to Afro-Brazil rhythms. At times, a loud machine-like drone allows the audience to experience through sound vibrations, a sense of technology’s threat.
Despite the show’s stark commentary, Moraes’ vision also reveals opportunities for us to gather and connect using technology to recreate the community fires of the past.
Wired Love is an elegant and compelling treatise on our times explored through the grace and power of dance.
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