the Voz del Cuerpo project

View the trailer in: English Español

About the film

The Voz del Cuerpo project grew out of a single urge, and emerged in two distinct but related creations; the film: La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks, (2013) and the Terpsikon – fundamental sequences of Martha Graham's dance technique Volume 1. (2019)

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The Voz del Cuerpo project is a labor of love, friendship, and exploration. It was conceived of first as a wonderful pretext to work with many old friends from Mexico and the United States, my friends and students of more than two decades, drawing together the threads of US and Mexican dance and music: Graham and folkloric dance, pre-Hispanic music, jazz, percussion, piano. We have in common the wild and unique world of the dancer's life, and a passion for Martha Graham's technique.

The film, La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks, is my personal poetic: what a dancer creates and learns in a life of practice, imagination, performance, and teaching. A profoundly human impulse, dance encompasses ritual, personal expression, training, and creativity. The film's Mexican and American dancers and musicians, trained in contemporary and folkloric forms, show the universals of movement through the technique and repertory of Martha Graham. With original music and visual metaphor, the film follows the unique work of dancers and musicians as they make connections through their bodies and minds with other art forms, with the natural world, and with folkloric dance. La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks shows the rigor of class and the freedom of imagination, and suggests the mysterious tension between art/creativity and technique/training that the artist must resolve in making art. Powerful visual arts, film and dance have distinctly different relationships to time, mind, and body. La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks suspends the ephemerality of the art of dance, captures time, illustrates thought, represents sensation, and explores the process of the dancer.

Since the first time I worked in Mexico in 1981, I've been moved and inspired by the power of its dance tradition, and the visceral quality of its dancers. All over Mexico, in the pueblos and cities, I've seen dancers from young children to grandparents, learn, teach, and dance traditional dances. This made real for me the universality of dance and its roots in human experience. When I first encountered Mtra Guillermina Bravo's contemporary dance company, the Ballet Nacional de Mexico, I saw not only that they trained in Graham technique, but even more striking was how that early generation of 'modern dancers' seamlessly integrated their folkloric training with Martha's technique. For many years the dancers of the Ballet Nacional had visited NY to study, and often invited teachers to Querétaro to teach. In 1993 Mtra Bravo invited me to be Guest Artist/Teacher for her company, and later to choreograph for them. That collaboration grew over many years. We became a close and extended family. It has been an honor and a gift to have shared in and contributed to the company's work, to know and train many generations of its dancers and the students of their school, Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporanea in Querétaro, Qro.

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In 1998 Jaime Blanc, dancer/choreographer for the Ballet Nacional, introduced me to the work of Mtro Rafael Zamarripa and his Ballet Folklorico de la Universidad de Colima. The extraordinary vision of Mtro Zamarripa is that training in the Graham technique brings his acclaimed folkloric dancers deeper into their traditional dance, and more deeply into their bodies. I began to train his dancers in 1998, developing and adapting Martha's technique for their extraordinary virtuosities and particularities. In the process, of course, as with any teacher/dancer relationship, I learned perhaps even more than they did. It has been a transformative professional and personal relationship. Mtro Zamarripa and I have seen in practice proof of the power of Graham’s work to amplify and focus the work of dancers of many traditions and techniques. The company continues to perform their extraordinary folkloric repertoire, to train new generations of dancers in Graham, and to perform contemporary repertoire that stretches the definition of traditional and contemporary dance.

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The Voz del Cuerpo project began as a wishful 'what if...,' but took on reality when Mtro Zamarripa brought the project idea to then Rector of the University of Colima, M.C. Miguel Ángel Aguayo López, whose extraordinary support of art and artists he extended to our project and made the filming possible. I developed and began writing the text for the work during my Fellowship year at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2008/09). We filmed with the University of Colima crew in Colima between 2008 and 2013. Our tee-shirt read “Encuentro en Colima”. What a time we had with each filming session: party and work, introducing dancers and musicians to each other, Mexican and US; eating, dancing, talking, sharing the Graham dance we love, and creating new art.

The film La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks premiered in its Spanish version in Colima, November 2012, followed by the English version in New York in May 2013. The Italian language version came next, and the French is coming soon. The film was chosen as an Official Selection of the New York City Independent Film Festival (2013), the Golden Door International Film Festival (2013), NewFilmmakersNY (2014), and has been seen in museums, universities, and festivals in Mexico, Italy, Spain, and the US. La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks is for anyone interested in the creative life and a deeper knowledge of dance.

Out of the film’s poetic emerged our second creation: Terpsikon, a dictionary of fundamental sequences of Martha Graham’s dance technique Volume 1. With the dancers and musicians of the film La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks, we show Graham’s revolutionary technique through the dancers’ bodies, with original music, visual metaphor and practical and poetic commentary. We hope the Terpsikon will make an invaluable contribution to the teaching and appreciation of the Graham work for students, performers and teachers.

Available at Vimeo on Demand in English and Spanish. Follow the project at Instagram. @terpsikon.dance. For more information you can go to our website: Terpsikon.com, This site has the artists' biographies and will include excerpts of master classes, elements of Graham’s repertory, dialogues with the performers in Spanish and English, and conversations with Mtro. Zamarripa of the Ballet Folclórico de la Universidad de Colima, and Maestra Guillermina Bravo, Director of the Ballet Nacional de México.

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Praise & Commentary

Commentary and Praise for La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks
Screenings in Colima, Mexico and New York City, NY

…Va más allá de un documental, pues plantea una poética de la imagen, construye un discurso estético sustentado en la emoción del movimiento, no nada más en la forma y la precisión.
… es producto de una investigación seria, profesional y científica, ..que utiliza a la tecnología, y que genera nuevos conocimientos. Uno de ellos, el que me llama más la atención, es recuperar a la danza como un producto humano, en el sentido de cultura, pero también de naturaleza. — Dr. Margarita Tortajada Quiroz – Researcher, National Center for Research, Documentation and Information on Dance, “José Limón” - National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico. —

… Goes beyond documentary, in fact establishing a poetic of image, constructing an aesthetic discourse sustained by the emotion of movement, no less than with its form and precision..
… a product of serious research, professional and scientific.. that uses technology, and generates new ideas. One of which I wish to draw especial attention, is to regain for dance, its human quality, in the sense of both culture and nature.*

I don't think I've seen anyone capture the sense of dance on film like you have. The words, the music and the edit all meshed wonderfully together into poetry. And it was such a treat to see those early clips of your dancing. — Terrence Ross - Filmmaker, Professor New York University and Adelphi University —


Christine Dakin ha colaborado con Zamarripa por más de una década …han materializado los principios del arte de la poética que son autoconocimiento, imaginación creadora, ánimo exploratorio, autenticidad y el arte como método de conocimiento. La Voz del Cuerpo queda como testimonio. — Patricia Cardona Lang – Author, Journalist

Christine Dakin, for more than a decade has collaborated with Zamarripa … physicalized principles of the poetics of art which are self awareness, creative imagination, spirit of quest, authenticity and art as a method for learning, La Voz del Cuerpo stands as a testament.*

SPLENDID film. What a wonderful, moving, soulful presentation. — Deborah Foster - Head Tutor and Senior Lecturer on Folklore and Mythology - Harvard University


Thank you for this beautiful gift!! The film is quite remarkable. I loved it!!! — Carla Maxwell – Artistic Director, Jose Limón Dance Company


Dakin relates Graham movement and philosophy to other art forms.. shows its relationship to nature .. demonstrates how essential dance is to life itself. ….the challenge for Dakin, translating the immediacy of her personal movement story to the mechanical medium of film. .. (we) see clearly .. the energy that drives her passion and dedication to dancing. — Gus Solomons Jr. - Journalist, Professor School of the Arts New York University, Director, choreographer PARADIGM


Unequivocally beautiful, indeed poetic, informative, philosophical, and just beautiful to look at. … beautiful editing .. overlapping images,…rhythm. — Jeffrey Wirsing - Textile Artist, Boardwalk Empire


…beautiful and moving … much on which to feast the eyes! — Elisa King – Dancer, and Teacher LaGuardia Performing Arts High School, NY, NY


La poética personal que construye Christine Dakin ..en el espléndido pelicula/video .. radica particularmente en mostrarnos a los bailarines y sus cuerpos en movimiento lejos de la escena, en confrontación con la naturaleza, su poder y su fuerza, en búsqueda de conciliación y encuentro con el origen: la tierra, el agua, el viento, el mundo vegetal, y nos remite a la recuperación de nuestros instintos más primitivos. — Elizabeth Cámara García – Director, National Center for Research, Documentation and Information on Dance, “José Limón” - National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico

The personal poetic Christine Dakin constructs.. in this splendid film.. makes its connection with us especially by showing us dancers and their bodies in movement far from the stage, face to face with nature, its power and force, in the search to discovery and to reconcile our origins: earth, water, wind, plant life, and demands we commit ourselves to regaining our most primitive instincts.*

La Voz del Cuerpo nos deja grandes enseñanzas: es resultado de una multi-investigación, es un producto didáctico y artístico, y nos enseña una gran verdad: la técnica se modifica en los cuerpos a la vez que modifica a los cuerpos, la técnica forma e implica una estética y una ética que permite el conocimiento, el autoconocimiento y abre las puertas para la verdad. — Dr. Margarita Tortajada Quiroz – Researcher, National Center for Research, Documentation and Information on Dance, “José Limón” - National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico.

La Voz del Cuerpo gives us some great lessons: it is the result of a multi-layered research, it is a didactic and artistic creation, and teaches us a great truth: technique mutates in the body as it is changing our bodies, technique shapes and implies an aesthetic and an ethos that permits understanding, self-knowledge, and opens doors to truth.*

*     Translations from the Spanish, © Christine Dakin

Film Credits

La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks
the personal poetics of a Martha Graham dancer

Written and Directed by
Christine Dakin

With thanks and admiration for the dancers and musicians in the United States and Mexico,
who shared their talent and passion
and
Maestro Rafael Zamarripa Castañeda,
for his support and inspiring artistry in art and dance

New York, USA
Heidi Stoeckley (Dancer)
Samuel Lee Roberts (Dancer)
Pat Daugherty (Musician)

Colima, México
Alejandro Avalos (Dancer)
Adriana León Arana (Dancer, coordinator )
Viviana Nava (Dancer, coordinator)
Pedro Palacios Gómez (Musician)
Karla Coyazo (Dancer )
Juan Carlos Gaytán (Dancer, coordinator)
Cristian Azael Gutiérrez Vega (Dancer, coordinator )
Alfredo (Fredy) Torres Gómez (Dancer)
Zoraida Cruz Andrade (Dancer)
Perla Damara Cruz Reyes (Dancer)
Felipe de Jesús Muñoz Saldaña (Dancer)
Omar Alejandro Rojas Ramos (Dancer)
Salvador Sánchez Baraja (Dancer)
Iris Godínez Astorga (Dancer)
Laura Celina Barajas Velasco (Dancer)
Alejandra Torres Larios (Dancer)
Tonatiuh Medina (Dancer)
Ulises Sanabria (Dancer)

Querétaro, México
Sergio Pérez Morales (Dancer )
Raúl Almeida (Dancer)

Mexico City, México
Eduardo González (Musician)

Original Music
Pat Daugherty, Eduardo González,
Pedro Palacios Gómez, Scott Morehouse

Costume
Sergio Pérez Morales

Text translation Spanish
Jaime Blanc

Text translation Italian
Elena Albano

Editor
Steve Mauer

Colorist
Brock Labrenz, An Films LLC

Post Production Consultant
Shana McHugh

Sound Re-Recording Mixer
John Carbonara

Titles
Steve Ganem, Run, Don’t Walk Productions

Sound Recording
John Kilgore, Kilgore Sound and Recording Pedro Palacios Gómez Radio de la Universidad de Colima, Director Mtra. Ana Karina Robles Gómez Oscar Segura, Alejandro González

Sound Engineering
Roman Klun

Additional Video
Jason Nogoy, Enrique Chávez Flores

Artistic Collaboration and Coordination
Maestro Rafael Zamarripa Castañeda
Director of the Ballet Folklórico of the Universidad de Colima

Filmed by
Televisión Universitaria, Universidad de Colima, Colima, México
Director - Mtro. Miguel Macías Amador
Coordinador de producción - Jorge Martínez Durán
Producción - Edith Bracamontes Ceballos
Dirección de cámaras y switcher
Mario Hernández Barreda y Jorge Martínez Durán
Cámara
Jorge Martínez Durán, Alma Méndez Trujillo
with
Aristani Álvarez López, Hugo Ramírez Rodríguez, Mario Ramírez Ramírez
José Luis Macías Quintero, Jorge Farías López

Audio - Ayax Isais Amezcua, Eustolio Magaña Silva
Video tape - Adriana Salgado de la Torre
Coordinación Técnica - Salvador Díaz Cossío

Asistencia de producción
Alejandro Ramírez Huerta, Yunuén Amezcua Chávez, Paulina Rivera Cervantes,
Adriana Salgado de la Torre, Javier Venegas Batista, Monserrat Preciado Ramírez

in collaboration with
Teatro Universitario de Universidad de Colima

Director de Teatro y Producción - Jonathon Aparicio Jiménez
Aline González Balcázar, Sergio Figueroa Morales, Abraham Anguiano Alcaráz, Siuni Aparicio Fuentes,
Julio Hernández Huitzil, Salvador Saucedo Gaspar, Inés Sosa García

Musicians of the Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Colima
Ramón Chávez, Jesús Hernández, Jesús Larios, Roberto Mendoza, Cesar Mendoza,
Jesús Mendoza, Juan Partida, Ramón Preciado, Guadalupe Preciado, Arnoldo Salazar

Fine Arts Institute and the Ballet Folklórico of the Universidad de Colima
Director del Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes - Dr. Anatoly Zatine
Con agradecimiento al ex Director - Esc. Mario Rendón y Lozano
Coordinador General del Departamento de Danza - Mtro. Rafael Zamarripa Castañeda
Coordinador Técnico - Ricardo Munguía de la Cruz
Asistente, Dir. de Taller de Mtro Zamarripa - Raul Ojeda, Juan Pablo Gaytán
Coordinadora Administrativa del Departamento de Danza - Licda. Ma. Guadalupe Reyes Teodoro
Coordinador Académico del Departamento de Danza - Lic. Miguel González Cervantes
Subdirector del Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Colima - Prof. Juan Carlos Gaytán Rodríguez
Coordinador Administrativo del Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Colima - Lic. Cristian Azael Gutiérrez Vega
Secretario Administrativo del Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes - Cp. Julio Pérez Preciado
Secretaria del Departamento de Danza - Laura Elena Gutiérrez Cortes
Coordinador de Talleres Libres del Departamento de Danza - Lic. Fortunato Larios Mejía
Relaciones Públicas - Lic. Enrique Chávez Flores

Secretario General de la Universidad de Colima - Mtro. Christian Jorge Torres Ortíz Zermeño
Coordinador General de Extensión Universitaria - Arq. Juan Diego Gaytan Rodríguez
Departamento de Arte y Cultura - Directora Licda. Gilda Glenda Callejas Azoy

Created with the generous patronage of the University of Colima, Colima, México
Dr. Ramón Arturo Cedillo Nakay – Rector

Development supported by
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Additional support by

Special thanks to
M.C. Miguel Ángel Aguayo López, ex Rector de la Universidad de Colima (2005-2012)
for his extraordinary vision in support of the arts, and La Voz del Cuerpo

all original music Copyright © musicians
Choreography/ Repertory excerpts, filmed in performance and rehearsal
with Martha Graham Dance Company, Choreography Martha Graham

Cave of the Heart - Samuel Barber, Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinsky
Errand into the Maze - Giancarlo Menotti, Acts of Light – Carl Nielsen
Night Journey (adapted for La Voz del Cuerpo ) - William Schuman
Barlande © Pedro Soler and Gaspar Claus - InFiné Editions
Martha Graham portrait - LeRoy Neiman© , The River - Aristide Maillol,
Los Desastres de Guerra - Francisco Goya, The Great Wave off Kanagawa - Hokusai
sculpture for Night Journey staging - Rafael Zamarripa
Federico García Lorca – Obras Completas - Edición Miguel García–Posada Galaxia Gutenberg Circulo de Lectores
Photographs - Copyright © Chuck Kimball, John Deane

Filmed in Colima and Michoacán, México

Thanks to
Sr. Torres, for the pleasure of filming in your Hacienda, and
Sr. Rogelio Rodríguez and his staff at Hotel America

Personal thanks to
Steve Mauer, my better half, for the love, firm hand, patience and theater/editing skill
Maestra Guillermina Bravo, root of the Mexican dance community.
Maestro Jaime Blanc, Elena Albano, Emilia Gracida, Lic. Gabriela Pascal
LeRoy Neiman, for his spirit, his color and friendship

With deep love
for our parents, Jim and Jean Crump, Alvin and Theresa Mauer

La Voz del Cuerpo / The Body Speaks
©Christine Dakin all rights reserved 2012