This year, in its sixth edition, PRISMA has the participation of 15 groups that were selected from more than 500 proposals received in response to our open call. Making this selection was not an easy task, neither for our jury nor – in the process of initial filter and final selection – for the direction of the festival. However, beyond parameters in terms of quality and technique, and a sense of non-verbalized aesthetics, we are guided by a “negative”: we do NOT seek to entertain. At least, not at the cost of artistic value. We do not want to be part, in the words of the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, of the “spectacle civilization”. We want to motivate, inconvenience, challenge, pull, … encourage our viewers to believe, to shout, to see the body in a different way, to think about our society and our civic sense based on dance. Pleasing them and having fun is not a priority.
Culture, argues Vargas Llosa, is being considered as a form of entertainment, which has resulted in the loss of “quality, depth, excellence and … above all, that critical capacity that culture traditionally had to question the established”. 1 The culture of our times, often concerned more with immediacy and the need to satisfy its audience than with concepts – in direct competition with other forms of entertainment – suffers from “cheapening, frivolization, trivialization … and growing forms of idiocy and vulgarity. ” 2 This is, of course, a generalization and, fortunately, there are many exceptions. However, this seems to be the trend.
Although Panama does not escape from this reality without borders, in PRISMA we try, from the beginning, to go against it. We wanted – and want – to offer you the opportunity to feel something more than the pleasure of observing something that you consider “beautiful” or fun. We want you to allow yourself to be vulnerable, but at the same time demanding with yourselves as spectators through a self-questioning, from the corporal experience.
What made me feel? Was it pleasant or unpleasant? What moved me? If I felt something, what elements contributed to my doing it? Is it music? Were the silences … the use of space … the lighting? Or will it have simply been the quality of movement that the dancers used in their movements … or in their stillness? Did the choreographer want to pose a concept? Do I share it now or do I oppose it with more conviction? Did it make me question my previous position? Do I have references, in dance or in other arts, that allow me to associate this proposal with others? Was there something that connected me with past experiences? With my current mood? .
Although it is our will to promote this internal discussion, the experience that takes place in the exchange between artists and you, as spectators, belongs only to you. The rest – the wonderful technical and administrative team of PRISMA, their committed volunteers and the direction of the festival – we only set the game on stage, we put the chips in their place, but it is you who play: each one your own version, with his own introspection, with his own body as a receptacle. And in that game there are no rules or losers. Everyone wins.
Let the game of dance begin …
Analida and Ximena
1 Mario Vargas Llosa, 2012. Interview conducted by Fernando Sánchez Dragó within the framework of Las Noches Blancas, with reference to his work La civilización del espectáculo, May 16, 2012.
2 Mario Vargas Llosa, 2007. El País newspaper, June 3, 2007