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An Interview with Lu Greco

Can you tell us about your journey as a dancer, from first steps to where you are now?


I started taking dance classes when I was 3, I did a bit of everything jazz, tap, lindy hop, choreography (whatever that means). Ballet was a big one, I did Ballet School and I was part of a ballet when I was 14, and it absolutely ruined me. So one day, I came across a hip hop class and I was amazed by the fact you didn't have to have a certain type of body to be good at it. It was just skills and style. So I quit ballet and for 10 years all I did was breaking. After about 10 years of headspins, battles and crews, I began to distance myself from the Hip Hop scene. I couldn't name it back then, and I wasn't out of the closet to myself either, but it was a very queer-unfriendly world. A lot of homophobia/biphobia, binary to the fullest extent, with girls and women always being disregarded at events. It was quite awful for me, especially for a movement that should be, liberation from oppression of marginalised communities.


I started to get into movement research, through contemporary dance and Feldenkrais, a technique used to improve posture and movement in general but used a lot in dancers and musicians. This opened up a world for me, where I found new ways of moving, with less structure, and more space for exploration.



The piece you performed at t'ARTopia was an improvised piece which is different each time it is performed, so the audience never see the same dance twice. What drew you to improvised dance as a form and what's your process when conceptualising an improvised piece?


I guess I got bored of the same “repertoire” of movements and steps that tend to be boxed in a a given style. We want to think “dance is free, and you can move however you want to” but usually we stick to a limited number of movements. Out of boredom, I wanted to research movement and to improvise to go beyond those limits, to dance in ways I’d never danced before. Push myself to create movements that were not part of my toolbox or belonged to a specific style. Which is why to this day I struggle when people ask me: What do you dance?


My creation process tends to be intuitive. I think it’s very hard to decide you want to do a dance piece on “the societal pressures of fitting in and breaking mandates imposed by a system” and find a dance to represent that; I can’t even imagine where I’d begin! So in my case, it was the opposite. Improvising in class, I tended to go to this way of moving that resembled a puppet. When my mates described it in class it was always something like “they are being pulled from strings,” “it’s like there are elastics in different parts of their body and they are trying to break loose of those. There was no concept behind it. And fully embracing this idea of not controlling your body, and having these invisible strings and elastics pulling me, and the tension of going against those invisible forces, it quickly turned into a representation of our relationship with mandates, whatever those are to each individual.


I know you're working on a piece focusing on trans experience at the moment. How do queerness and gender come into your work?


I love this question because what first pops into my head is, how does it not? I’ve been thinking if I could make a piece next year without queerness/gender and find it hard to imagine. I think our way of existing is very interesting because in a way queer existence is so unique, but yet everyone from the community shares that! It’s a nice feeling. And my recent work has found that almost everybody felt it was relatable, which to me was wild because the play is called “Genderfluid Babe Manifesto” and the context is growing up in South America in the 90s. I would have been lucky if anybody resonated with something so specific. Yet most people could relate to the play because of its universal message (you’ll have to see it to find out what that universal message is!). And I feel it’s key for me in my work to bring people outside of our community to some first hand feelings on what it feels like for us to queerly exist.




Your work often questions normativity in society. How do you think dance and movement can be used to question the norm?


Growing up I was told Ballet was the mother dance. That everything stemmed from ballet. Painful that there is nothing furthest from the truth. That erasure of other dances, especially those that find their roots in small local communities, is very unfair. So dance itself can be so normative. It took ages for a black woman to be prima ballerina not because there weren’t amazing black female ballet dancers. I think that’s something to be said about stupid norms within any art form. For us independent artists I think it’s important to question everything and not fall into a more “snobbish” way of making art. Art should be resistance. That being said, dance and movement are just forms of expression that I use to question everything around me. I am very observant of how people within any gender identity use their bodies. How people walk, run, sit, stand, cross their legs/arms, turn around, put clothes on/off. I don’t let a single movement go by without analysing it. And then I play and have fun with that.


What would you say to anyone who says they can't dance?


I have seen more passionate dancing at house parties than on stages. If you can rock your head when listening to music, or just tap with your hands to the beat, you are more of a dancer than any of us “professional” dancers (whatever the fuck that means). Music isnt even mandatory. As long as there’s a rhythm and a body is moving to that rhythm, that to me is dancing.


 

Lu Greco is a gender non conforming latinx performance artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina based in London. They are a professional dancer who use movement as a means to question normativity in society. This piece, ABRE (Opens) is not a choreography, everytime it is performed the audience will essentially see the same story being told, but everytime it will be different, as the movement is 100% improvised. The creation of their next piece is currently in progress and it focuses specifically around trans existence.

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