BANCS D’ESSAI INTERNATIONAUX @ TANGENTE
This weekend Tangente is offering a buffet of different chorographic flavors from all over the world. Presented in one evening were five different works from artists hailing from five different cities across the world. Although there was no common thread in the works, it is interesting to note that an unusual interaction with video was present in three of the five works.
Unattaching by Tanja Råman / dbini industries
Cardiff, Pays de Galles
This piece was a strong start to the evening. Tanja herself, along side Iain Payne performed in gorgeous, long, light blue skirt-like pants created by costume designer Neil Davies. The costumes were as clean as intriguing as the choreography itself, which was sharp and precise with moments of pause and fluidity. As the costume suggests, the lower body is treated as heavy and grounded, and most gestures have to do with the upper body. The atmosphere was incredibly well designed, from the sound to the lights and video. One could argue that the work was a quartet, since a video projected on the backdrop showed the same two performers, in the same pants, dancing similar movement sequences. The two images and two live performers dance sometimes in unison and sometimes in contrast to each other. Not only does this mean that they are dealing with performers of different, variable sizes, but also lighting play meant that at times there was coordination between the projected image and visibility of the live performers. It was a feat in synchronization, precision and vision. Hats off to John Collingswood, Råman’s collaborator on the sound, video and lighting elements of the work.
Syndrome de l’exilé by Babacar Cissé / Les Assocités Crew
This was a selection of three different excerpts from an hour-long show, choreographed and performed by Babacar Cissé. The first was an internal, prop heavy, mildly comical, theatrical segment that set up a character who was down on his luck and missing a loved one. The second was a high-energy urban dance solo set to the backdrop of several projections of his shadow dancing with him. There were moments where these shadows were less than kind to him, intimidating, shaming and abandoning him, and which point he’d break out into an impressive breakdance section. In the final excerpt, with a dark a wet stage, Cissé slides out in his stomach, nearly nude. This last section is solemn and harsh, but impressive. Taking the skills of break dancing, especially spinning, and performing them with decreased friction and this theme of struggle was effective and remarkable.
Corps.Relations by Maria Kefirova
We are first introduced to the head of Maria Kefirova on a television screen. She speaks to us throughout the work in her quirky, wandering way, while her body performs live. It is a clear musing of the separation between body and mind. She is an exquisite and awkward mover. Her long flexible limbs bend to create these bizarre and intriguing shapes. She has a mobile spine, and is a strong dancer with some unusual movement propositions. The piece was humorous at times, bizarre always, and sometimes confusing. There exists an English and a French version of this work, the English version is being presented this weekend.
Bianconido by Danielle Ninarello
Danielle Ninarello presented a self-solo. The work begins with tableaus of Ninarello standing or laying, and pulsing as if he were about to burst into action. Then the bulk of the piece takes off. Dressed in white he moves about the stage, from standing to the ground swiftly and fluidly. There is near-constant motion and very few, true pauses. There were some very interesting movement propositions, but little time to process any one phrase, and little consistency in style. He had moved beyond being unpredictable and being so all over the place that it was impossible to follow. Bianconido or “white nest” is the image inspiring the work, which appears to be a sort of physical meditation, an improvised physical release within a specific set score.
The Fifteen Project by Arno Schuitemaker
Arno Schuitemaker choreographed the final piece, and Manel Salas Palau and Iker Arrue Mauleon perform. This is another work that has been reduced from a larger creation involving five performers, to the current duet. Two good-looking guys, dressed nicely in casual wear (costume designer: Judith Abels) walk on stage and begin a long series of synchronized hand and arm gestures. They maintain an attitude of nonchalance, as if they just happen to be here and doing this thing. In direct opposition to the work before, we see the commitment to, and extension of, a single idea. The next proposition they bring us is a duet based on weight exchange that evolves until they are lifting each other. The work ends with a more traditional duet of the same attitude, with soft, fluid movements. The work is inspired by mirror neurons, and their place in performance art, and offers some food for thought.
Bancs d’essai Internationaux is presented by Tangente, but you can catch the show at Monument National from May 10th -11th at 7:30pm (careful, that’s an hour earlier than usual.) The full show, including the intermission, and set up time between works totals about two hours. As per usual, tickets are $20 regular, with some discounts available, and that’s plenty worth it to have a glimpse of what is going on around the world in terms of contemporary dance.