PERFORMANCE — In The Return of La Argentina, Harrell mixes postmodern voguing styles with the Japanese dance/theater form ‘butoh’, co-founded by Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata. Harrell identifies the key sensibilities of voguing in Ohno and Hijikata’s signature work, Admiring La Argentina (1977).
Dedicated to the famed Spanish dancer Antonia Mercé (1890–1936), who was also known as ‘La Argentina’, this work was directed by Japanese choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata and performed by Kazuo Ohno.
La Argentina was trained in classical ballet, and her performances owed as much to her distinctive stage personality and sense of theater as they did to traditional Spanish folk-dance forms. So it is appropriate enough that Admiring La Argentina in no way attempts to replicate her movement style, presence or time but pays her homage.
Where Harlem voguing is inspired by the movements of models, Admiring La Argentina was inspired by La Argentina. Harrell vogues Ohno and Hijikata voguing La Argentina and Merce. This web of danced relationships brings Harrell’s audience on a journey of remembering, forgetting, memorializing, and ritualizing Admiring La Argentina.
Choreography and performance: Trajal Harrell
Technical Manager: Jean Stephane Kiss
Costume Design: Comme des Garçons and the performers