Gigs, dance, art

September 14th, 2009: Angelin Preljocaj – Le Funambule


Early kickoff to the dance season, with a solo from a choreographer I’ve seen regularly for as long as I’ve been interested in dance. Even though it had all the markings of the kind of  “event” that usually falls short of the hype, I wanted to see this. I think he avoided that particular pitfall, maybe because the text meant enough to him.

He was saying that Genet “letter” through the show, sometimes dancing along, sometimes reading only, sometimes dancing only. I have to say I don’t care for Genet, and this one was as grating as it gets for me, so it got in the way as the show progressed. I couldn’t block it out, because it was important to what was going on. I do think it took its toll on my appreciation of the show.

Not surprisingly, overall I thought the most literally illustrative parts were the weakest, but with a few exceptions. Maybe that was because it was early, but the segue from the words about an anvil to Preljocaj engaging the long table stood out for me as a close link to the text that enhanced the dance. The knife slashing of paper rolls was at the opposite of the spectrum of both time and personal appreciation.

At its best, the dance brought an immediacy that countered what felt to me as an infuriating pose in the words, and there were visually compelling moments that stood out on their own. The best part for me was a sequence with a mirror and his arm movements reflected as if the mirror wasn’t there, until his left hand shot out and broke the illusion in a striking way. That part was just great, and for me was the apex of the show for several reasons: it was striking on its own as a play with light and vision, there was an economy of movement with greatest effect at play, and I thought it was a step away from the self-centeredness of the words, as if their target was staking his claim to reality beyond the prop he Genet’s words turned him into. The real hand moving out of the mirror frame was like a breath of fresh air to me, but that’s probably because Genet has always been boring for me. Maybe some feminist-induced impatience with objectifying was at work as well. Anyway, I loved this.

I also liked the way Preljocaj was working the limitations of his aging body into pauses that made sense. That wasn’t obvious most of the time, but the few places where that stood out made me eager to see how he will use that particular insight within his shows designed for and with younger dancers. He strikes me as the kind of guy who can turn this into something beautiful. I hope I get to see that come to fruit.


September 20, 2009 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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