counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

November 20th, 2008: Akram Khan & Juliette Binoche – In-I

@théatre de la ville

Even though I like Akram Khan a lot, I was not expecting much from this show. This collaboration with a famous actress was so hyped it made me suspicious. Not that I would expect it to live up to that hype, but they had to be aware of this and that might have made them cautious, or too eager to please. And I must say I had been disappointed by his work with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, not that it was bad, but I felt it was a missed opportunity with too much compromise between these strong personalities and not much feeding off each other. I think that was the right frame of mind for me, because I did like this one despite its shortcomings.

The beginning was the best in my opinion, first because there was a solo part by Akram Khan while Juliette Binoche was talking, a solo that displayed all the concentrated energy I love in his dance — special mention for the arms movements, as often. The very good surprise was that when she joined him she was not overmatched. I guess the credit goes to Akram Khan managing to devise a choreography that she could perform without toning it down much. Of course there was none of the blinding speed he can unleash, but it was still quite fast, and his balance between control and energy was indeed there. She might have been low on the control side, but she was really throwing herself into the dance and not playing it safe. The result was that this sequence worked very well, and went nicely beyond what I expected.

That was the highwater mark on the dance side; there were a couple more pure dance sequences, but not at this level, and with more narrative elements. The acting and storytelling parts went over my head, as usual, but nonetheless there was enough presence to keep me interested. I would have been happy enough with that original dance sequence, but what made this experiment a success for me was the way they seemed commited as each took chances by venturing in the other’s territory. Not a major work from Akram Khan, but definitely not a vanity project to be dismissed either. An interesting show, and some real sharing that was actually working. Uneven, but with some gems that only come from taking real chances.

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November 23, 2008 - Posted by | Dance | , ,

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