Gigs, dance, art

September 2nd, 2008: Rosas / Archie Shepp

@la villette

Opening day of the jazz festival, and of a new season for me. And I can’t think of a better way to start one than seeing my favorite dance company on stage.

The first part was a solo by Salva Sanchis with live music by Archie Shepp, Paban Das Baul and Mimlu Sen. I liked the music a lot, so much at times that I would get distracted from the dance. Usually not though, both were meshing well. Archie Shepp would often let Paban Das Baul take the lead and stop playing, but his jumping in was always welcome. I’ve stated many times how much I appreciate it when a musician knows when not to play, and he knows that almost as well as he knows how to play. Some winks to Coltrane in there, as a kind of preview of the final part of the evening, but the most satisfying was the interplay between musicians and with the dancer. Who was damn good as well, impressive without making a show of technique. He started slowly and didn’t as much gather speed as a kind of fluid flow. A lot of control with movements that would stop, rewind and go forth again, but always maintaining a kind of quiet tension that would make his stops motions. Maybe that was to be expected with the improvisation theme, but the community was there in spirit but hard to pin down to a specific element. The whole worked well without having one element subservient. More like a natural seeming growing organism.

The second part was a solo by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker herself called Raag Khamaj, performed to recorded music. Beautiful, of course. A lot of familiar things, echoes of other performances rushing to my mind, but that’s become a regular experience over the years for me. And of course that band of light across the stage reminded me of Fase. But even those memories didn’t cloud my vision for long, the present was shining too brightly to be held at bay. The familiar patterns and new ones made we feel as I looking at some writing made of light, going in and out of existence but making a lasting impression, a language I could feel though maybe not understand. I all made perfect sense as I lost myself in the performance, but a sense that escapes words. The simplicity of the stage and of her dress made the dance itself stand out even more, and its unfolding through time and space was so captivating that I pretty much shut out the music. There was a real nice touch at the very end, when the music stops and the recording goes on to applause: at that time she was still dancing, making for a striking moment of disconnect before she stopped and the live applause joined the recorded one.

Finally, A Love Supreme danced by Cynthia Loemij, Salva Sanchis, Moya Michael and Igor Shyshko. It was the third time for me, but I was even happier to see it again because the first had come at a most peculiar time. Having only four dancers on stage made for a different experience, with a compelling balance between individual parts and group interactions — which makes a lot of sense in that jazz context. Each dancer had an affinity for an instrument — especially obvious at the beginning and during each matching solo part — but the dance itself was never illustrative. I loved some individual parts — some hand movements in the first parts were striking — more than others, but the best for me was in the group dynamics, that went beyond support and contrast to give rise to another level of experience. In that sense, it made perfect sense to have this particular dance performance opening a jazz festival, even though the music was obviously recorded.


September 3, 2008 - Posted by | Dance, Music | , , , , ,

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