Review: Mimicked violence
Review: Mimicked violence
March 15th, 2023
The combination of dance and Bach is something to look forward to. The patterns and variations in the master composer’s music demand a choreographic translation. It is extremely satisfying when dancers make sequential movements during the layered melodies. That’s when you see the music, and you hear the dance. The two parts of the Bach programme with which Introdans is currently on tour, bring about that delightful synergy.
The opening piece of Corpus Bach has a calm precision. Four male dancers, identically dressed and similar in stature, start with their heads together: extensions of one body. With each separation, the geometric cohesion of this quartet remains. Lying on the floor, they form a mill with legs as blades. And the steps with which they return in this basic pattern are mathematically sophisticated. On the end notes of the series of short cello suites, the dancers fold into an acrobatic hip-hop pose. The interaction with the light that opens up the dance floor in planes is beautiful.
Corpus Bach is an adaptation of the duet of the same name that choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Nicolas Vladyslav danced together in 2005. Then the music was also performed live by a cellist on stage, now Detmar Leertouwer. It’s intriguing to see the hint of a power balance in the gently mathematical choreography when two reclining dancers are rolled forward by their standing colleagues.
In the brand new dance piece created by Manuel Vignoulle at Introdans on violin concertos by Bach, the drama depicted gets in the way of the synergistic experience. The group choreography ANIMA first depicts the busy contemporary human being, stupidly dribbling around in an office suit. Leaders rise from the masses, who, lifted high and upright, fight each other with mimicked violence until one collectively followed ruler remains. Beautifully conceived are the blood-red spots that peep out from under the blazers, which later turn out to be part of a skin-colored body suit with the venous system on it. The doubling of dancers still in suits with a vulnerable ‘naked’ alter ego is visually effective, but what these stripped-down images emotionally try to engender is too shallow to empathize with.
The relative abstraction of Selon désir that comes next is delightful. It is a retake of the swirling group piece that Andonis Foniadakis first made in 2004. The overcrowded, complex opening chorales of the St. John and St. Matthew Passion, slightly distorted electronically here and there, are reflected in a stream of transmitted movements between smoothly alternating plurals. The non-stop flow, provided with earthy counterpoints of stamping feet and powerful arm gestures is exciting. The wild loose hair of all the dancers reinforce the continuous swirl, as do the unisex clothing of women and men in fluttery skirts and blouses. The sparkling, sliding colors are pleasing to the eye. The passion story is loosely hinted at, when a circle forms around the only dancer with a white blouse. And when the physical surrender culminates in women lifted up in suffering poses. This touch of drama is just enough.