Arts: Dance: The structure of emotion
ROSAS QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL LONDON
Tuesday 15 June 1999
Those beginnings were Fase in 1982, the second work of a 22-year-old Belgian choreographer. Also set to Reich, it was so fresh, so rigorously intelligent, it immediately put her in an international spotlight. It could have been a fluke, but it wasn't. Her prolific output continues to be exceptional in its distinctiveness and profound musical intellect. Her group, Rosas, performs around the world; in 1992 she became resident choreographer of the Monnaie opera house in Brussels.
As with most choreography to minimalist music, Fase glued its steps to Reich's shifting repetitions, although it had autonomy through its own dramatic shading. Drumming adopts a more sophisticated structural rapport, fluctuating between matching the score's rhythms and disregarding them; in the music's third section, the andante glockenspiel and whistle sounds are contradicted by the serene poses of the dancers, time-suspended like sleeping figures.
Like the score, the dance is a single basic phrase, but patterns gel, then melt away. Solo dancers dart and weave, while groups wheel round like flocks of birds, collecting extra dancers or discarding them. It's a piece about fragmentation and proliferation as well as about unity and individuality within collective contours. Dries Van Noten's gorgeous white costumes, all different but with a family air, reinforce the idea.
And rarely has the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage looked so spacious and beautiful. For the set, Jan Versweyveld erects a white screen that shimmers softly at the back. He suffuses the performers in calm, pale orange, or in pools of light and shade as if they were travelling in and out of autumn sunlight.
They slice the air with arms as clean and spiky as stars; couples interact in glancing duets, their movements slotting in briefly like jigsaw pieces. One dancer constantly asserts her own dance, imploding on to the stage, ending the piece at odds with group configurations. But the sudden coalescing into exquisite harmonies acts as a reminder of the choreographer's tight structuring hand.
This humanity of the performers, of course, is not stifled. "I'm obsessed by structures," Keersmaeker says. "But the most beautiful experience is to see such a construction generating something intangible, elusive - an emotion."
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 HSBC closes bank accounts belonging to Muslim clients in the UK
Led Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
New film Old Fashioned is 50 Shades of Grey for Christians, claims its creator
Freddie Prinze Jr on 24: 'Kiefer Sutherland was the most unprofessional dude in the world – I hated every moment of it'
Guardians of the Galaxy review: A superficial and half-hearted Marvel film
R Kelly 'dropped' from Ohio music festival following backlash
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >