(feature photo: IG- SebaVilensky.photo)
Thinking my days of outdoor raves were long behind me, my line of work has taken an interesting twist back to the bliss of festival vibes and free hugs. And the best bit? The festival officially requested my presence.
As you may have read in the previous blog The Moon is in Pieces, all sorts of interesting things are coming out of my working relationship with my housemate Mona. She is launching her new business in artist production for events, one of which was a psy trance event that we presented at a few weeks ago. The work wasn’t paid in cash (a story I am trying to re-write), we were paid in free entry, travel, food and lodgings, 12 hours south from Santiago in a place called Puerto Octay. I had never travelled that far south before and had only heard on repeat that I didn’t know Chile if I didn’t know the south.
The team were Fa(biola), Actress, Domi(nique) Hula Hooper and Afro dancer,
Pyasito(Nico) Clown and Levitation Stick, Seba(stian) photographer, (Si)Mona artistic production and Guille(rmo) who turned up on the day of the performance as an incredible extra pair of hands and of course me. The theme of the festival was Nacimiento del Colibri (Birth of the Hummingbird) so we went with that theme and created outfits around the colours and feathers of this dinky animal with the fastest beating wings on the planet.
We took the 12 hour bus down from Santiago to Puerto Montt, being quite the way to travel in these parts, I was sat next to Payasito (Payasito is his nickname which translates as little clown) who I did not know previously so it was a good start to get to know him. After we filled up on snacks from the salesman who got on the bus with his basket of goodies and watched the first film, I headed straight to snoozington and didn’t wake up until it was morning.
I woke up to a dawn breaking, the steamy window with the rain pelting hard against it. I swiped the condensation away from the window and I felt it, inside of my chest, eyes wide searching the landscape. It was true, there was magic here. The perfect omen to mark the start, I gazed out of the window until we rolled into the bus station and off the bus.
It wasn’t long before Jorge came and got us in his jeep, wind and rain howling we packed up and headed to his house where we would be spending our first night. The psy trance (of which I have never been much a fan, I am a techno girl at heart) stampeded though the stereo, setting the white noise of the week. We arrived at Jorges house, there was a Brasilian dj already waiting in the kitchen working on some of his music as we piled in. We all got to know each other and it wasn’t long before Mona and I were cooking and Jorge filled the finer details of what the festival was all about.
Jorge is a topographer by trade and the many topographer co-workes come friends he has made, turns out they all have a similar interest in psy-trance. The south being as it is, mainly countryside with a tourist boom every summer they are also matey with the local tour operators. And so, through a passion for terrain and having a good time they create this festival.
After a long deserved shower I sat myself upstairs and listened to the rain pound down on the windows. Quite some time passed before I realised I had not a single thought in my head, I even tried to conjure one, nope, nothing, I had slipped into the true magic of the south and let the sound of the rain hammer instead of my thoughts. A ridiculously good nights sleep followed.
The following morning everyone activated pretty early, Domi and Seba arrived as they had travelled a day later. It wasn’t long before we headed out on the two hour drive to Lago Rupanco where the festival was held. We travelled in two cars, our car did a whirlwind tour and stopped off at a home brewery, the South is famous for it’s cask ales and artisan beer making. We tried a cannabis brew, not that it had much taste of weed to be fair but it was enjoyable none the less, two barrels of it were stored in the back of the truck for the festival. It continued to rain, we circled the huge lake that looked sea like almost, it was blowing a gale causing small waves to break creating the illusion.
We arrived and were shown to the caravan where we, the artists, would be staying. We piled in and investigated the cupboards and claimed our beds it was such as reverting back to the magic of caravan holidays as a kid. Plus it was just so cosy and dry in there what with the rain outside. We all stared at each other gobsmacked at what luck we´d landed with this gig. After years of scraping and scrimping by, living the artist life Van Gough style, it was bliss to finally feel the other side of the artist coin where our needs were being pandered to.
Bit by bit we got to the know the team, the low cloud had us wrapped up in mystery and we made merry in the main house, care carved into every corner of it’s design and wizards and faeries peeking out of shelves and guarding coat hooks. The Argentinian side of the production introduced us to ‘Fernet’ and coke, the guitar gently made it’s rounds and we revised our costumes for the performance. Mona and I are very used to cooking, we do so every day at home so assumed that chefing duties would be covered by us on the trip as well, however as soon as we took arms to the kitchen ‘Conejo’ (which translates as rabbit, his nickname) leaped into the kitchen and declared he was a chef and took over the grand task. Mona and I quietly slipped into the background as he took the lead and other hands lent to chop and peel. We both discussed later how it was a secret joy to have a week away from the stove and believe you me, Conejo can cook!
The first night passed, cozy in the caravan with the rain pelting down and we woke up motivated the next day. After breakfast it was time to start working on our routine, there were to be other jugglers coming from Valdivia so it was up to us as the main team to have the routine down and ready for them to learn once they arrived. It is the first time I have worked in a group artistically in this way, from scratch we created the routine, first an afrodance inspired choreography that would lead into the fire performance and then after that we would freestyle with LED and UV flurecent show to the psytrance music of one of the headline djs.
As the days ticked themselves off we experienced the calm of the countryside alongside the gentle incline in the build up to the festival. We kept the bulk of of our work a secret so we could have a more impressive unveiling when it was show time. It rains a lot in the South, in terms of wet it has a very British feel to it so the dj and dancing area had tents put up.
One of the days we were lucky and got a really clear morning so the guys took us out onto the lake and across to one of the islands where there is volcanic heat boiling the water from below, we dug a trench so that the boiling water could rise up through the stones and then a canal from the icy cold waters of the lake so it could mix together to make a gorgeous volcanic bath. Of course some hula hooping in such a setting couldn’t be resisted, I got fierce, getting into the icy water looking out onto the mountain range so I could spin the hoop on my ankles with my body submerged.
On the Friday, the people started to trickle in to the grounds and tents began to pop up. It was actually dry so the team made massive headway with getting everything ready for the warm up night of the fiesta. The first night we took it easy and got an early night, well most of us apart from Fa the main Colibri who ran out to join the party as appartly a bus load of people turned up and the psy trance was banging. We saved ourselves for the Saturday night.
On the Saturday we got going early, it was such a clear day, the low hanging cloud finally lifted I could really take in the grand view of the mountains rising and falling back into the lake. I gave an impromptu hoop class and then Guille arrived and he and Mona gave and acro yoga class where I lifted a beanpole of a fella so he could fly. It rained all day and night and we had decided to go barefoot as it wouldn’t have looked right if we hadn’t, when was the last time you saw a hummingbird with shoes? We coordinated with two ‘wizards’ Jorge who was one of the main organisers and whose house we stayed at at the beginning and Lucho a guy from Argentina who had been there from the word go. They had their wizard costumes and wanted to partake so they were to be the ones to bring the fire through the crowd to mark the start of our show that we were to do out in the open air.
We each painted our faces in our own interpretation of a bird like creature with glow in the UV light paints, our dressing area looked like a massacre at Rio carnival, there were feathers everywhere as we made finishing touches to get ready to head out.
For some magic, the clouds parted and we went outside, trudging through the freezing wet mud to our starting spot. The pause in the music came, silence marking the wizards passing through the crowd as we huddled together, our music started, playful xylophone beats marked us and we began our routine. It wasn’t long before our implements of fire were lit and we went for it, the crowd eyes wide as we illuminated their faces with our performance.
The pause in the music came, the next dj started up and we ran in with our light up hoops and UV face paint to dance like maniacs, intervening in the crowd. There was a moment where I truly felt the spirit of the humming bird enter my soul, I had painted my lips to a point to resemble a beak and I flitted around, pecking and prodding and the party goers, encircling them with my hoop and beating my arms as fast as they would go. We revved the public up into a frenzy, an explosion of whoops and cheers without stop punctuated our flight from the earthy performance with dance and fire to the electricity and intensity of our light up show.
There came a natural pause in the music and we, all now perfectly in tune with one another after spending a whole week together took our bows and headed back to our dressing room, flying from the performance. We slapped each other on the back and changed into our clothes again straight away, we were completely high thanks to such show stopper and we were in the perfect environment to shake this energy out of us to a good hard stomp to the music. We each stayed with our makeup, not ready to part with our own Colibri that was born out of the experience. We returned with the rest of the group and danced none stop into the early hours, disbelieving that the psy-trance we’d poo pooed all week felt like the soundtrack to our lives.
The next day we were still buzzing, we’d had such a good stomp after that all the build up of energy over the week and then the performance, people couldn’t stop coming up to us and commenting on how much they enjoyed our performance and begging for our return for the big party in February. We passed the Sunday by beneath a clear sky with the wonderful folk that had invited us down there, then tidied up the caravan and it was time to go home. Separating from the guys at the bus station was quite sad, I’d grown used to each and every one.
After working alone for so many years, travelling alone, creating my shows alone, performing alone, it has been really transformative working in a group. There were moments in the preparation for example that we partook in various exercises and I really felt connected to them. When we huddled together in the opening figure of our show I felt my whole body tingle as our breathing fell into rhythm, moments when we each creatively brought something to the table, sharing our various areas of expertise making the end result a layered and multi dimensional spectacular.
Finally massive thanks to all the wonderful team at Nacimento de Colibri, Seba who took all the wonderful photos and of course the wonderful team of talented artists who I had the pleasure of working with. It was magic!!!
The pictures really stood out in this post! What camera was it?
How did you get into this type of performance? I remember as a kid, the shows with fire were the most interesting to watch…I guess the audience gets a secondary adrenaline rush from just watching haha
Hello there. The pictures were taken by and incredible photographer called Sebastian Vilensky (IG: sebavilensky.photo
http://www.flickr.com/sebavilensky) are his details. I am currently living with a friend who is in Artistic Production so she invites me along to perform. I have written about her and our relationship here https://seekingcircus.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/the-moon-is-in-pieces/. It really is about just getting yourself out there and meeting people. Thanks for the comment 🙂
Pingback: Teaching – Seeking Circus