FC: Capturing the Fleeting Light of Movement Delphy Vaznaugh: Professional Portfolio
1: Paul Klee, Exercise, 1938.
2: Delfa Gilly my mother | Atilio Malvagni my father
3: Introduction This book is about my professional career from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is based on the joy, discipline and élan I experienced in my early years in Buenos Aires, when a sea of displaced immigrants from Europe reached our shores. As children we never knew the sagas that brought them to our land. Innocently, we believed they just came to play with us. I was exposed to the radical changes in European aesthetic forms from the Bauhaus to Gestalt theories, enveloped in classical music and avant-garde attempts at experimenting with contemporary synthetic sounds. In the field of dance, patterns were broken, leaving behind the ethnocentricity of ballet and incorporating the shades of effort, action, rhythms and impulse of different ethnic groups. Modern themes were introduced: movement from agricultural and industrial production appeared in contemporary ballet and dance productions. The theories of Rudolf Laban permeated the philosophical and constructive theories of dancers and choreographers. During the 1970s, the influence of new concepts of humankind that changed the position of women and children in the human spectrum provoked even more aesthetic changes in the field of art. Emotion was out the window, and the sheer pleasure of form and structure available to a human body – its three-dimensional ability to play with perspectives, dimension, light and darkness – promoted the idea that the contradictions of life were capable of melding with the environment and relieved from old sentiment, allowing for fresh interaction with unnameable motifs. All of these were a huge departure from former philosophical and political conventions at large. It was in this environment and with this background that I developed my method of approaching movement, arriving at the sense that the essence of the work was abstract motion in space, in time, in energy, in forms and in content which can never be expressed in words. In the 1980s during my graduate studies at the American University in Washington, DC, I revisited these notions with different age groups (children, adolescents, young adults, mature adults, and the older population) at the university level of research as well as at the most grassroots community level. Later on, my explorations expanded to different countries: US, France, Argentina, Canada, and Brazil. The following are my musings on these life themes for those I encounter on my never-ending travels through time and space.
4: Renate Schottelius Dance Company Renate was a cradle for aesthetic experience for acquiring discipline for sustaining professional commitments Renate provided a refuge for believing in your growth as an artist and created an elan for delight 'in your own work | Opera Teatro Colón Buenos Aires 1956 program
5: I grew up in an Argentina that was the 6th richest country in the world. The ravages of the 1929 market crash were softened by the status of Argentina as a neutral country that could deliver goods to any war zone in Europe during WWII, leading to economic boom. Culturally, Buenos Aires was a center for abundant, ingenious collaborations and a nexus for the arts. The generation of my grandfather traveled often between Europe and Argentina as performing artists. | My acting grandfather, Antonino Malvagni, Director of the Banda Sinfonica of Buenos Aires. | I never in my life thought that I would want to be anywhere else. Having come to the US on an eight-week student visa, it was a total surprise that I ended up staying for 60 years.
7: Conceptual and Creative Work Working through the lifespan, I developed programs for a variety of ages and abilities from early childhood to college students to older adults. | Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10, Plus and Minus, 1915.
8: Like birds learning to leave a nest, motion invites us to fly near familiar surroundings and risk for the first time exploring expanded concepts of space. | Montessori School in Cambridge | Montessori preschool, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970
9: Self and the other, teacher and me, finally we get to the stage where the mirror reflects our image as the center of identity. | Radcliffe kindergarten, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970
10: Heights and depths, expanding and reaching... | sharing fantasies of storytime...
11: Afterschool programs for 1st to 3rd grades, Cleveland Park, Washington, DC,1968 | feeling affect and naming sentiment through your own interpretation.
13: Our bodies can create shape, and the combinations with time and space are infinite. This pure, physical material can be shared with the spirit of searching for the unnameable as we enter adolescence and its risks in adventure and sentiment. | Riverdale Country School for Girls, Riverdale, NY, 1962
14: Sweet Briar College is a liberal arts women's college in Virginia. My classes were imbued with Martha Graham techniques and my inspiring period as a visitor to Juilliard School of Music. | Pictures taken from Sweet Briar Yearbook.
15: Dance Department, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia, 1960
16: Experimenting in motion with others, we joined forces with the peace movement through community expression. | Degrees obtained, jobs acquired; however, the consciousness of crisis in ethical values gave an urgency to transform interaction, with the haptic sense as a guide for explorations.
17: By improvisation with one or more members, exchanging information through haptic experience, and exploration of form, rhythm, quality of movement, we arrived at experiences that our spirit could not verbally enunciate. | Juan Gris, Still Life, 1912. (background) | The pervasive images of our presence in Vietnam provided the impetus for us to show our distress by demonstrating through street theater all over Washington, DC. | Motion Laboratory, Washington, DC, 1970
18: Our house in Brasilia was the center for extracurricular activities in theater. I trained a group of seven performers who doubled as puppeteers, portraying classic and new pieces as well as new dialogs inspired by Brazilian concerns.
19: Children's theater: training the actors, Brasilia, Brazil, 1972 | Dealing with doubts about their future careers, the puppet theater was a centrifugal force to feel valuable for the community and to explore the thematic content of Brazilian literature.
20: The project offered respite to working class retired seniors living in hospital facilities. Entering the castle for the first time, we looked forward to living in 19th century style. We were served what the orchard offered us and observed the rituals of meals like in the old times.
21: Aging as a stage of emotional development appeared in the horizon of academic studies, and a new phase in my work included students of the older generation. Working as a consultant in arts and gerontology, I developed programs on human movement, the haptic sense, identity, and the aging process. Supported and inspired by other colleagues in France, Washington, DC, and Quebec, I followed the premise that aesthetic values upgrade the awareness of everyday life and allow for a richer use of perception and higher level of functional capacity. | France, US, and Canada: Exploration in Aging Projects for the Community
22: Working on a team basis, we explored the integration of the haptic sense in inter-generational relations. The castle setting inspired our imagination and reshaped our relationship with spatial dimensions and interaction with others. Evoking the fantasy of childhood, we created a shift in relating to ordinary life.
23: The project was done in collaboration with Catherine Simard, a clinical psychologist, based on her gerontology experience in France and Quebec. | 9-year-old Hedwige illuminated our days with her gracious innocence and expansive vitality.
24: These sessions on health and movement provided a field experience for medical students on the aging process. They involved interdisciplinary studies on aging and motion for inner vitality and social empowerment. | Community project for George Washington University Gerontology Program (1980)
25: Moving with fluidity, we experience the non-verbal, the core of affect that is the path of changed potential. Transforming perceptions into verbal experience expands spatial consciousness.
27: Quebec - College Marie Victorin. Motion and aging class, English language division.
29: In retrospect... History and cultural values made a distinct indentation in the quality and texture, timing, and planning in programs for aging adults, surprisingly different in each nation. The project in France had an emphasis on emotional health and balance, including revisiting the times of WWII. The program in the US had an emphasis on health and community ties. The Canadian project was serving professionals on the way to retirement.
30: Laban Diagrams for Choreographic Analysis
31: Choreographies | I knew the future in my dance world would be to create spaces large and small, to feel bodies under gravity or levity, to search for balance in an ever-changing tremor, to link vital forces in a continuous flow, and to relate in one effort to pulse, sight, sound, touch, energy, whether in the immensity of space or the narrowness of tunnels. My explorations led me to reach children, adolescents, younger and older adults, in cross-cultural contexts that included the meaning and values of a non-verbal language, grounded in the rich international offerings I received through a large spectrum of training.
32: "I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves...Curves make up the entire Universe..." - Oscar Niemeyer, architect of Catedral de Brasilia | With a key in my hands, I enter the dark, magnificent space, trying to extract the meaning of this new conception of architecture.
33: This was a project for the Departments of Architecture, Music, and Dance and Theater at the University of Brasilia. Music for the choreography was provided by Professor Conrado Silva, Department of Music, University of Brasilia and supported by 30 voices under the direction of Emilio de Carvalho. from the same department. | Niemeyer's Cathedral, my project with the Department of Music, University of Brasilia, Brazil, 1972
34: Walking in the streets of Buenos Aires, Astor and I said hello and before we knew it, we were planning a performance at the University of Buenos Aires.
35: Astor Piazzolla was an emerging musician unknown to the Dean of the university, who requested canceling his performance because "popular music doesn't have a place in higher education." But the performance happened anyway, and Astor's Octet of fabulous musicians provided the musical component of the collaboration with my choreography. | Astor Piazzolla's Quintet (bandoneon, violin, bass, piano, and accordion). | Francis Picabia, Procession in Seville, 1912. (opposite) | "My City", my project with Astor Piazzolla at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1959
36: Let the wind rush crowned with foam, let it call to me and seek me galloping in the shadow, while I, sunk beneath your eyes, just for this night shall rest, my love. -Pablo Neruda | My choreography had two components: integration of older adults reading poetry and younger dancers exploring pendulums and gravity using hammocks as a base point for the choreographic impetus. | Andre Masson, Children Eating a Fish, 1928.
37: The project was done in collaboration with Margit Smith, an ethno-musicologist who lived, worked, and studied for 15 years in Africa and Asia, including extensive study of the Mande tradition of West Africa. She served on the faculty of the Mozarteum in Salzburg and also taught in universities in the U.S. Delphy and Margit met while working on graduate studies at the American University in Washington, DC. | Structuring the Project The tempo and rhythm of the poems and their melodic phrasing provided Margit with material to create a score of unusual sounds with metal and chords, crystals and bells, streets organs, pipes, and stringed instruments from Korea and Japan. The sound structure created the pattern for embracing gravity, pendulums, and levity as motion components. | 20 Poems and 4 Hammocks, the Singers' Studio, Georgetown, Washington, DC, 1978
39: Gala was an adventure in bilingual theater. We had the unusual support of a well-educated international community in Washington, DC who ventured into the Adams Morgan area during the critical period between urban abandonment and renaissance into a new splendor. Each theater piece was performed in English and Spanish. The performances were highly supported by the Spanish Department of Georgetown University. I was responsible for a teaching component for children and adults and collaborated with the community across social stratas. I choreographed televised intergenerational programs with dances and poems on Latin American traditions. | Gala Hispanic Theater, Washington, DC, 1970
40: Consulting for federal institutions included: * National Endowment for the Arts * Department of the Interior * White House Conference on the Aging | Arts Consulting | * evaluation of community arts centers (Expansion Arts) * evaluation of dance companies requesting funding * evaluation of quality arts in nursing homes | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | * | Map Symbols: Red star: 1) community arts centers 2) evaluations of dance companies 3) quality arts in nursing homes Green star: ttarget cities for artists in the parks
41: Artists in the Parks This program sought to share funding for park projects in six cities nationwide by including professional artists on an everyday basis. | Cities involved: -Oakland, CA -New Brunswick, NJ -Winston-Salem, NC -Albuquerque, NM -Detroit, MI -St. Louis, MO
42: Dance in America was a program I conceived of for the cultural branch of the American Embassy in Brazil. It contained films, programs of study, performances, and lectures on contemporary dance uniquely developed in the US.
43: We covered Brazil from the North to the South and presented at significant dance studios. The techniques of Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais, the Feldenkrais system, and the Pilates approach were being researched, giving support to a new wave of exploration in aesthetics. | Dance in America, a program of the American Embassy of Brazil, 1973
44: The contents of my career were markedly influenced by Professors Catherine Simard and Nelson St Gelais, the Gerontology Program of College Marie Victorin; Dr. Madeleine Lord, University of Montreal; Dr. Michael Creedon, The Catholic University of America; Dr. Nona Boren, Gerontology Program, George Washington University; Dr. Nancy Johnson, Department of Human Kinetics, George Washington University; the Cultural Department of the US Embassy in Brazil; and my beloved teacher Renate Schottelius, Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am also grateful to so many colleagues, master teachers, and friends who have accompanied me in my professional development. | Dedication For the touching affection of my families: for the wisdom of my father, the understanding support of Marcos Kaplan's family, and the steadfast support of Fred Vaznaugh and our children Adriana and Richard. | Acknowledgments | This book could not have been conceived without the technical ability and editorial counseling of my assistant, Aline Prentice, firstname.lastname@example.org.
45: Cornelia Parker, Anti-Mass, 2005 | There is no art without discipline without the play of dark and light without the sense of vulnerability without the fear of incompletion without the anxiety of the stage There is no applause without transcendence without moving beyond the confines of the ego. No resonance without daring to leave your demons and doubts. -Delphy Vaznaugh