Gigs, dance, art

January 26th, 2010: Josef Nadj – Sho-bo-gen-zo

@theatre de la bastille

I was surprised to be able to get a ticket for this show after learning about it so late. I like Josef Nadj, and having both Akosh S. and Joëlle Léandre on stage made it even more interesting. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s puzzling.

The dance was performed by Nadj himself and Cécile Loyer, with each musician on one side. I was a sequence of scenes but the music never stopped. The first scene made the Japanese theme obvious, with a white mask and costume for Loyer and a black mask with samurai helmet for Nadj — but he was wearing his trademark black suit, and Loyer switched to one right after this one. No such nods in the music though, and that was a relief as it would have been a waste of these talents. Those over the top elements soon disappeared, and though some elements did echo some Japanese traits, the very same things were very much in line with Nadj’s work. Which only means it meant perfect sense for him to use this material. I guess it would be possible to attribute some parts to the book, but what’s the point?

It may have referenced something different, but for me it fit perfectly within his work, familiar but different, as usual. There were those usual movements that are almost mechanical. But also some fast and wide arms motions I had never seen so emphasized in his work. A purely visual sequence without dancers, another with Nadj pushing a miniature stage to the front with a small unicorn he shaped into something else. And Loyer with a flexible mirror wrapped around her that reflected the musicians. So the tricks and the usual universe were there. The dance was there too. It’s easy to forget about it with all these other elements, but I think Nadj’s dance is very physical, trusting the body to say what other media don’t. And he’s so good at using many of these, each doing its part in the whole, but I think the dance remains the most important.

I didn’t pay enough attention to the music on its own, but it was interesting when on its own between scenes, and what I loved about it was that I couldn’t really separate it from the dance. There were a few times — one when the dancers were hitting their thighs, another with Léandre whipping the air with her bow — when I couldn’t tell the sounds the dancers were making apart from the music. I guess I could have, but it seemed beyond the point. And I think that was the case throughout, quite possibly the best merging of music of dance I’ve ever experienced.


January 30, 2010 - Posted by | Dance | , , ,

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