Gigs, dance, art

September 12th, 2012: Sébastien Ramirez / Honji Wang – Monchichi


Now that’s what I want to see. A wonderful show, where for a change even the words didn’t disturb me, because they were just adding to what the dance had made clear by then.

At first I thought Honji Wang would be more about strength and fluidity, while Sébastien Ramirez was exhibiting serious mastery of stop and go. But those roles didn’t stick, though there was some of that. They were far smarter than that, and the roles were just a touch away from being traded. And they sure know how to handle a light touch, as was evident in a great sequence where there seemed to be a wave of life going from one to the other through fingertips.

There were definitely traces of hip-hop dance in there, but that’s kinda like saying there’s some classical side to Forsythe. And I’m not dropping that name out of the blue. It’s way too early, of course, but these two have the spark it would take for them to become the Forsythe of my generation. Their use of the ground was fed from b-boying but deconstructed  and rebuilt to suit their purpose. Acknowledging the roots? To me they went beyond that, they grew from them, and isn’t that what roots are for?

That’s why their words didn’t annoy me, they were repeating something the dance had made clear already, but focused the focus. German, Korean, French, Spanish, classical, contemporary, hip-hop, these end up being labels and boxes, not even in the way but irrelevant when lightning strikes. And this time at least, with these two dancers/choreographers/whatever-they-want-to-be-called, lightning struck home and lighted a path. I hope I’ll be there next time. I have a feeling these two are making their own lightning

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Dance | , , | 2 Comments

September 11th, 2012: Thierry Thieû Niang – Jean-Pierre Moulières – …du printemps!

@théatre de la ville

Patrice Chéreau read Nijinski, and for me hit all the notes of why I don’t like plays. That artificial voice rubbed me the wrong way. But he has his fans, as evidenced by the dozens of people who just left the moment he stopped and the dancers came closing in. From there they spread out in a spiral to start circling the stage, as one of them was steadily running around, and kept at it throughout. As they went, wings came off, then clothing, tossed aside. There were slight variations, brief runs, hands on heads or behind backs, but the circle held sway, even as they stopped and moved to the side, one by one. A twist on Rite of Spring? Not so much as an appropriation, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But it’s so conceptual. By the time I’d seen the first five minutes — ignoring Chéreau — I’d seen it all. OK, they’re seniors and not trained dancers, but that was light fare. And going all conceptual raises some questions too. Name-dropping Pina Bausch and featuring seniors sounds like a marketing plan. This was way better than that, but still, it got on that big stage and I can’t help wondering. I read some people were shocked some ended the play in their underwear. I ask: why not naked? Nudity is a tired trope in dance, but why are those people shocked at seeing seniors almost naked?  Good questions, and this show raised a few more. But little in the way of answers, or at least in the way of aesthetic ones. Marketing students may want to study this home run though. There’s money to be made there, I hope Thierry Thieû Niang puts it to good use.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Dance | , , | Leave a comment