This week I am happy to write about an ambitious new dance short by the talented and wonderful Lombard Twins. Shot in the recent favored location for so many dance films – the abandoned building – this one is set apart because rather than luring us in with heady, high concept contemporary choreography, Escualo features very entertaining, very percussive, very fast Tap.
With white light from the moody high windows, the bareness of the warehouse style wooden floor, and the tap shoes alone making a singular statement, Escualo bounces back and forth from serious dramatic flair to serious lightheartedness. Like the other dance shorts choreographed, co-directed, and edited by Martin and Facundo Lombard, Escualo favors the duo’s usual dramatic sweeping shots across the floor as they dance their way towards and sometimes past the camera, the work of Director of Photography Mike Mitchell.
The Spanish word for shark, Escualo demonstrates the dynamic duo as anything but that, and yet as definitely having a canny ability to entertain and pull us in with their warmth and humanity. Unlike Chant et Fugue, in which they seemed almost indistinguishable in terms of their lanky line and movement quality, in this short they come across as distinct yet inseparable individuals, which I love. And like Chant et Fugue, this short also features the wonderful music of Astor Piazzolla.
I spoke with Martin and Facundo and learned that Chante et Fugue, as well as Escualo, were part of a suite of dances created in 2008 called Lombard Plays Piazzolla and performed at New York’s City Center. The twins were so inspired by Piazzolla’s music that they created these pieces as a tribute to it. They wanted to introduce young dancers and the dance world in general to his work. Named by Piazzolla himself, the composition of Escualo was based on the composer’s own experiences in catching a shark while fishing. In creating their choreography, Martin and Facundo were not trying so much to entertain as to express how the music makes them feel, and to capture the emotional content of the composition.
The Lombard Twins’ inspiration for creating films in the first place is based on a desire to make their work last longer and be accessible to a greater number of people.
“It’s an amazing feeling when you perform in the theater. You go home, you are excited but then you have to go perform in another theater to feel that again. Dance in the theater only lasts moments but when you make a film it can last forever. It’s amazing.”