The Scotsman Sessions #82: Daniel Navarro Lorenzo

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, on a traffic island on Melville Place in Edinburgh’s West End, Daniel Navarro Lorenzo performs the full choreography for #STATE, a collaborative online piece he created for 60 dancers in 25 countries

At first, it was just a kind gesture for a few neighbours. Edinburgh-based dancer Daniel Navarro Lorenzo offered to help people keep fit during lockdown by running classes online. But word spread, and soon professional dancers around the world were joining in, leading to a beautiful collaboration.

Choreographed by Navarro Lorenzo, #STATE features 60 dancers from 25 countries, each performing in whatever space they could avail themselves of. A beach in Hong Kong, a living room in Italy, an underground car park in China, a garden in Sweden and many more locations, edited together to unite the dancers in shared movement.

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Navarro Lorenzo himself appears in #STATE for less than ten seconds, so it’s great to see him perform the full choreography for this Scotsman Session. The film was shot on Melville Place in Edinburgh’s West End, a road usually replete with people and cars, but looking eerily quiet during lockdown.

Daniel Navarro Lorenzo

The theme behind #STATE is freedom, perceived rather than real, and this short section cuts straight to the heart of that notion. Backed by a stirring new score by Adrian Blezien Pérez, Lorenzo dances alone on what is essentially an extended traffic island, limbs stretched as if nothing could contain him.

Yet in many ways, he’s trapped – on a small concrete space, in a country locked down – often stopping suddenly as if held back. While it’s always interesting to see dance outside (and the Georgian architecture certainly makes for a dramatic backdrop), that hard pavement underfoot, offering no cushion for bones the way a stage floor would, serves as another reminder of what we’re all missing.

Throughout, there’s a faraway look in Navarro Lorenzo’s eyes, as if his body is rooted but his mind is elsewhere – in another place or time, when freedom of movement is a given.

The full #STATE film can be viewed at www.danlourencodance.com

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