I make dances with a rage and desire called utopia.
Within my process there lies the fantasy of erasing hierarchical power structures to allow the collective experience of the group to become the content of the work. For 5 years, from piece to piece, we wore the same navy blue workers' uniforms; affirming the continuity of the identity of the performers and building a sense of “history” within the body of work. We were the dancer as blue collar worker, performing the exhausting ritual of labor, the labor of the body.
I make work mostly in theater venues, but also in public spaces. I make work as a practice of growing, as one would grow a plant. A practice of growing, growing a body of work, growing a collective body with all the dancers, collaborators and participants as audience, and growing myself a new body; a utopian body; a sensational body, a connected body; an anarchic body, that is full/filled with pleasure; with love and with some kind of magic, mystery …………………………………with a brain that melted down to the skin, the flesh, the bones, the guts, and the crotch... and with eyes that see without naming and see without knowing.
My work actively addresses the audience’s gaze, revealing their role as voyeur and bringing them into the “narrative” as participating characters. There is an almost utopian desire to be transparent, to share and to be closer to or “touch” the audience.
"[achugar's work] taps into something both personal and urgent about the female experience. FEEL…FORM is a disquieting reality, a dream on the verge of collapse."
—Christine Shan Shan Hou, The Performance Club, May 17, 2012
"achugar's distinctive focus on a sensory opulence ... achieves theatricality without being conventional in any sense"
—Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Infinite Body, May 18, 2012
"It was an experience of another time with other bodies, it was an experience of a space that held all the bodies, and it was also a mass revolt. As moans developed into wails and cries, performers banged on the walls and the hardware of the theater, these sounds growing into a rhythmic pulsing that enveloped the audience. It was our task to be in this together, to allow ourselves to be overcome, and to surrender to sensation."
"Achugar effectively 'emancipated the spectator' à la Rancière—we experienced an empathetic catharsis rather than an internal one."
Placed metaphorically in the ruins of a collapsed theater, OTRO TEATRO is achugar’s current search for another kind of theater; a ritual of becoming; an occasion for communion. OTRO TEATRO, which translates both to “another theater” and “other theater” in achugar’s native Spanish, is a dark rite of passage from destruction to rebuilding. It is a dance that is meant to be felt as it is seen, giving voice to the arcane spirit and desire of our uncivilized bodies. luciana achugar has been awarded touring support through the National Dance Project, a program of New England Foundation for the Arts.
OTRO TEATRO at Walker Center, February 27–March 1, 2014
OTRO TEATRO at New York Live Arts, April 2–5, 2014
OTRO TEATRO at Fusebox Festival, April 3–5, 2015
OTRO TEATRO: The Pleasure Project (2014)
A public space intervention created from a practice of being in pleasure and giving our bodies a voice.
A practice to 'unsocialize' ourselves and our normative social behavior to get closer to a decolonized uncivilized utopian state, with a brain that melted down to the the flesh, the bones, the guts, the skin... a practice of growing a new body, as one would grow a plant; a utopian body; a sensational body; a connected body; an anarchic body; a body full/filled with pleasure, with love and with magic……
OTRO TEATRO (carnal church dance)
OTRO TEATRO (carnal church dance), made from the guts of OTRO TEATRO, is an extension and a culmination of The Pleasure Project, in which achugar and her nine collaborators performed around city public spaces over the course of three months.
OTRO TEATRO (carnal church dance) at JACK, September 23-24, 2014
An Epilogue for OTRO TEATRO: True Love
An Epilogue for OTRO TEATRO: True Love (2015) furthers luciana achugar’s search for another kind of theater: one that connects us to our central desire to move and to the primal and basic but profound desire to dance to and with music. It sets free a new “post-civilized” self that resists Western assumptions of beauty and order. A love letter to New York house music as a long form performance communion ritual, where the audience is moved from apathy to empathy by sharing the music and light filled space with the performers and where they get to choose how to view or interact with the piece; i. e.: sit still, walk around, dance or come and go as they please.
It premiered at Gibney Dance in a co-presentation with the Chocolate Factory, December 10–19, 2015.