Gigs, dance, art

February 9th, 2010: Alain Platel – Out of Context

@théatre de la ville

I guess there’s something I just don’t get. I haven’t really been into Alain Platel‘s work since his unretirement. Again, I was underwhelmed by that lukewarm feeling. It’s not that I got bored, and the dancers are good and have strong personalities. I just think Platel could have gone further.

The beginning — with the dancers coming onto the stage, undressing to their underwear and wrapping themselves in blankets — really reminded me of the last show of his I saw — but no Magic Malik in sight, to my relief. I don’t remember whether the sniffing and specific leg/foot swiping were in there, but I strongly felt I had seen that before and it went on so predictably for too long. The two stumbling dancers with mics did bring something interesting, but even they got predictable quickly.

The middle part with snippets of popular songs and fake-club dancing was the most annoying part for me. In a sense, I felt I had seen this done before, and better, by someone who comes from his dancing tree. And it felt a bit like an anti Jérôme Bel, in that there was some claim to elaborate dance, and a wink to the audience instead of confrontation. But not really more interesting for me. Again, that particular system was quickly set up then droned on for too long in my opinion. It just lacked an edge that used to be there in his work. Or at least that I used to notice.

I’m not about to give up and stop going to see his shows because I just loved the end. Then different things were going on instead of a single theme. The mics were upgraded from props to a part of a couple of dancers, and the original stumbling dancer had a very nice moment taking the mic stands around the stage, with steps that were still close to the original fumbling but that had crossed over to an equine majesty. Those closing minutes made the show very much worth seeing. I just wish Platel could be a little less verbose and get back some of that vision and urgency, and just cut off some of the obligatory Platelishness.


February 15, 2010 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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