Repetition is so much the point of these dances that it seems weird to complain about it. The Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker made her international breakthrough with dances to Steve Reich's music. At first, the looped patterns have an attractive focus and precision. Over two hours of the same ideas, exhaustion sets in.
The earliest of these dances, 1982's Piano Phase, is by far the best. Two women repeat sequences of simple steps. Movements are light, springy, with a relaxed ease. Moving in and out of unison, they vary the pattern with tiny changes of speed and gesture. The loops are longer, more complex, than they look.
Disappointingly, the new Eight Lines simply doesn't match it. A bigger cast should mean more variety, but leads to loss of focus.
The men of De Keersmaeker's company, Rosas, are less assured than the women, missing the lightness and ease of movement. In Four Organs, their repetitions are jerky, starting to look aimless. Drumming Part 1 is better, with men and women in beautiful, simple costumes by Dries Van Noten. By that time, though, a dogged quality has seeped into the evening: more repetition, and more, and more. The musicians of Ictus give a fine performance of Reich's scores.
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