Raúl Tamez

“Every project is difficult at the beginning, but the magic, will arrive!” An interview with Raul Tamez, Mexico.

How has your process towards dance and choreography started?

I have been dancing professionally dancing for more than 15 years, and I am very grateful. I know that sometimes it is a matter of luck, but I have been really working a lot; chasing grants and funding, doing a lot of research, being very brave and adventurous in terms of changing countries… and always seeking new opportunities! I have had the opportunity to dance in more than 36 countries and to live in 7 countries, so it has been very stimulating. At the same time I am studying, I started a bachelor in sociology. Recently my interest for theory grew, and I am very close to my forties and my skin is changing! So I am still a dancer, but I am focusing on choreography. I started to do my own projects, I have my own company, I am directing a festival, the International Contemporary Dance Festival in Mexico City, and I stopped dancing in companies but moved on being a freelancer. It was hard at first, and it felt edgy, but now I figured it out. I need to do many activities at the same time, but it has been working well. Now I did my master’s degree in psychoanalysis, working with the concepts of- concepts imaginary, reality, symbolic. When we dance, we do an unconscious appropriation of symbols we see in the world, and we transform them into an abstract reality when we dance.

Recently I have been working a lot in physical theatre and with emotions, which can be tricky to work with because you need to contain the memories of dancers that have trauma and other experiences. It helped me to know how to utilize psychological tools to always have the dancer in a control zone and to sublimate and use the trauma to overcome it and to generate and dance as a cathartic process.  

What do you enjoy about working with IDI, with Harriet, and how has your experience been generally?

I am aware this is  a new project, and at the beginning it is, and it is messy, and it’s a matter of trust. Having a team that trusts you and your craziness, that is great. Given the fact that we are not very legitimized in society, it means that sometimes being a contemporary artist is a suicidal act, because you don’t have any guarantees. You don’t know how you will deal with critical moments, so it is a non-typical profession. At the beginning of a project you don’t have the means, and it is only a dream that you cannot touch. And creating a team on the basis of a dream and of faith is very hard.

So with Harriet, we had difficult times at the beginning, and she was probably about to quit, and I sat down with her. I am not idealizing this moment, by the way, it was very brutal! And I tried to convince her that the magic sooner or later would arrive. With this kind of new project, it’s like to resist poetically, and I appreciate that about IDI, if it continues on the same path, it will sooner or later have an outcome. At least that has been my experience. I also had to overcome lots of crisis, being, coming from a non-privileged country, I definitely know what it is to fight and to keep smiling and keep on working.

Can you tell us about the effect that Covid had on your work, particularly within the project with IDI in October, and if it made you rethink certain things about your job? 

It has been very heavy. I perceive a big change with the second edition of Duality in comparison to the first one, things were evolving, but I thought it was a pity that the second step of IDI could not been materialized because of COVID. As a professional, I acquired a big dept because a  lot of things happened, and I opened a new studio. However, things did not stop in terms of creating, I decided to do more!

It is a very Japanese mentality because when they want to protest a situation, instead of stopping completely, they do more, they work more and harder in order to obtain better conditions. This way of opposite protest is something I am reproducing. So I also started to do a lot of things, underground things, like for example dance performances at my flat. People were eager to see performances and were willing to come and pay, and it resulted in the building of a community. So things are okay, the effects have been economical, but artistically I have been able to do a lot.  

What do you consider as opportunities for the future of dance? Maybe related technologies and multimedia? 

You are asking this to a radical being of virtuality. I respect virtuality, but in my case sometimes talking about these things it’s like talking about religion. When it has to do with the vaccine, a lot of people are sceptical, and they have a right. I respect all perspectives and opinions, but I will fight for physical dance. I do not believe in a performance that is translated to video. I do believe in dance film, but watching a performance that is in a theatre,  doesn’t make sense to me. Likewise, I think that one of the few things that remain after neo-liberalism, capitalism, media, and technology is the body. They have killed the rituals and mysticism, sexuality, nudity, nature…everything is technologized, so the body is the only thing we have left!  

Raul Tamez, IDI collaborator, choreographer, performer, professor.


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