Gigs, dance, art

June 11th, 2009: Wim Vandekeybus – nieuwZwart

@théatre de la ville

It had been a long time since the last time I saw Wim Vandekeybus, even longer really because that one was the anniversary show putting together bits and pieces of older works. New faces throughout, and these new dancers were probably instrumental in the fresh and energetic feel of this show. Or maybe that break was just what I needed to look at it with fresh eyes instead of seeing what I expected. No video again, and far less storytelling than before. I felt it was more focused on dance itself, even though there was a very strong visual element in the props and lighting.

There was an actor on stage, telling a text by Peter Verhelst that I liked a lot in that it was poetic enough to loosen its relation to the dance, not coloring my perception of it at all. The music was performed from a platform hanging in the back for most of the show, and that part too was done right, feeling connected but never obstrusive.

In the beginning, there was a lot of writhing by the naked dancers with the musicians stopping next to one and basically using them as instruments — as percussions or by their lifting them to change the way the mics picked up their moans. That was not indicative of the rest, as most of the show was fast and intense, apart from a longish spell towards the end when they stood in a line and bumped into each other. Speaking of lines, a section I liked a lot had all of them on the ground in a line, except for one who would use all the width of the stage and at times vault over them.

But for me it wasn’t really about any one time, the thing I liked best was the way the show as a whole stood together as consistent, going through many phases with a sense of purpose. Some of his earlier shows were more obviously narrative, but here that very sense was transferred to the dance itself, movements put together to make a whole show without an explicit story apart from the evolution of the dance itself.

Each dancer had his or her own character, which again came across through dance alone for the most part — apart maybe from the one that played the more hostile element, bumping into another repeatedly, but even that was still dance, if less abstract. I think this cast shows a lot of promise for the next few years with Vandekeybus, as he was able to build a real group while preserving their identities, and all of this without relying on props or words. A very good show, with a lot of things echoing his earlier works, yet different, and possibly showing more confidence in his ability to rely on dance alone as a language. And a totally exciting one from feeling like it’s only the beginning. I hope they will be back soon around here, even though I already know that if they do so next year, it will be in a different place. I don’t mind that, as long as I hear about it before it happens. I’ll be there if I do.


June 20, 2009 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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