© Montxo de Soto

© Montxo de Soto

If you have to leave again, lean against the wall in a crude shepherd’s shelter. And don’t worry about that tree waving at you from over there. Its own fruit will slake its thirst. 

In a Crude Mountain Shelter — René Char

Hontanar is a duet choreographed and danced by Olga de Soto and Pascale Gigon. It was premièred on the 14th of June 1996 as part of Thé Dansant, at Plateau, Brussels.

Thé Dansant was a weekly event, conceived by Pierre Droulers, Barbara Manzetti, Ida De Vos and Olga de Soto, whose principal objective was to create a space in which choreographers, dancers, musicians and anybody involved in performance, could meet, speak and create. The idea was that someone presented a short proposal, set or improvised. All possibilities of reply to this proposition were welcome, either as a direct response, immediately improvised, or presented the following week, constructed and planed.

Hontanar was created in response to a proposition by David Hernandez. David presented a solo in which the character behind which he hid himself got rid of the layers that protected him (represented by clothes, objects...), each layer being represented by a different sequence. He developed his sequences based on repetition, by accumulating different movements.

In response, we created Hontanar using the concept of deconstruction as our starting point. We developed performance progressively from a single sequence of movements. Another point of departure to create this proposal was the introspective image of a body in space, and its relation with other bodies.

In counterpoint to David's proposition, we imagined Hontanar as a series of short sequences that form a larger phrase without cuts. At the same time we transposed the idea of addition and accumulation, which was David's support in his relations to movement and space: the initial given direction is displaced at each short sequence, following the pattern of a sundial.

The deconstruction of the phrase, danced at first on the upright, vertical plane, is developed bit by bit horizontally, on the ground, before becoming the progressive construction of a phrase against the wall, vertical but upside down. This "climbing-flowing" phrase against the wall is a short sequence that develops within the piece, becoming longer and longer. We continue as if each "brick" taken from the initial standing phrase served, once modified and inversed, to make this central core grow, until eventually all the elements of the initial phrase are subtracted.

The sound of falling rocks, looped, serves as music throughout the piece.

When the standing phrase has only one movement, the circle, composed of consecutive eighths of a revolution, is closed. The loop is looped and the sound of falling rocks stops. In the almost silence the sound of drops of water, previously hidden by the constant falling of rocks, is revealed.

The relation with the sound is very organic and reactive, in the sense that it is constantly changing throughout the piece, between the movement and the sound of falling rocks. For each new space in which the dance is performed, this relationship is transformed.

The sliding movements, which flow along the wall, are fed by the sounds that can be heard; the stones are totally present in the space; there is an evident relation between the sounds and the image of bodies against a wall.

When the bodies start to climb, the sound of the stones, although still present, is heard as if coming from a pile-up of rocks; thus the vision of the bodies has transformed the sounds in the imagination of the spectator, even though the sound of the rocks has not changed.

The movements of the standing phrase are more abstract, and the sound of the rocks at this moment emanates as music in itself, the stones are less heard, melody appears. We give more importance to the quality of the sounds, rather than where they might be coming from. We no longer attach the word "rock" to the sound that we hear, and the evolution of the dance means that we don't hear the loop as something static anymore, but as a piece of music, constructed and evolving in its turn.

In every space we have performed in, there has been a different way of listening to these sounds, influencing the perception of the performance, as well as our evolution through its interpretation.

Olga de Soto and Pascale Gigon, June 1996