Juliana Reyes returns to Madrid with the production The look of the ostrich – Art and Theater – Culture

Violence made art. Displacement expressed through body movements. Threatened beings who keep to themselves and hide their gaze like an ostrich when it buries its head in the ground. The dance of uprooting speaks in Spain of despair in Colombia.

And it does so, in effect, through the work ‘The look of the ostrich’, by Juliana Reyes and Tino Fernández (deceased), which is presented at Las Naves del Español in Matadero, in Madrid.

People express themselves through dance; thus they unleash their anger and their sadness because they have no other way to do it. They talk to the body. Speechless. This was the idea that led Fernández, in charge of the choreography, and Reyes, of the dramaturgy, to create this work that now crosses the border.

A team of thirteen people traveled to Spain to discuss the serious problem of displacementbeyond press news, statistical figures.

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The performers are Sara Regina Fonseca, Ángela Bello, Luisa Camacho, Vanessa Henríquez, Diana Salamanca, René Arriaga, Wilman Romero, Ángel Ávila and Yeison Fuquene. Humberto Hernández was in charge of lighting design.

EL TIEMPO spoke in Madrid with the Colombian playwright Juliana Reyes on the vessels that underlie this beautiful and moving montage.

The look of the ostrich, by Juliana Reyes.

What is the genesis of this proposal?

It is a work that is twenty years old. We set it up in 2002. It’s about displacement in Colombia, which at that time was a very hot topic. Time has passed and what is tremendous is that, despite everything that has happened in Colombia, the work is still valid. It is a piece that has moved to many places. Here in Spain, a few years ago, it won the award for Best Show at the Huesca International Fair, and in Portugal, the Audience Award at the Almada Festival. We made it thinking a lot about Colombia and then, by taking it to other places. We have found that it also speaks to other countries that have suffered a problem with displacement similar in some way to ours.

Have you noticed any difference in the way you are received in Colombia and how it is understood abroad?

I was surprised that when we did the work I thought it had too many of our references, but later we found out that it wasn’t, that it’s also very universal. That has shocked me. There are other jobs in which we do notice a difference in the way it is received in different places, but not this one. The only difference is that in Colombia people get much more excited. There is something there that is very broken; We have a pain saved. But for the rest, the reaction is very similar in the different places where we have presented it.

Juliana Reyes

Work ‘The look of the ostrich’

How is the operational logistics to “import” a Colombian work in Spain?

I came several days before and we rehearsed through digital platforms. Thirteen people traveled because the assembly requires a lot of pre-production. The entire stage is made of land, which represents the Colombian conflict; These two elements are closely related: land ownership, having to leave the land. The beauty of our country is in the land, but there is also a great part of the conflict.

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How do you define the work?

I think that rarely in life does one, as a creator, have the opportunity to make a classic. That happened to us with this work. It is a very round show, very essential. It is a great luck that this ever happens because you can spend an artistic career in which it never happens. Everything came together. It is a very intimate and very personal work, but at the same time it is very universal.

We put it together Tino Fernández and I. Tino was a choreographer I worked with for 23 years and he passed away in 2020, before the pandemic. He was Spanish, Asturian, and after living a few years in Paris he went to Colombia, where he became a national.

Bringing it here and presenting it in a theater like El Español is very special for all of us because allows us to pay tribute to him. Together we did more than 32 shows. It was a shared life on a creative level, and it was in this work that language as a pair appeared with greater force.

Just before Tino died we had opened a company here to move work and it was up in the air when he passed away. I am taking it up again and I want to extend a cultural, active bridge, through which many artists can travel. For this, the two platforms that we created with him would help, L’Explose Danza, in Colombia, and Opsis Producciones, in Spain. Therefore, I am now moving between the two countries.

Juliana Reyes

Work ‘The look of the ostrich’

What does it feel like to return to a known country, since you studied in Spain…?

Yes, I advanced my career at the Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático in Madrid. I trained as an actress, but I have practiced little in that field. The first show I did was here, with a Spanish director, and it was about dance. Then I went back to Colombia and met Tino, with whom I started working. My career was linked to dance without having trained in it. I didn’t choose her, but she did choose me.

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