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Gigs, dance, art

Rosas in May

Slow week, for many reasons I didn’t have much time for anything interesting. So I’m going to go back in the past, which is kinda fitting since the last time I saw Rosas — Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s dance company — was for a couple of backward looking evenings. Even more fitting since both were loaded with ties to my past as a dance fan.

The first was mostly set to music by Steve Reich, my favorite composer, in part because of that very choreographer, but not only: the first piece of his I ever heard was during a dance performance, but it was in Jiri Kylian’s Fallen Angels. And of course I had been wishing she would use Music for 18 Musicians for years before that particular wish came true; Rain might be my favorite — I saw it four times — but it was not part of that evening. Ictus was on stage most of the time, Eight Lines was the only recorded piece.

That show started with Pendulum Music. What a statement! No dance, but it’s better that way: seeing the mikes swinging is rewarding enough. Of course part of the audience seemed to disagree. Next on to Marimba Phase, again without any dance.

Then it was time for Piano Phase, and here came a few boos — shame on them. I had seen Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Michele Anne De Mey perform in within Fase, but this time I was in for a great surprise: not only I had a front center seat with this great piece played on stage by talented musicians, but Cynthia Loemij was dancing. My favorite dancer in one of my favorite piece by my favorite choreographer, with some of my favorite musicians playing one of my favorite work by my favorite composer. As close to a perfect moment as I’m likely to get. I can think of few things that could beat this, and I’m not holding my breath. Of course I loved it.

Eight Lines was new to me, and I thought it was brilliant, even though I was probably too close to catch all of it. A lot was going on, I was following one of the dancers then another, then all for a short while, then back again. On the other hand, I thought that shifting focus was really in tune with the music, so maybe I was lucky to be that close. I was not that high on Four Patterns, but maybe that’s just because the music is more commanding, the moves were slower, and Cynthia Loemij wasn’t dancing.

Then came the only piece not by Steve Reich: Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique pour cent métronomes”. That piece is played by setting in motion a hundred mechanical metronomes at various speeds, until they gradually come to stop. Beautiful visually as well, the motion of the metronomes was mesmerizing. And the last beating one made a great transition to the pulse of the first part of Drumming. I remember that the first time I saw this performance was on my birthday, one of the best gifts I ever had. It was only part of it, but these spirals have been etched in my mind ever since. They closed with a light-hearted encore, with Ictus in the front playing the one piece I didn’t know on wood blocks.

After this amazing performance, the second evening was a bit of a letdown. I liked it, but not as much. I guess part of it came from being seated in the very back and on the very side, but the music played a part as well. The first piece was a part of Mikrokosmos set to a piece by Bartok, who I usually like, but the other two were by Beethoven and Schönberg, and that’s just not my cup of tea. Mikrokosmos dates back to “before my time”, but I had seen the video and the revival, and the costumes and dance style brought me back to the time when I started liking dance. Of course, ERTS was the first performance by Rosas that I ever attended, and here too the memories flooded back, even though the moment most deeply etched in my mind remains the arm moves at the beginning and end of the original performance. The third and last part was from Woud, and I just was not in the right mood at all for that one.

That was a long-winded post, even though I cut a part about Cynthia Loemij that would deserve a post of its own. But these were highlights of the dance season, and even though there was a disquieting taste of closure to these evenings, I’m already looking forward to next year: I already have a front/center ticket for next January, and I think I’ll try to score another one to get a different perspective.

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July 11, 2007 - Posted by | Dance, Life | , , ,

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