SAETA – The Mourning
SAETA - The mourning
Single screen film (5:49min)
Summary Statement (300 words)
The Roma, a marginalized community within Spain, has long been revered for their performance artistry, yet at the same time severely ostracized within social settings. This contradiction creates a tension which is revealed through flamenco song and dance.
Two crucial elements of the mourning period for the Roma are the singing of Saeta and the wearing of the black veil. The Saeta is a form of traditional religious song with the distinguishing feature that it is never accompanied by dance nor music instruments.
Saeta is an ethnographical exploration of the self, identity construction and traditions and uses dance to explore the tension that arises when these ideas are explored via movement. The work asks how a screendance performance that involves traditional flamenco music and dancing reflects the intersubjective pressure. The film uses Flamenco traditional music and religious objects and gestures to convey the mental anxiety and ways that hostility manifests itself in the body. The dance film reflects the intersection of dance and social activism as it pertains to my personal exploration of developing a modern Flamenco piece. The choreography aims to make the invisible marginalised narratives of traditional embodied practices visible using objects, camera techniques and contemporary dance vocabulary.
- Using Flamenco, the film aims to explore how subjectivity, cultural traditions and contemporary dance practice can reflect tension and hostility of a social reality.
- How is personal positionality influenced by the politics of identity and digital technologies such as a camera?
- What does Flamenco that is breaking traditions that are tied to gender norms look like?
- Can a sacred religious object prime a dancer to generate movement?
Related documents and publications:
- Paper presented at Body^Space^Object^Memory^Identity – May 2015 (Coventry, UK). Download PDF. Presentation exploring the historical context of the Spanish Roma community in relation to Spanish Holy Week, and the manner objects (the Comb and black lace) are integrated into this tradition. The presentation framed the tensions that emerge when the objects are used outside of this religious context and the Saeta dance film was an example of this rigidity.
- Paper accepted for Light Moves Festival “Old Ways of seeing, New ways of being. Spanish Traditions and Flamenco” – Nov, 2016 (Limerick, Ireland). Download PDF. Presentation explores how Saeta is when paced alongside Pablo Berger’s silent film Blancanieves both are questioning the role of objects in relation to Spanish folklore. Berger’s re-working of the Brothers Grimm classic, Snow white/Blancanieves incorporates the stereotypical symbols associated with Spain, Roma, tragedy, bull fights, love, and extremely pertinent to SAETA, religious items. Both films are an archive and a site of exploration where the corporeal language reveals a truth of Spain’s dark past of appropriating cultures and commodification of the sacred objects.
- Research Seminar: “Identity Politics: Dance Films, Flamenco and the Romani Community” Nov 2016 (Coventry, UK). Presentation explores how the dance short film, SAETA and a medium-length documentary, explore image identity, oral traditions and embodiment of history. Both films were created to offer the viewers another perspective of the flamenco art form and challenge the imagined fantasies that are often associated with flamenco. The seminar highlights how dance short films and documentaries can be used to enhance our understanding of a marginalised culture and reflect on identity politics.
- Romani Arts Centre “Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Arts & Culture National Symposium II” – Jan 2017 (Swansea, Wales). Download PDF. Paper framed the communicative methodology and how this approach informed my research and dance practice. The presentation explored how Saeta includes reflections on the tension that emerges when religious objects are used within a performative context.
- RomArchive 2019: Daniel Baker and Rosamaria Cisneros Collection: romarchive.eu/en/dance/baker-and-cisneros-collection. The RomArchive is a digital archive for Romani arts and cultures. It archives works from all genres and augments them with contemporary documents and scholarly appraisals. Each section of the Archive is the responsibility of its respective curatorial team, who have also selected the contents. As an internationally accessible space that renders Romani cultures and histories visible, RomArchive is responding both to the ascriptions perennially imposed by others and to entrenched stereotypes by providing counter-narratives told by Roma themselves.
- Broken Knuckle Film Festival NY, USA (2016): festical.ca/BrokenKnuckleFilmFestival
- Rio Web Festival Rio, Brazil -Award for best dance video (2016): riowebfest.net/
- Open Art Short Film Festival in Dusseldorf, Germany (2016) Facebook: facebook.com/Open-Art-Surgery-Project-976363665762788/
- Festival de videodanza internacional-Videomovimientos Colombia, South America (2016): videomovimiento.com/2013-2/
- Cyprus International Film Festival “Golden Aphrodite” Paphos, Pafos (2017): cyprusfilmfestival.org
- ScreenDance Festival Stockholm, Sweden (2017): screendancefestival.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Program_Screendance.pdf
- MAP Frame + Form Film Dance Festival North Carolina, USA (2017): fullframefest.org/attend/maps/
- Golden Wheel Roma Film Festival Skopje, Macedonia (2020)
Header Image Credit:
© Koko Zin (2016)