Joyner, Siriol

Agua Viva Dance Collaboration between Siriol Joyner (Cymru/Wales) and Nibia Pastrana Santiago (Puerto Rico)

"During May/June 2015 I travelled to Puerto Rico to continue my collaboration with a Puerto Rican dance artist: Nibia Pastrana Santiago. During this time we worked together in a number of different contexts, developing our collaboration as two dancers and expanding our movement material: Agua Viva. Agua Viva was developed during a residency in Abercych, Pembrokeshire in 2013 and this trip served as the second part of our development process: a reciprocal visit and an opportunity for Nibia to introduce me to the context of her dance practice in Puerto Rico.

During the six- week project in Puerto Rico I:
-Presented work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico;
-Met with and collaborated with local Puerto Rican artists, curators and academics;
-Undertook a rural residency in Culebra Island to develop Agua Viva practice which included a public showing at the end;
-Hosted a workshop for Mujeres de Islas, a community group of women on Culebra;
-Performed the Augua Viva practice for two nights at Casa Ruth Cultural House in San Juan.

The support of Wales Arts International has allowed me to continue with and to develop this unique collaboration with Nibia Pastrana in Puerto Rico. It was a very important opportunity to complete a process which was started in Wales in 2013. We work specifically in relation to place and our practice and dance is developed as a way of researching place and its qualities, so actually going to Puerto Rico and working there was vital to the practice.

In my practice as a choreographer, creating material and movement in relation to place is a very important tool and something which I am developing on my own as well as with other choreographers. This was a very clear opportunity to develop this tool and skill further by focusing on working in the specific location of Culebra and relating this material back to the material created in Wales.

This Dwr Viva collaboration produces movement material that is different from what either Nibia or I would produce on our own or with another collaborator. Together we are creating a third space between ourselves and the places of Culebra and Abercych. We see it as a practice which potentially has a life of its own- existing as scores and text which may be used as scores for dancing and movement.

I believe that this project has been a significant opportunity for me to raise my profile as a Welsh artist working internationally: I have been part of a exhibition and platform at a significant international art museum and have met a number of influential artists academics and critics during this trip. All of this helps me put my work and practice as a Welsh dance artist into an international context and helps to clarify the direction and nature of my choreographic work. In particular, this was an opportunity to reflect upon the political nature of identity and how it manifests in my work as a Welsh dance artist. "

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