Moreno Solinas trained as a dancer and choreographer at the London Contemporary Dance School, graduating in 2009. He soon began creating choreographic work in which collaboration was at the heart of the creative processes. He also nurtured his passion for singing, which has become an integral part of his dance work and understanding of the moving body.
Since 2007, Moreno has created dance performances in partnership with Igor Urzelai. Together they want to reclaim theatre as a place for assembly, by acknowledging the present moment in their choreography and exploring the cathartic properties of live performance.
Igor and Moreno are among the founding members of BLOOM! dance collective and have also been curating and disseminating dance as part of Hiru Dance Org. They have toured their works extensively in Europe and the USA, receiving a number of awards and recognitions, including the Rudolf Laban Award 2010, top-20 Aerowaves (2011, 2013) and an artistic residency at the Prix Jardin D’Europe. In 2012, Hiru was selected as a nominee for the ‘h.Club100′ by Time Out London in a search for the most entrepreneurial, influential and innovative people in the creative media in England.
Moreno has been a Work Place artist since 2011, and is also part of Escalator Dance, an Arts Council England (East) initiative. As a choreographer, Moreno’s work has been supported by organisations including The Place (London), CSC-Bassano del Grappa(Italy), Cambridge Junction, Sin Kultural Centre(Budapest), BAD Festival (Bilbao), and Jardin d’Europe.
Igor joined Moreno for this Q&A.
When you were a child, were there ways of moving about or using your body that made you particularly happy?
M: That’s a really hard question! I did quite a bit of bed jumping and bouncing, and I was really into shape-shifting creatures, like Transformer-style things, so a lot of my playing had to do with running around, flying and having various kinds of superpowers. I really liked being horizontal in the water and spinning around, that sense of confusion was really nice. I wonder what that was though, if it was purely the sensation of spinning in the water, or something else.
I: Being a dolphin?
M: It might have been, or some kind of sea creature, yeah.
Was there a particular dance or theatre show you saw that made you want to become a dancer yourself?
M: Actually, my dancing didn’t come from seeing shows, but from a slight hyperactivity as a child, and a pure joy in dancing to music. My parents thought it might be a good idea to channel that energy into some kind of dancing, which brought me to Latin American dance. I didn’t see any ballet or contemporary dance until quite late, and the first show I remember finding inspiring I must have seen when I was 17 or 18. It was by an Italian physical theatre company, and it felt like a show that could change people’s experiences somehow.
I was still doing Latin American and enjoyed the dancing, but I got very bored with the competitions, having to dance always with the same person, and dancing the same routines over and over. Looking for other options I fell into jazz, then ballet, then into contemporary dance. It was my first attempt at improvisation, and using dance as a creative tool or medium, and for me that was really eye-opening. Just the possibility of moving without learning the steps was brilliant.
Who are the dancers, choreographers or theatre-makers that you most admire?
M: Influences vary so much, but we keep going back to Jerome Bel. I think that’s to do with the simplicity of his work, the straightforwardness, and also the logic and the association of ideas: I find it very inspiring and very essential. I could mention so many people that we’ve learned a lot from: we did a choreography workshop with Ann Van den Broek and hearing her talk about her creative process was great; again that had to do with a tendency I see in our own work, to strip down or take away anything that is not necessary. A piece that was inspiring was a solo by Alma Soderberg, who is one of our peers: she made a very simple solo in which she moves and sings, creating the image and the sound of the work. The people we admire are all making what they want to make, without too many compromises; they manage to make the space they need and the support frames they need to do that.
Are there particular impressions or feelings you’d like people to take away from your work?
M: There’s always a desire in our work for an exchange or a communication with the audience: we never invite people simple to witness something which happens on stage. So human connection, or the warmth of the encounter between an audience and a performer. And I hope the work reminds people that we actually are freer than we think, to just do what we want to do, be what we want to be.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
M: Whenever I’m reminded to take a break, or that I need to slow down, that is good advice.
I: Last night, for example. I had to get very angry.
M: Yes, last night. . Thinking about your work at half-past midnight when you need to be up again by six am isn’t alway the way. This is very useful advice for life. This job, this profession, requires so much investment that it’s tricky sometimes to balance your artistic life and personal life, but it’s good to keep an eye on that.
And what advice would you give younger dancers or choreographers?
M: Ask for what you need. It’s really important to understand what is it that actually you need from others: sometimes lack of confidence makes you not ask for what would help you, but if you’re not able to communicate that, no one will help you. Also do it your way; do not assume there is a predetermined way of doing things.
I: That includes sending an email to somebody whom you might want to come and see what you’re doing.
M: It works on all sorts of levels – because generally, people who can do something for you, either on the artistic side or the practical side, will interpret your enquiries as a sign of will to develop, and that has a chain reaction. Also, be surprised about what coolness might look like, or success, or communication. Keep some sense of being who you are.
Outside of dance, what inspires you?
M: Cinema, because of the way it can create an experience for the viewer, by playing with point of view, and changes of atmosphere and detail. And visual arts – sculpture particularly. There’s something I enjoy about the three-dimensionality of sculpture that gets lost in a painting.
What music do you dance to when you’re not working?
M: I really love dancing to Spanish and salsa music.
I: Ah, your salsa roots.
M: Yeah, my salsa roots. It just feels so nice to me.
What does being part of Work Place mean to you?
M: One of the main things is the trust that is associated with The Place trusting us. That trust within the wider dance scene can be very hard to access, because there are so many people trying to make work. Also, the fact that the support is very tailored to what we need is great: The Place take responsibility for the work being carried out in the best possible way.