Mara Galeazzi and Tim Podesta… working together is getting to be a habit!
Working with Mara is always a blessing. The first time I can recall seeing Mara perform was in Chroma and she was so fierce yet had a wonderful fragility that really pulled me in – says Tim.
A few years later I was Directing and Choreographing a new film called ADOR [which has been nominated for this year’s Australian Dance Awards in the category Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media] which brings together incredible dancers from English National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet and many others and it follows the life of a dancer and the highs and lows. We had just finished filming at English National Ballet and I felt that I needed one more dancer and I knew immediately that Mara was the one I wanted. So I got in contact with her and we spoke about the project and thankfully she said yes.
I remember the initial conversation well, Mara was really easy to speak with and the first day in the studio we just worked so well together. We have since worked together on many different projects around the world, it’s a wonderful partnership and a wonderful friendship.
It’s a mutual feeling. Mara responds,
With Tim it’s been like it was meant to be. We have a fantastic working relationship and understanding. We’ve become very good friends and we have always fun working together. He is a very special artist and super generous. I just love working with him and spending time creating things… we have great ideas together.
After several collaborations, including the creation of a new work for Hatch House last year, Mara is about to step into Tim’s territory when this year she will create her first choreography, also for Hatch House. She will be creating the piece on herself.
In Oman I can’t work with anyone so I’ve challenged myself by creating my own choreography.
Since leaving the Royal Ballet three years ago, Mara and her family have been based in Oman where her husband works at The Royal Opera House in Muscat. It is not the only reason she’s creating her own piece… it has been in her mind for a while.
Wayne MacGregor always told me that I should start doing choreography; he always believed that I could do something interesting.
So the Covent Garden Dance Company, which organises the annual event at the 450 seat dinner theatre set in Hatch House’s 17th Century Dutch walled garden, gave her the possibility to try her hand.
Finally, I’m getting the chance to push myself and to perform my first ever choreography.
Tim first worked for the Company last year.
I was working with Mara on the film project and she was telling me about some upcoming performances at Hatch House. I was immediately intrigued and a week later I received an email from Mara and Covent Garden Dance Company Director, Matt Brady, asking if I would like to create a new work for the event.
I created modern a duet called Alta Staré for Mara and American dancer Peter Chursin which focused on the strength of character and strong will that Mara’s role had with in their relationship. The narrative was enhanced by the beautiful surroundings and the atmosphere for the entire evening was like nothing I had experienced from an evening of live theatre.
And no, he hasn’t been elbowed out by Mara, but he’s back again this year creating another piece with her.
This year at Hatch I am really excited to be creating two new works and both are very contrasting.
I have begun work on a new solo for Mara titled The Architecture of Loss, which is very modern and really pushes Mara’s incredible range both physically and emotionally.
The other work is a short ballet based on the libretto by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham called Les Copines.
I am really looking forward to getting started on Les Copines. It will feature some incredible artists from the Royal Danish Ballet, English National Ballet and the wonderful Mara Galeazzi too! What captured me immediately is the potential to create a new ballet where the essence of the work is character driven which I don’t believe you see that often in short works anymore.
Mara’s piece will be set to When I am Laid in Earth from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
I didn’t chose the music myself. I was given it by Matt Brady last year… he thought it would suit me. Originally I thought that I would have a choreographer to work with me, but recently I chose to do it myself.
I’m not going to follow the story of Purcell’s opera, but it will reflect the feelings of Dido, the remembrance of her pain and loss.
It will be neoclassical in style, though my idea one day is to create something very contemporary.
A graduate from The Australian Ballet School, Tim Podesta was forced to stop dancing because of knee injuries.
I knew I still wanted to be involved in dance and I had a vision where I could have multiple, yet diverse projects all happening under the one banner.
So in 2006 he founded PROJECTion Dance.
The ‘PROJECT’ in PROJECTion Dance really is about highlighting the many different projects that we manage. It’s an incredibly exciting company to be a part of. As well as our performances we work in education, inclusive dance, dance science, film/online media and regional outreach which I am particularly focused on in Australia because we have a huge regional population without a lot of access to ballet and dance.
My wife and I have just opened a new arts building in Regional Victoria, called the Impact Dance Lab which has huge studio space, a gym, therapy room and a cafe, where the focus is to bring together artists in to environment that breeds creativity.
Interestingly, Tim didn’t have an eye on dance making as a dancer, though he did love having works created on him.
Something shared by Mara who worked extensively on new pieces during her years as a Royal Ballet Principal:
I’ve always loved working with new and interesting choreographers and different styles. It is such an inspiring experience and very challenging. I hope I’ve absorbed everything they’ve given me. I’m always wanting to explore.
Whereas Mara mused about one day doing some choreography, Tim was pushed into it rapidly, which astonished even him.
Choreography came about through me exploring different avenues after retiring from performing.
In Australia we have the Australian Choreographic Competition which I entered in 2006. I loved working with the dancers trying to find solutions to overcome creative hurdles. Surprisingly I won and opportunities started to come my way.
The Timara collaboration continues intensely in 2016 after already having worked together for the Ballet Stars Under the Stars gala in Australia in January, they will be Baryshnikov Arts Center for a week from 4 June.
The focus is on the audience experiencing real time piece development where Mara and I will be working on her solo Architecture of Loss for London.
While there, they will film a short film for the I Sustain Beauty campaign for Davines hair and cosmetics. There is a fundraising Gala in Ethiopia, they will be coaching at Ballet Cymru’s Wales International Ballet Summer School in August and then there are two new works premiering in Australia.
It looks as though Tim Podesta has found his muse.
When you’re working with people like Mara with such a rich and thorough knowledge of dance and dance history how can you be anything but inspired to create!