Gigs, dance, art

October 23rd, 2009: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker – Rosas Danst Rosas

@théatre de la ville

Wow. That was such a great show. And I really lucked out on the lineup because of some personal memories. I had not seen Samantha Van Wissen in a while, but I remember clearly that she was part or Rosas during my first years of seeing dance. My memories of Sarah Ludi go back even longer, as she was part of Angelin Preljocaj’s company for one of the very first dance show I ever saw, back in 1992 or so. Then Cynthia Loemij, who is my favorite artist bar none and whose performances have been one of the main reasons I’ve seen so much dance over the past 17 years. And of course Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker herself.

The first part took place in silence, with the four of them lying down in the back at first, rolling and filling the silence with slaps, bumps and breathing. In a way, the repeated patterns made these sounds musical in the way the everyday gestures integrated in the movements turned abstract and geometrical through duplication and repetition. Then one after the other rose and moved to a diagonal, keeping the same prone patterns. Already a great start.

The second part is my favorite of the show, and one of my favorite dance performances ever. I’d say it tops Fase and ranks up there with Rain at the top. They were sitting on chairs and again turned mundane gestures into something else, with a nod or letting one’s hand fall on their side taking on an intense charge. I loved the music too, it’s percussive quality a good complement to this fast sequence. What made it so special to me was the way they would repeat those movements with an additional dimension brought by the phasing between them. Less tense than Come Out, but with four dancers instead of two this side of the sequence got overwhelming in the best possible way, without the group pattern ever blurring the individual dancers and the specific take of each. It not just the same movements at different times, each was bringing her own way of performing those.

The third part had dancers in a line in the back — a little some parts of Piano Phase in their way of turning — while occasionally one or two would move closer to the stage standing almost still and baring one then two shoulders, with also some taking up of the turning movements. The most striking part for me in that sequence was when Sarah Ludi did just that and what a difference her hands made to the whole effect. A closed hand in contrast to the open hands of the others in the back when turning made a big impression on me.

The fourth part had a physical quality, relentlessly going in lines and especially a big circle toward exhaustion. There were more different movements there, and less of the phasing effect as many ways to pair and combine lines and circles. Again, some specific movements reminded me of other of Anne Terese De Keersmaeker’s shows, but most of all it was some more abstract elements that I think have been often present over the years. Group, sub-groups and individuals interacting without erasing the latter. Her balancing the mundane and the abstract. And her ability to reach an almost pure geometry while embracing the physical side of dance, and putting the effort and rest on display.

The latter was a part of my fondness for the final short sequence, each resting after the demanding run of the fourth, but each also echoing a part of the show. Samantha Van Wissen lying with an extended arm, Cynthia Loemij on a chair in the back, Sarah Ludi standing facing the audience, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker briefly bending her arms in front and back in a familiar gesture. I might be wrong, but I think a saw the last two nodding at each other as in the second part. Here it was really a part of the choreography, but one thing I like about her shows is that dancers usually don’t leave the stage when they’re not dancing, they stand or sit on the side. That’s important to me in the way that it breaks the illusion of ease and blurs the line around dancing proper, temporally but not only that way.

Of course a lot in that show is what she was doing then, and she has changed since. But it’s still current and I’m very happy she brings back those earlier works. I think seeing both an old and a new show in a short time increases my appreciation of both. And even though I think I was lucky to see these dancers, I’d love to see Elizaveta Penkova performing this.


October 27, 2009 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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