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On trusting and counting on each other - by Monica Muñoz

Monica Muñoz was commissioned by Tipperary Dance Platform in 2021 to create a dance piece for young audiences. UP-CLOSE will be performed in schools at TDP’21 International Dance Festival


UP-CLOSE revolves around people's often strained relationship with themselves and the world around them. Connection is the only handhold as they struggle. Yearning for it gives a powerful force. It is the trust in each other that gives the performers the opportunity to go from nothing to something, from nowhere to anywhere.

The use and re-use of an object, a car tyre, an ordinary object to create a physical challenge for the dancers so they had their own power, a special life… They wake up or become alive in some weird way, at the same time the tyre becomes central to the process and is regarded as a third cast member. 

I love the idea to create a duet that will be performed in school yards, with two dancers and an object. Focusing on the surface and space impacts the choreographic choices that you can make, and restrictions can create something new by forcing you to solve problems. The desire to explore the duet form derives from a need to re-determine the basic means of creation, alongside the need to define an extremely clear context. The use of the car tyre gives us wings, in this way I like to bring performances to children where performers try everything, even if they fail they keep going… and nothing seems impossible. 

In conversation with Jack and Matt:

How is this process of creating UP-CLOSE?

Jack: I found the process very flexible and there is a lot of space for our creative voice and conversations in the room, with a clear direction.

Matt: Introspective, it is nice to look at our own qualities, how to dig out our own material, from personal language, to be respected as artists in that sense that the choreography is not dictated by the external.

Where are the challenges? 

Jack: There are many layers. Layers of ideas from our own movement language, the human aspect, the use of an object. Combining these ideas and finding different nuances is quite complex.  

Matt: Yes there is a lot going on… but the challenge for me is to create interesting reoccurrence of material and to keep the object engaged with our movement happening at the same time.

What is the tyre for you?

Matt: The tyre is the link between the two of us, the same that a chain has links, this is another link and reason for establishing  a relationship, some things can work with ease when others need hard work.

Jack: I like the many metaphors the tyre can present, but ultimately it presents an opportunity, it presents an alchemy that can happen between two people. There are moments during moving with the tyre and another that you lose the momentum and it falls apart. What do you do? The tyre itself has its own power and even if we create movements for it, the tyre makes its own decisions, that we can’t predict, it is going to crash and we have to adapt in order to save it…  

Matt: and this makes it exciting!!!

Monica Muñoz, Jack Bain and Matt Szczerek

July 2021

UP-CLOSE is a TIPPERARY DANCE PLATTFORM 2021 Commission  for Young Audiences with additional support from Baboró Pathways to Production. Many thanks to Jazmin and Alex for their trust and support to this commission and Roy for his hospitality. We had a ball!!

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