Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notes on “Look, Listen, Look Again!”

The introductory videos with the artists explaining what they tried to achieve were, in my opinion, a big mistake: the more the artist speaks, the less the work speaks for itself.

Three of the choreographies made a strong impression on me.

“Alright” (the four friends in the car): doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I think it was a great example of narration and non-narration conjugated with cohesion. While it was easy to identify the characters’ roles and relationships, it didn’t detract from the visual/spatial tensions of the choreography itself. The fact that many of the gestures had a cultural added value of their own that went beyond the choreography (e.g., the bits where they danced to the music on the radio, the girls playfully shaking their behinds like bunnies) helped blur the distinction between dance and drama. And I think that’s a good thing to remember from our perspective – we should learn the same trick they use to bring some verbal to their non-verbal and use it to add a little non-verbal to our verbal.

“Units of Light”: I’m pretty thick when it comes to dance, but one moment made my jaw drop on the floor – the part where the three dancers are walking in line to the front of the stage, with the first and the third facing the audience and the one in the middle facing backstage. It’s so simple, and yet the resulting effect of reflection unleashes a torrent of meanings that gives a new dimension to the piece: mirrors, water, multifaceted identities etc. That’s what I would call “genius”.

“Mindless Connection”: stood out from the others because the dancers spent most of the time very close to each other. The synergy between them was so strong it got me despite the avant-gardy music, which I found very distracting. Nothing against dancers being far away from each other onstage, but I found their proximity to bring more tension to the performance than the more separated ones.

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