Gigs, dance, art

March 5th, 2009: Koen Augustijnen – Ashes


I had a great seat this time, in the back on the right, but being in the back turned out great because I was almost level with an important prop. I was afraid of being disappointed, part because of how much I liked Koen Augustijnen‘s previous shows, and also because I was lucky enough to meet him and he was so eager to deflect any praise to the other dancers. And I saw him do something insignificant in the greater scheme of things but now I know his heart is in the right place. Not to worry though, this one was quite different, but just as good. He was not part of the cast, and even though I’ve enjoyed his work as a dancer, I think it was the right choice, if only because it uprooted the regulars in a way that was consistent with the theme of the show.

There was definitely something of a story going on, or at the very least a trajectory of recovery there. At first the main impression I got was one of struggle, between people was for the most a struggle for control over/peace with a body whose cooperation was suddenly not a given, which I took to be a translation of being uprooted into the language of dance. From there it went into a feeling of disorientation, still isolated, and then a series of duos made a tentative peace with the events. The most striking was with a pair of dancers and some pole used first as a distance between them then as support/crutch/transportation for one of them. That’s elliptic but I’m at a loss to put to words the sheer effect that part had on me, so all I can say is go and get your own opinion. There was a lot in there, reaching impeded by this pole that nonetheless required the pressure of both dancer to remain aloft, and the reaching itself made more meaningful by the very impediment. Maybe I’ll expand that later, maybe not.

These duos were a watershed of sorts, with the overall mood turning lighter — not to the point of Bâche though — and the group parts getting more cohesive, even though the singers were kept apart this time. By the end the group would take over and yield some very nice scenes, like when the dancers were walking forward then trotting back from the female singer in circles, the changes in speed never preventing them from looking in the same direction.

The final scene saw them all lying on the floor rolling from side to side, with a few rising from time to time. There was also a sense of strain in there for me, though I cannot pinpoint where that came from.

Then there was that trampoline on the upper level. I did bring about an initial surprise, some relief and memorable images throughout, especially in a series of bounces that made a joke of gravity and regular movements with a dancer walking on seperate walls as if it was natural. In a sense it was, and the way this disconnect fit in with the rest of the show made it dance to me at least, in that it had a meaning when seen through the few things I have learned of the language of dance along the years.


March 7, 2009 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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