I launch the first interview of Screendance Visions with the young Marta Arjona, from Tarragona (Spain), who year after year sends her dance shortfilms to my [C]Screen festival.
Today I bring you an interview of a young Catalan girl from Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) who is making herself a place among the Spanish screendance creators: I am talking of Marta Arjona. For some time, I have been following her work and, finally, I decided to publish something about her.
Hello Marta, I had the pleasure to meet you and I know you are a young, entrepreneurial, active Catalan lady. Tell me something quick that I don’t know yet.
I have the pleasure to work in what I have studied while joining my two passions: dance and audiovisual. I am what I am thanks to the dance, activity I have practised since I was two and it taught me to grow and to be who I am now.
Some years ago you created DansPXL, why did you create it?
Curiously, I created DansPXL as a part of my End of Degree project of the second degree I studied: Journalism. Mainly, it was born as a production company focused to the screendance creation and little by little the project grew up to what it is now: an audiovisual and photography production company specialised in dance and scenic arts. Apart from creating and producing screendance, we offer audiovisual, photographic and communication services for dance and scenic arts for enterprises, schools and companies.
Who are the DansPXL members? Tell me about your team.
I would say that the DansPXL “official” team are 4 people and then, depending of the project, we count on different collaborations.
Alberto is mainly the FlyCam operator, meaning that he dances with the camera and also he edits a lot of the works. Moreover, we have directed together 4ElEmEnts and The Falling Woman. He has a lot of experience in cinema and television and that makes him very flexible when filming dance. I would say that Alberto is my right hand.
Helle is the camera operator but also a great support in the photographic field. Moreover, she stands out for searching the perspectives of the images, always going further.
Then, I have the pleasure to work with my mum at my side. She gives me the support in all it is needed, but mainly she focuses in the styling of the works and the photo sessions and production tasks. However, sometimes she is a camera operator too.
And then, there is me. I direct, create and I do a bit of everything, but what I do the most is dance specialised photography, production and try to make reality the screendances that are surfing in my mind.
I could see severals of your works but “NIGRA” specially caught my attention: I think it is a deep work, more emotional and cinematographic. Am I right?
Yes, “NIGRA” explains a story and, moreover, has a lot of feelings and a lot of reality because to build it we based a lot in what we were living in that moment, both the choreographer and me.
Where does the name of NIGRA come from? What relation does it have with the story?
The origin of “NIGRA” comes from “Sambucus Nigra”, which is the scientific name of an elder, and its Catalan translation, Saüc, is the name of the little main character of the story. His name is inspired by the good medicinal properties of the plant, and both the plant and the name relate a lot with the passage of time, which is one of the subjects that the piece shows. So, after a lot of research, we thought it was a very symbolic title.
As you said, in this shortfilm a little actor called Saüc Bonet appears. Filming with children is always difficult, how did the shooting go?
Sincerely, the shooting went very smoothly and in that moment, he was barely a year and a half. You have to consider that Saüc is used to my camera from the moment he was born and that made easier a lot of things. Also, this kid is an artist; her mother and main character of the piece, Mei, is dancer, and we can feel it… He carries the art in the blood.
On the other hand, to get him a bit used to the place and the situation, we had done a little rehearsal with him and, well, the shooting day, we had clear how we wanted his entrance and exit. The rest was playing with him and let him go.
I can say that filming dance is not new for you. What is the difference between dancefilm and videodance for you?
This question is complicated because is difficult to distinguish between videodance and dancefilm, that’s why I try to say always “screendance”. For me, screendance bases in telling stories linking two languages: dance and audiovisual. Dancefilm would do it more from a narrative point, like in NIGRA, and videodance would do it in an abstract and experimental way.
I guess the creation process was together with the choreographer Mei Casabona. Would you tell me your creation process in a simple way? How is the work with a choreographer? Is there a moment when you don’t agree?
Every project is different. In this case, Mei and me are linked by friendship and we have lots of points in common, which made easier many things. However, in this concrete case, the creative process started more than half a year ago before shooting, and we had four concepts clear: present, past, future and silence. From here, we looked for the space and the different elements shaping it that gave life to what today is NIGRA.
But I repeat, every project is different. Sometimes, the choreographers come to me with a choreography in mind and the ask me to adapt it to screendance. Then, we work from the abstraction and the analysis of every movement to see which story we can tell with it. In other cases, the idea emerges from DansPXL and little by little we create the story with a choreographer. Normally, we always agree, because we try to adapt to the need of the dancers and/or choreographer and they try to adapt to us. At the end, that’s screendance, the union of these two languages.
Thank you Marta for your time. I hope we can do soon an activity together!
For more information about Marta and her work,
I recommend you to visit her website.
Translation to English by Eva Campos Suárez
Correction by David Menéndez Auckland