Juliana Javier joined Company Chameleon last year as Chameleon’s first full-time female Company Dancer. Juliana grew up in San Francisco and before moving to Manchester lived in Northern Spain working with Dantzaz Konpainia.
One of the twelve performers in the cast of The Shadow, here we go behind the scenes and talk to Juliana about our new production, which premieres and tours this Autumn.
Q1 | This is the first time you’ve been involved in the creation of a Chameleon production. How’s it been so far?
It’s been so exciting! Chameleon have given me a really strong platform for my creative voice to be heard in this piece of work and it’s so much fun to involve my own experiences and thoughts within the creation. I’ve been living here for over a year now and feel really embedded in the dance community here. I’ve loved being part of the birth of a new Chameleon production, building and creating a new piece of Company rep is such a honour, as is working with such an amazing team of people.
Q2 | How does Anthony’s approach to the creative process differ from other projects that you’ve worked on?
This is completely different to anything I’ve ever done before. Before we began, there was a really intense period of theoretical research which I’ve never experienced before. It’s been so interesting to really embody what this piece is about and understand why the creative process has happened in the way it has and what Anthony’s vision is for the final product. All of the reading and learning we’ve been doing has really sat with me and I feel heavily rooted into the idea behind this production now!
There are lots of different relationships that run through The Shadow, between the characters and the audience and with each other. It’s been a great new experience to really spend some time exploring those and making sure they connect to the audiences. This is also one of the longest creative processes I’ve ever been involved in and one of the biggest creative teams, so it’s allowed for some really deep development which is really exciting. This piece has become such a great collaborative experience between so many artists here at Chameleon and you can really see everyone’s influences in the movement.
Q3 | Have there been any challenges to overcome as part of the process?
We began the R&D for The Shadow in February for a two to three-week period. So, jumping back into that after doing a really long and intense summer tour was difficult but we managed to regain a lot of material quite quickly. I’ve been touring Amaranthine and Witness This since May so jumping into a creation feels like a different world.
Because the topics that we are discussing are so heavily personal and require a lot of reflection and willingness to look within – it’s brought up a lot of things we might not be so readily happy to share and express with everyone. The creative process has really pushed us to be honest and look at our own Shadows and come to terms with them. Mentally, this R&D has been intense but incredibly insightful. This means that everything we are creating is coming from a deeply personal place and we hope the audience really connect to that.
Q4 | Tell us about the creative process.
The creative process has been a series of discussing different topics and ideas that all relate to the subconscious ‘Shadow’ in our brains. We’ve been uncovering how to physicalise that in movement through different improvisations. We mainly started looking at some key words and phrases that may relate to the way we colour our intention and grew different movement improvisation tasks from that.
We’ve looked really heavily at the different types of archetypes so feeding that into any creation has been really interesting and a totally new way of working for me. Although we’ve been addressing some really dark sides to the human brain, we’ve had loads of fun playing around with some movement material and feel like we’re in the process of making something really different to what we’ve seen before.
See Juliana perform in The Shadow this Autumn. Tour dates include Fri 22 & Sat 23 Nov, 8pm, at HOME, Manchester; Tue 26 Nov, 7:30pm at The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University; Sat 30 Nov, 8pm, at University Theatre, Bath Spa University. More info.
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Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!