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distortion in communication


Distortion in communication

Text by Inês Lebreaud

Life experiences, love, fear, obsessions.

A wooden table, a wooden chair and an open window is the scenography. Sang Chi Sun and Sofia Dinger are sitting on the floor, next to the table and under the sunlight, having the most intimate conversation. They are in a journey into themselves and into each other. For them, it was really important to connect, to create a foundation to better develop the project.

The table is there as if it is the stage. Sofia is sitting on the chair. The sun on her back. She is making a confession, and since the language is exactly what they were trying to be deprived of, the fact that she was talking in Portuguese could only be an advantage. While she talks, besides the words, she uses her body to speak. As they go further in their experiment, Sofia’s movements starts to expand and her voice loses importance; the words begin to melt into each other. The sounds stretch, delay and dissociate from the movements. The rhythm property of sound is not decisive in dictating the beginning or the end of a movement, Shang Chi proposes to Sofia.

Sang Chi worries about how the dancers, in general, keep using their bodies to tell something, to communicate a narrative. From where I stand, I see him wondering if it was possible to go back in time, before the word, when the gesture was the only way of communication, even though he doesn’t question the importance of the word. And it is also not about literal meanings or being figurative. It’s about expressing feelings. “Is the body’s tension that’s speaking out”, he said.

For Sang Chi, movement is a natural thing. He’s a dancer.

For Sofia, words are her biggest strength: she’s really attached to the text, as an actress. For her, it’s really a challenge to show the meaning without being too strict or, again, figurative and without over-thinking the movements. They have to come with no effort, like an intuition, and still create meaning. The body, its shape and how it is displayed in the place surrounding it can be meaningful, and that’s what they’re exploring together.

In order for Sofia to get to that point, where her body will talk for itself, there’s a journey. Sang Chi is shaping his experiments to this end, trying that Sofia feels totally comfortable in her body, making it possible for her to discover her total potential. In every exercise, it’s like she’s learning new phonemes of this language of the body, exploring all articulations, stretching legs and arms in all possible directions – as a way to exteriorise, to take the meaning to the audience, instead of directing her movements towards herself, as in a monologue.

Their work began with a text, then it shrunk into two words – “pack” and “unpack” – to interiorise and express. As time goes by and after the third day of practicing, they’re getting closer to their purpose and Sofia feels as if she’s getting to know herself better, through Sang Chi’s eyes. They’ve both noticed that she’s more comfortable with slow movements, with the care for detail. In their next practice, they’ll go along that path.

There’s no certainty about the concrete results of these practices. For now, it’s about keeping evolving, keeping winning distance from the spoken language until they’re completely detached from it. In the end, possibly, a stage will finally be the meeting place for two dancers who tell no narrative, who speak no words but, in different ways, express what their bodies want to say.