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."
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 3 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 4 Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear presenters to appear on stage in new live format
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Menstruation-themed photo series artist 'censored by Instagram' says images are to demystify taboos around periods
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers