Behind the Puzzle Pieces: The Making of Las Piezas

A documentary short by Filipino dancer, choreographer, writer and director Tiffany Mangulabnan about the collaborative creation process behind 'Las Piezas' (The Pieces), a piece all the more ephemeral for its never making it to the stage. The film looks at the collaboration that took place between Brooklyn-based contemporary ballet company konverjdans and four Colorado-based female artists (composer MinTze Wu, poet Bianca Godina, costume designer Katie Browne, and dancer Katherine Bolaños) during konverjdans' July 2021 choreographic residency with Dance Initiative in Carbondale, Colorado -- all while Mangulabnan, stuck in her hometown of Manila during the pandemic, choreographed and collaborated with the artists over Zoom. An in-depth look into seven artists' process of "converging" with one another, the film answers the artists' question: How do we thread together the seemingly disparate pieces of our music, movement, poetry and design, and create something meaningful together, even across oceans?

  • Tiffany Mangulabnan
    Director
    HER PRIDE, Parecemos
  • Tiffany Mangulabnan
    Writer
    HER PRIDE, Parecemos
  • konverjdans
    Producer
    When I Learned to Sing, Windowsill, Returning, Falling Dreams
  • Dance Initiative Carbondale
    Producer
  • Katherine Bolaños
    Key Cast
  • Bianca Godina
    Key Cast
  • Tiffany Mangulabnan
    Key Cast
    Windowsill, Falling Dreams, When I Learned to Sing, Viriditas, Returning, Parecemos
  • Jordan Miller
    Key Cast
    Windowsill, Falling Dreams, When I Learned to Sing, Returning
  • Amy Saunder
    Key Cast
    Windowsill, Falling Dreams, When I Learned to Sing, Viriditas, Returning, Diagonally, Oceans Ago
  • MinTze Wu
    Key Cast
  • Amy Saunder
    Cinematographer
  • MinTze Wu
    Music
  • Tiffany Mangulabnan
    Choreography
    (Listening) Through Walls, You Can Be Baby Too, Realigned, Nobody Knows Our Names, Waking/Dreaming Space, Cascata, In Her Words
  • Bianca Godina
    Poetry
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Dance, Music, Poetry, Collaboration
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 22, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Watch Party: Behind the Scenes of the konverjdans/Dance Initiative Residency
    Carbondale, Colorado
    United States
    October 24, 2021
    World Premiere
Director Biography - Tiffany Mangulabnan

Tiffany Mangulabnan is a Filipino dancer, choreographer, writer, director, and co-founder of konverjdans, a Brooklyn-based contemporary ballet company. She was born and raised in Manila, Philippines, where she performed for several years as a principal dancer with the Philippine Ballet Theatre, dancing the leads in full-length ballets like 'Swan Lake', 'Carmina Burana', and others. She moved to New York City in 2012, performing with BalletNext under the directorship of former American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet principal dancers Michele Wiles and Charles Askegard for four years. She went on to be a part of contemporary ballet companies such as Emery LeCrone DANCE, Pigeonwing Dance, Gleich Dances, Indelible Dance, Claudia Schreier & Co., Terra Firma Dance, Alison Cook Beatty Dance, and Matthew Brookoff Dance. As a performer, she has earned praise for delivering “the most intense moment [of a piece] . . . in a thrashing solo” (The New York Times), for having “the most magnetism and spirit [among a group of performers]” and showing “improvement and more depth of character with each performance” (Broadway World).

Since co-founding konverjdans with Amy Saunder and Jordan Miller in 2016, Tiffany has performed as well as choreographed, collaborated on and directed several works for the company, such as 'STRATA' (2017), which was chosen for the 2018 Women in Dance Leadership Conference in NYC; ‘(Listening) Through Walls’ (2017), which was chosen for the 38th Annual Battery Dance Festival; 'Realigned' (2018), which was chosen for the 2018 Periapsis Music & Dance Festival; ‘You Can Be Baby Too’ (2018); ‘Nobody Knows Our Names’ (2019); ‘Cascata’ (2020); 'Waking/Dreaming Space' (2020); and ‘Las Piezas’ (2021). She has also directed, written, choreographed, and edited her own dance films, such as 'HER PRIDE' (2020), a collaboration with NY-based dancer Cortney Taylor Key; 'Parecemos' (2021), a collaboration with Colombia-based worldbeat band Numasbala; 'She is Water' (2021), which won Filipino dancer Tessa Tordesillas the gold medal in the International Youth Dance Competition in Hong Kong; and 'Behind the Puzzle Pieces' (2021), a documentary short film featuring konverjdans and Dance Initiative Carbondale.

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Director Statement

'Las Piezas', the dance piece that 'Behind the Puzzle Pieces' chronicles the creation of, never made it to the stage because of a COVID case that cropped up among the theater crew in Colorado two days before its scheduled performance. As it stands, this 20-minute film is the only piece of evidence that exists of the fleeting collaboration that took place among seven female artists, who were scattered around the globe when they began working together.

Aside from being the first documentary short I've ever put together, it's special to me because it encompasses many of the things I love about creating work with artists who are different from me, who come from varying backgrounds and have variously loud, opinionated, surprising, soft, and beautiful voices. With 'Behind the Puzzle Pieces', I hope to show how artists (and people) can come together from very different places, and learn from and grow with one another, even when borders and a global pandemic separate us.