By Irene Trejo
Dedicated to the study of exploration, movement and creation, Diego Vega (Los Mochis, Mexico) is one of the most representative figures within dance nowadays. His work is based in the development of creative processes where repetition is used to create deep connections through the use of the body.
Diego is the founder of Nohbords, which he directed from 2014 to 2020. This year, he started a Dance and Space Cycle called Trazo, in which he facilitates collaborations with artists from different disciplines. In the past, he has collaborated with artists such as Pedro Reyes and Juanita Onzaga, and he has exhibited his work in different physical and virtual spaces around the globe including Nowness, Doc Lounge Göteborg Festival, Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli, and Design Film Festival NY.
Madre caught up with Diego in CDMX to ask him some questions about his practice and current interests.
Let’s start by getting to know more about your trajectory; where are you from, and how you discovered dance?
I started to dance professionally in 2010. It was January 10th, to be exact. I was on a trip in Hermosillo, Sonora. I like to think about it as my destiny; I attended a contemporary dance class as a spectator, but I ended up being part of it for a whole week. And this was where I met my professors, Miguel Mancillas and Isaac Chau, directors of the dance company and school Antares. They were in charge of my training and helped me develop as a professional dancer.
At what point did you realize what the body is capable of expressing through dance and how do you describe it… What do you feel?
Every time I think about it, it seems more of a circumstance or coincidence. I think that dancing has always been inside me. I have always understood that the only thing I have is my body and the ability to understand it — everything parts from this. Movement is the central axis of my personal construction and understanding of the world. Dance has been my mojo since I was a kid, and doing it professionally has provided me with tools that have allowed me to evolve, understand, analyze, and discover it from an intellectual perspective.
But, when it comes to expression, I keep going back to much wilder and more primal places. I like the idea of reviving that which attends to our instinct. I find it more enriching for my search as an artist, but also as a human being; and this has allowed me to continue deepening and investigating everything that my mind cannot understand. There is an inherent relationship between my body and my emotions. They remind me of a fragility that helps me to find myself attentive to the experience of moving, without needing more. I have never felt that I need an external motive to satisfy my desire to move.
How did you start developing a unique style and expression?
I have never felt that I have a style of my own, or at least I don’t think about it like that. I could even say it scares me to think of this need. The way I perceive actual creation comes from a place which attends aesthetics — what I understand as style — as forms that arise over and over again, and that, as artists, we re-functionalize. We make use of the creative legacy that has been woven throughout the history of art. It would be clumsy to believe that we are a single current or a total reference within the global trend we find ourselves at. As it would be naive to pretend that there is no possibility for other artists to access all the information that allows them to feel under the same effect. We all believe that we are creatively reinventing something.
I believe that there are certain characteristics within my work which can be distinguished or become evident for the spectator because of the constant use of patrons and conducts and their repetition. And that by functioning as solutions for certain factors of what I understand as creation, they become codes that permit me to create a kind of language. A language that, from my imagination, works as a tool that makes communication with the external eye possible even when the message is completely abstract. That is to say, rather than thinking about having my own style or methodology, I like to feel that what I do is deepen my interests, my desires, what attracts me and want to communicate creatively and bodily.
Which theories and/or metaphors do you explore the most within your practice?
One of the central axes of my research is the circle — understanding this pattern as the infinite, the cyclical, the continuous… I like to perceive the body from this quality when dancing. Gravity and centrifugal force are other qualities that are always present in my physical work. There is a tendency to want to control what is perceived as audacity: vertigo, balance, dizziness, outburst, haste, and speed.
There is a very particular use of mathematics as a tool that allows us to understand the “account” as a door towards active meditation and, on the other hand, one that is directly related to my need to search for extraordinary physical and mental alliterated states. Violence as a concept potentiates the body structure as a way in which I like to feel the body from opposite places; the exaltation, the excitement, the rigor, the suffocation, the restraint, the tension, the dislocation.
What are your current interests?
I would divide my work in two key lines of research: mysticism and architecture (space).
How does your process for a new performance emerge, and how does it develop?
Every process is very different. Each piece has its own process and this varies depending on everything that composes it. This is what attracts me the most about creating, that even when interests repeat, or the investigation is similar, what builds every workpiece is the alteration of the method from the intervention of the thought, to those who are involved in its construction.
To finish, would you tell us about Trazo and the plans you have for it within the near future?
Trazo is a contemporary dance cycle that hosts solos and short-format duets. The cycle seeks to give visibility to contemporary dance through intervening physical spaces and architecture, thinking of both as a possibility of creation, lecture, and as an approach to the practice from places that weren’t designed for the discipline (dance). There has always been a concern inside of me about being able to promote dance in a country where the standard for art and culture is basically corruption and precariousness. This is why generating these encounters and platforms — manifesting themselves as a possibility or exit towards alternative formats of presentation for dance — from self-production and independence, are key within my imagination.
For Trazo’s first edition, which took place this last April, I presented two pieces: The first one was DOS, a choreography directed by me and performed by dancer Emiliano Jiménez. It is worth mentioning that the process towards this piece was virtual, we did all the work online. Same happened with the composition of the music. It was created by the multidisciplinary artist Harley Cortez, who worked on the project from LA. The second piece is titled UNO, a soloist that I premiered for Trazo. It had been previously presented as a work in progress.
Follow Diego Vega: @diegovegasolorza
Photos by: Paulo García and Lorenzo Navas