Gigs, dance, art

June 16th, 2010: Jan Fabre – Another Sleepy Dusty Delta Day


This was probably the last dance show of the season for me before the long boring summer. Over the past few years I’ve grown increasingly bored by Jan Fabre‘s shows, but that doesn’t apply when he writes a solo for a dancer. The twist was that it was written for Ivana Jozic but this time Artemis Stavridi performed it. That can’t be easy, but she made it hers — though I have not seen it performed by the original dancer.

Besides the intensity of these solo works, I like how they reach a delicate balance between dance and a purely visual side. Here the stage featured stacks of coal with toy trains running over and around some of them, and a bunch of bird cages hanging high enough not to be an obstruction, but low enough to be props when needed and to be set swinging close to the end. There was also a rocking chair in the front right corner, that one time moved haltingly on its own.

At first I thought the text — a suicide letter detailing a planned jump from a series bridges — was getting tedious, but the repetition and small details about the bridges grew on me. And the music included Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe, which immediately reminded me of Laura Cantrell for a reason that should be obvious to anyone familiar with her show on The Station. The text made sense on its own, and also in the context of the song, and I think it was rich enough to allow different viewpoints.

There was some of that with the dance too. It was clearly organized in parts with a kind of movement in each one at first, that came together later. But they could also be seen as forming a narrative, or rather several alternative possible one came to my mind. There was some drunken stumbling as well as whirling virtuosity, mechanical carrying of lumps of coal as well as an intense physical immediacy. And none of the teenage provocation that bored me in some of his last few shows. It all made sense in more than on way, held together by the dancer’s presence, the text and an aesthetic vision generous enough to include more than reduce. It was good to see him put his many facets together in this way, and I think his ability to again find a dancer to embody and nourish his vision shows he can still be more than the caricature into which he sometimes lets himself stumble.


June 23, 2010 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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