Tim Podesta: Creating Shadow Aspect, Ballet Cymru

November 1, 2017 by

I was a late starter to dance, I was studying drama as a 16-year-old and loved being expressive. My drama teacher at the time encouraged me to look at dance as a means to make my movements and gestures more broad. I was already a huge Michael Jackson fan and loved copying his moves, my younger sister was doing ballet classes and they needed boys for Nutcracker. 

I love the chance to be expressive and physical and its safe to say I fell in love with dance on my first day. Very quickly I was offered a position at the Australian Ballet School. I think that it was noticed that I had great potential but I was 17 and needed good full-time training. By the time I graduated three years later I had performed with Australian Ballet numerous times as well as soloist roles with their touring company, I took a soloist position contract with Tokyo City Ballet and my performance career began from there. I was fortunate to dance works by leading choreographers, Balanchine, Ashton, Cranko, Bournonville and many others who inspired me to explore my own creativity.

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Tim Podesta

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My choreography is modern but still very firmly based on the classical technique. I use different influences every time I create new work. From fashion to architecture depending on what I need to convey when generating movement. When I am creating work I never choreograph to the intended music and I do this because often I like to juxtapose the movement with the audio, I also don’t want the dancers to assume an emotional context too early.

My style is very gestural, I use the hands a lot and I think that is because I feel it is something an audience can connect with and understand and that it can also direct a narrative, particularly in contemporary movement.

Shadow Aspect definitely has a narrative and I feel confident that the narrative is clear but like all art, it is open to interpretation.When Darius and Amy approached me to do a work for the company they wanted something that was going to push the dancers physically, intellectually and emotionally so I set about to find a theme that would push all of us  including our fabulous guest principal dancer from the Royal Ballet, Mara Galeazzi. 

I have tried to create a work that is highly emotional and will move the audience to feel a range of different emotions and hopefully they will leave the theatre talking about how they interpreted the dancers different emotions and maybe look at thrown dark sides! 

My research lead me to Carl Jung. 

In Jungian Psychology, the shadow refers to the unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. In short, the shadow is the dark side.  Shadow Aspect.

Now I had my thematic base to work from I now needed to find the music that could encapsulate my movement signature, assist to deliver the narrative and offer enough to build the audiences emotions along the performance journey.  After listening to countless music compositions I found the perfect piece in Jean Phillipe Goude’s ‘Aux Solitudes’. I found it perfect in every way and knew it would also inspire me to generate the movement for a work over and hour in length.

I began working firstly with my frequent collaborator and muse Mara Galeazzi. Mara and I have worked very closely for the past few years. I met Mara at the Royal Opera House when I was working on a film that I really wanted her to be a part of, we met, had a great time working together and our work has taken us to Australia, Africa, USA UK and Europe and in this time we have really built a special friendship. She is special and I count myself so very lucky to create on her all of the time. We have recently started our own company M&T In Motion and have a variety of exciting projects leading us into 2020.

Mara has always wanted to delve deep in to a dark character and is relishing the experience. I then began with the Ballet Cymru dancers and went about getting them used to my style and my processes which were very foreign to them.

Now we are in the final phases of putting the work together and are very excited to be bringing the work to the stage this week. 

My connection to Ballet Cymru is through my friendship to the Assistant Director, Amy Doughty. Amy and I have known each other for over 20 years and actually danced together as students. Amy and Darius have appreciated my work for sometime and we have discussed me creating a work on the company for a long time, we really needed our schedules to align and this year they did. I love the company and I love how Darius and Amy have tried to build something unique. The dancers are wonderful to work with and have really soaked up everything I have had to offer I am very excited for their followers to see the company move in a way they would never have seen them before.

Mara Galeazzi

Mara Galeazzi was born in Brescia and studied at La Scala, Milan. She joined The Royal Ballet in 1992 and was promoted to First Artist in 1995, Soloist at the end of the 1997/98 Season and Principal in September 2003. She has danced every major role in the classical repertory and had many roles created for her by top choreographers around the world.

In May 2006 she is appointed ‘Best Italian Dancer Abroad’ (Danza & Danza Award). In November 2003 she received the nomination as Best Female Dancer at Critics’ Circle National Dance Award.

She has appeared as guest artist with the Stuttgart Ballet, Carla Fracci’s Teatro dell’Opera in Rome and the Scottish Ballet. She also danced with Irek Mukhamedov, Carlos Acosta, Tetsuya Kumakawa and their companies. On the 7th March 2009 Mara was awarded the medal “Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” (Knighthood) by the President of Italy.

This new ballet will Premiere at the Riverfront on the 3rd and 4th of November, followed by one performance only at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells in London on the 5th of November. For tickets at the Riverfront, call 01633 656757 or online at www.newportlive.co.uk/riverfront  and for Sadler’s Wells call 0207 863 8000 or online www.sadlerswell.com

Images  Sian Trenberth

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