Expanded Contemporary Dance fourth year student Pedro Afonso da Silva Sampaio Soares Machado is about to perform in the premiere of "De Val Van Hercules" with the Amsterdam Triplets. We asked him some questions about the performance and what it was like to be part of this production.
What are you currently working on?
The show "De Val Van Hercules" is a piece focused on the subject of masculinity and the place heroes and archetypes of masculinity have or not have in today's society. It is an immersive work where viewers are invited to step into a building where the story occurs and follow the path of the different characters. Different scenes happen at the same time in different locations so it's up to the viewers to choose what they want to see and who they want to follow.
What inspires you to work on this project?
My connection to masculinity as a queer cis man and my views on it from how it has affected my own community's views on body types, sexual preferences and more was one of the main reasons I wanted to explore the story of this project. Looking for a healthy masculinity, one that is present in all of us (regardless of gender) and that stems away from patriarchy was also a big driving force into joining this thirteen week project.
What are the challenges of this project?
It's a long piece lasting around 1 hour and 45 minutes in which creation is mostly up to each of us dancers. On top of this is a site specific work dealing with "off the studio" situations such as splinters, irregular ground etc. These were definitely big challenges in the first few weeks. All the challenges that the work brings have boosted my growth in this process so much and I'm very happy to be "put to the test" like this, as my internship.
What are you looking forward to most?
I am mostly looking forward to interacting with the audience, be with them in the same space as I tell them a story. Live the story of my character, Hera, with others right there with me in the room accompanying me.
What would you like the audience to take with them after seeing your project?
Two things. To be inspired and interested in more of this upcoming work with immersive dance and to be curious about all the scenes they have missed (because it is simple impossible to watch all the scenes of the show even if you run really fast). And second, to also question the choice of action the story takes, what is their view on this topic? Who are the Hercules of today? What do they mean to us and what are they needed for?