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Suzana Goes 'Glitter'

Suzana-Stage Self-described "entrepreneurial interdisciplinary artist" Suzana Stankovic always has something unique up her sleeve. The dancer/choreographer has performed at famed NY venues such as The Joyce Theater, Dance New Amsterdam Theater, and Florence Gould Hall.

Stankovic enjoys exploring issues of sexuality and gender identity.  The new work "Blood / Nectar / Glitter" is no exception. A work of ballet and physical theater, the piece features Stankovic, one dancer and two actors in interwoven emotional episodes, the first narrative, the second surreal. The hour-long show also features recitations of Stankovic's poetry as well as works by Emily Dickinson and Anne Sexton.

We recently caught up with the New York native rushing between rehearsals and tech. Here are excerpts of that conversation.

Back Stage: What is the significance of the title "Blood, Nectar, Glitter"?

Suzana Stankovic: 'Blood' refers to what I consider my blood pieces in the show—emotional pieces that have been woven together. They chronicle the process of unmasking yourself—being in a dark wilderness within myself. Breaking away from a familiar path, where everything is defined for you and you just need to plug yourself in.

'Nectar' refers to some of the sexual stuff I'm exploring. Nectar has a quality of excess to it—when we think of nectar we think—overly sweet, overly sticky, it's all over—so nectar for me is a texture that I'm working with. A sappiness, a sugary-sweetness, a gooeyness, a stickiness. You will see that texture in movement or in the text.

'Glitter' is meant to refer to the things that we desire—the things that sparkle before our eyes, but then often times when we get those things they're not what we thought they were... Like a woman looking into Bloomingdale's window, and thinking, "Oh, I want those shoes." But the shoes are not going to give her what she thinks they are in terms of her self worth. Glitter is about what's on the surface.

BS: What are you trying to communicate with this show?

SS: I am expressing the nuances of the private life that are behind the mask that most of us wear in our public lives. To some extent we all present ourselves in a certain way in the public realm, and when we're home—when we're just alone in our skin—there are just so many layers and doubts, and I'm exploring them. I'm putting them in the spotlight.

BS: How does the poetry fit into the piece?

SS: I'm using poetry by two women poets. I think their poetry is very fierce, and if you consider the time in which it was written it makes it even more poignant, and makes me admire them even more.

This poetry was written with a great sense of personal truth—a great sense of "I have to say this, I've got to put this down on paper, this is my voice, and this is what I have to say." They wrote about timeless themes that women are exploring today, whether it is sexuality, romantic love, empowerment, the desire for more freedom, or motherhood.

BS: You have said before that you approach dance as an actor. Can you elaborate?

SS: I approach my movement with a strong sense of purpose, and with a sense of deliberately expressing something of the human experience. Usually I cannot dance without a reason. It's exercise to me then... When I am onstage, I need to have a source—an emotional reason for every action that I make. It puts me on a whole other level.

BS: What do you look for in a collaborator on stage?

SS: I look for an unspoken connection... I'll describe my vision, and I can just see it in their eyes—they get it—they've either lived it, or their thinking is wide enough that they can just put themselves in that state of mind, or feeling.

I'll just say, alright, music's on. Or alright, let's do it again, and I see it. Something opens inside of them. And even if it wasn't perfect, when I see that something has opened, it's like fertile ground. Then I know, wow, I can shape something with this person.

(Photo by Alexandros Giannakis)

Part of the Dream Up Festival, remaining performances of "Blood / Nectar / Glitter" will be held at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at East 10th Street) on Mon., Aug. 29 at 7:00 p.m.; Tues., Aug. 30 at 9:00 p.m.; Thursday, September 1 at 7:00 p.m.; and Sat., Sept. 3rd at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at www.theaterforthenewcity.net or (212) 254-1109.

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Suzana is an amazing pioneer in the world of dance. Trying to describe her performance art is like trying to nail jello to a tree. She works on so many different levels that it's hard to keep up with her. She is a skilled dancer, no doubt about that. I've done two Tommy Tune shows, and though I'm not a dancer, I know when a dancer has nailed it, and I know when a dancer has just phoned it in. Suzana nails it every time! She may be the only Actor's Studio dancer I've ever seen. I wish I was a dancer so I could dance with her.

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