Gigs, dance, art

April 18th, 2011: Paulo Ribeiro – White Feeling – Organic Beat

@théatre de la ville

I don’t remember seeing anything by Paulo Ribeiro before. One common thread between both pieces is that he’s pretty good with groups, which is something I tend to like. I was close to the stage, but I wasn’t too close to get that, which I think shows how good he is.

White Feeling featured an all-male cast, all dancers dressed in black. I didn’t like the music, and at times the dance was a little too predictably confrontational in that setting — like one pushing the others around — but there were also things I really liked, like having one dancer moving around the stage at his own separate pace. Plus he did very nice things with support, in fact I think he was at his best when there was a clearly united group, and even better with one offsetting presence. There was also a very nice sequence toward the end where I could faintly make out the figures of dancers in the back, moving in gravity defying ways that hinted at the others carrying them, though these others remained unseen. That was a nice touch.

I like Organic Beat better, and I guess the music — Cage — had something to do with it, with its sampling and overlaid radio snippets. The — many — dancers came on stage humming the Internationale before some of  them broke into other songs in various languages, and ended with Bella Ciao, so they added their part to the soundtrack. With so many dancers — I’d guess about 30 — on stage most of the time, there was no way I could focus on details. But the overall picture was potent because there were waves and great uses of their numbers, like when some rolled on the ground from a circle and rose to join it again. At times that crowd would break into smaller groups, or some dancers would leave the stage, but I thought the sequences with the most dancers were the best. That’s because it’s quite rare for me to see someone really make use of what such a big ensemble enables, while avoiding the temptation to have most serve as a backdrop for a few soloists. No filler there, the crowd was necessary for what he had to show.

I still wish it had started on time and the intermission had been shorter, I might have had a shot at rushing to Nan Turner’s show afterward. But it just ended too late.


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