Luis with wings

In Memoirum:
Luis Biasotto

Luis Biasotto, renowned Argentinian dancer, choreographer, director, teacher and co-founder of Grupo Krapp, died of complications from COVID-19 on May 16, 2021 in his home town of Córdoba, Argentina. Biasotto was 48. Of his untimely death, Luciana Acuña, his long-time artistic partner and friend wrote– “Who am I going to jump into the void with now? A child genius and fragile in the body of a titan. An overflowing humor in the expression of a colossus. Pure contradiction. Pure search for the unusual and the extreme. Luis moved comfortably in the abyss. The emptiness, besides giving him panic, gave him peace of mind. A brave being, by nature. A contemporary hero out of a Marvel comic book. To rehearse with Luis was not being able to stop admiring him, to be surprised at every moment, to burst out with laughter and to be certain of sharing the world with a being from another planet. How to dance again without you?”

He began his extensive training at the University of Córdoba, where he graduated with a degree in Performing Arts, with a focus on dramaturgy, theater and dance. Subsequently, he completed a master’s degree in Spain. Among his teachers were Ricardo Bartís, Alejandro Tantanián, Rafael Spregelbur, Gustavo Legart, Roxana Grinstein, Gilles Jobis and Giuseppe Ferrara.

In 2000 he created Grupo Krapp with Luciana Acuña, and throughout their prolific time working together premiered shows that transcended category, performing in the United States, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela, Portugal, Germany, Uruguay, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland. Among the group’s plays, in which he acted as director, author and performer, are “No me besabas”, “Hielo negro”, “El loro y el cisne”, “Mendi-olaza”, “Olympica”, “Adonde van los muertos (Lado A y Lado B)” and “El futuro de los hipopótamos”. He also worked in Mexico with the company Tumaka Danza, creating the work “Yo, antes es ahora”.

As a choreographer/ director, he presented “Laura”, “Mr. Bunque”, “Bajo, feo y madera”, “Cuando se machuca el cerdo”, “Rubios”, “Trampa para fantasmas”, “Yo. Am. She”, “Things that happen”, “Africa”, “October”, among others. He was a choreographer for many plays including, “Shangay”, “El niño argentino”, “Catch”, “Electra Shock”, “Madre Coraje”, “Coquetos carnavales”, “Demasiado filósofo para el amor”. As a performer, he shone in “Fractal”, “Mirá que Dios te mira”, “Llueve”, “Octubre (un blanco en escena)”, “Pequeña Troya”, “Rubios”, “Por favor sangra”, “Canalla”, and “Ciudades imaginarias”.

He worked with Francis Ford Coppola in the film “Tetro”, as acting coach of the protagonist Vincent Gallo. He worked as artistic advisor in theater and/or dance shows such as “@pedro_hashtag”, “Selfie, luego existo”, “Inútil”, “Catálogo”, “Caipirinha” As a director, Biasotto created: Africa, Buenas Intenciones en 1:19”, YO antes es ahora, Octubre, (un blanco en escena), Bajo feo y de Madera (Una pieza olvidada), Nocau Técnico, 36 reconstrucciones, Mr. Bunque, Demasiado filoso para el amor, Cuando se machuca el cerdo, and Muñequitos and Cosas que Pasan a co-production between La-Villette-Paris and the Centro Cultural San Martín, Buenos Aires. These works have been shown in Argentina, Chili, Mexico, Panama, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and France. Luis Biasotto has also collaborated with other Argentinian artists such as Mariano Pensotti, Carmen Baliero, Lola Arias, Alejo Moguillansky, Mauricio Kartun, Luis Cano, among others. Biasotto’s awards, honors and grants include the following: Zürcher Kantonalbank Förder-preis and Anerkennungspreis for Africa (2013), Trinidad Guevara prize for choreography for Luis Cano’s Coquetos Carnavales (2010), Grupo Krapp was awarded the Konex prize (2009), Olympica won first prize for the region of CABA at the Fiesta Nacional del Teatro in (2008), The best Show at Feria Internacional de Teatro y Danza Huesca for Mendiolaza (2005). In addition, Biasotto received significant institutional support from: Fundación Antorchas, Instituto Prodanza, Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Fondo Metropolitano, Instituto Nacional del Teatro, Fondo Iberescena, among others. Since 2010, Mr. Biasotto was on faculty at University of Arts in Buenos Aires where he taught choreographic composition.

Expressions of shock and sympathy filled social media outlets throughout Latin America, and beyond, as artists and friends remembered his immense contribution to dance and theater, and his startlingly unique vision as an artist. “Mendiolaza”, which was presented by The American Dance Festival in 2005, followed by successful engagements at UC Berkeley, presented by Cal Performances, and at LaGuardia Community College /CUNY. Gia Kourlos, writing in the New York Times described Grupo Krapp as using, “…rich imagery and heightened abstraction to convey feelings of isolation, otherness, profound loneliness, marginalization, and desperation in a surreal environment…. Underscoring a tense interplay of sensations, images and actions which ultimately, attest to the fragile condition of the human soul.” ~ New York Times, Au-gust 4, 2006.

Ecuadorian writer and long time friend of the Luis Biasotto and Luciana Acuña, Dani Alcivar, writes of Grupo Krapp “…..because the language they have created in these almost twenty years is alien to all other languages, and makes singularity an exercise always taken up again: to build and destroy are actions and desires that cannot be differentiated and to that extent expel any metalanguage, any approximation, which does not mean that Krapp’s scenic and corporal practice is alien to thought and even to theory. No: what happens is that they write and think with movement, with contortion, with stammering, with convulsion, with silence or with shouting, with error rather than affirmation. The Krapps break, they break, they break it. We call it theater but it is also music, cinema, literature, rough dance, elegant in its rejection of the conventional forms of elegance.”

Luis Biasotto and Luciana Acuña had planned to join a pre-pandemic propuesta coreografica– working title “How To Stay in a Dream (or) Ratas de dos Patas”, with U.S. dance artists, Amy Chavasse, Austin Selden, Nola Sporn Smith, and Mexican dance artist Paty Lorena Solórzano. It was re-conceived as an online collaboration in Fall 2020. The six artists had been meeting twice weekly since January 2021, sharing ideas, perspectives and building a wildly diverse array of materials through Zoom. The influence of Luis’s vision lives on in this forthcoming project.

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