Gigs, dance, art

March 27th, 2008: Gilles Jobin – Text to speech

@théatre de la ville

I guess that’s the drawback to reducing the price of tickets to fill up the place: a lot of people were obviously not ready for this and made it perfectly clear by copiously booing after the performance. I actually liked it, but I think I can understand that reaction, even though I’m probably too familiar with Gilles Jobin‘s work in particular, and this kind of experiments in general. Maybe that evens things out for my dislike for a recent show that turned out to be quite popular.

I would say that there were a bunch of slow times with not much happening like when a guy went kicking a tire for too long in my opinion. And the early “text to speech” gimmick was better as an idea than as actually executed: a transposition of Iraq war reports to Switzerland — complete with references to militant protestant terrorists. But all that was more than offset by the good bits. One was the way the stage was transformed by a few simple lines. At first there was just a long red table and too smaller squarish ones, but the dancer proceeded to crisscross it with long rubber strings, from the top of poles to weighs placed on the ground. I loved the overall effect of this trick, partitioning the space and completely changing my perception of it.

I think many people were dismayed at the relative lack of actual dancing. I don’t think that’s right because I have seen many shows were there was far less, and because I really liked most of what actually was here. The first dance sequence was beautiful, performed by a single dancer at medium speed, with a lot of circles lead by an outstretched arm. There was some really interesting use of getting closer to the ground then rising. Another dancer joined her and held her hands as she bent far backwards, with may not exactly be dancing but was great visually.

There were other sequences, but my second favorite was near the end, two dancers moving together as one, a slow progress through the strings that went smoothly from standing to rolling. They joined a third one standing in the back and broke contact, encircling her with their arms and moving in opposite circles. Then the started circling in one way while the standing dancer turned on herself in the opposing direction while progressively lowering herself to the end. Finally they carried her by rolling on the ground, and the whole sequence was great visually. Some said that’s not dance, and I would disagree to the extent that I care about the distinction, which is not much.


March 28, 2008 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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