Gigs, dance, art

January 31st, 2011: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker – En Atendant

théatre de la ville

Anytime I get to see something by Rosas is a special event for me, one I’ll usually have been looking forward for a while — like since the last time I saw them. En Atendant was a rich performance for me, bringing new things, new twists on older things, and a sense of continuity that reached back many years. This marked the thirtieth work by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker that I’ve seen over the years — not counting films and those I have seen more than once — so maybe the past tends to skew my perception toward picking up this kind of thing.

There was live music this time — ancient music — but not all the time, usually for group sequences. Actually I think there was more silence than music. Those sequences with music felt the most intricate to me, often involving pairs of dancers, but maybe that’s just because I was too close to the stage to really get the big picture. That’s why I like to see her pieces more than once from a different point of view, but she’s so popular it’s become tough to get that second ticket. There was a lot of walking, like in The Song, but with more lines this time. Another recent trend is her work with support, both in groups — piling on in one corner then freezing, getting back up and freezing again, but the best was what went in around and between these poses — and in pairs. I especially liked a sequence with Sue-Yeon Youn and Cynthia Loemij because of the way the support evolved into just fingers touching then just barely so, with a hint of that much later in the piece.

I saw a lot of these fleeting hints at something that came before, phrases or single movements or even just bits that echoes earlier things, like shoulders moved forward or a foot pushing on the back of the other leg’s knee. Sometimes much earlier, as a couple of hip movements reminded me of Microkosmos. Of course the continuity was much stronger with The Song and Zeitung, mostly the legs, bending, coiling and support, but I saw things that echoed earlier works throughout her career — though I do have a big blind spot there in the late eighties. There even was a bent arm or two that reminded me of the first part of April Me, which I hadn’t thought of in a while, but which fits somehow.

But all there fleeting moments were just that, and didn’t hinder the flow at all. They just gave the piece a special kind of richness for me. There was enough going on not to dwell on this flashes. New things stood out too, like the violent burst of a solo ending close to exhaustion. Still precise, but with a different kind of geometry, different angles and a sense of pushing some limits, control without restraint. One pretty impressive thing is that the very different elements — groups, pairs, solo; silence, music; even pauses — fit together in a kind of polyphony spread out over time. It all felt connected into a whole that made sense. It felt so rich on so many levels that I’m sure I missed more than half or what was there, a convenient excuse to fuel my desire to see it again. Yet, there was a lot of space too, but not empty, the kind of space that is needed by what’s in there. Kind of like you need some silence to have notes.

Speaking of which, one of my favorite things in Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s choreography is when a dancer will lean before fully moving, something which makes movement start not just from stillness, but from within stillness. In music, I love Miles Davis’ silences, and I think that’s related. But sometimes dance takes it even further. That’s another reason why I was so happy/relieved to see Cynthia Loemij dancing. Sometimes I can see her start slightly before she actually moves at all. I guess I’m just picking up some slight visual hint of tension, out of the familiarity built over eighteen years of seeing her dance Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s works, without being able to point out anything. The same thing goes when she stops. It’s a blink of an eye, but it makes a whole lot of difference to me. She was not in The Song, and that probably shocked me out of taking her for granted. This is not a post about my appreciation for her though  — maybe I will write one someday — but what I want to say is this: Anne Teresa De Keermaeker is my favorite choreographer, though Padmini Chettur comes close. But for me nothing comes close to seeing Cynthia Loemij dance Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.


February 2, 2011 Posted by | Dance | , | Leave a comment