Review: Swinging on a bungee cord to Bach's music

Review: Swinging on a bungee cord to Bach's music

March 6th, 2023

BACH review by Het Parool: There has long been an intimate connection between contemporary ballet and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. That bond is central to the world premiere and two existing pieces that Introdans presents in the Bach programme – with varying degrees of success.

Fritz de Jong, Parool, March 6th, 2023

Dance rhythms are never far away in Bach’s extensive oeuvre. Even in a religious work such as the St Matthew Passion, the composer incorporated dance forms, such as a sicilian. Bach’s beloved cello suites are built around 17th-century court dances such as the allemande, sarabande and gigue. In 2005, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Nicolas Vladyslav responded to this music with a fluid duet, dancing around the cellist who was positioned centrally on the stage.

In the performance Corpus Bach, musical virtuosity is reflected in unexpected examples of ground acrobatics. The water-fast hand movements that respond to the sound waterfalls in the fifth suite are beautiful. The Arnhem based Introdans company is now performing a doubled version, accompanied by baroque cellist Detmar Leertouwer. The use of four dancers instead of two unfortunately appears to be at the expense of the precision that Bach deserves.

Blue suits
In the world premiere Anima, choreographer Manuel Vignoulle deliberately plays a trick on that precision. To an eclectic soundtrack that draws on Bach’s work, the choreographer stages a group of people who, stumbling and toiling, try to keep up with modern life. Beneath their blue suits, the dancers wear tight jerseys painted with veins and a heart. The journey from career maker to the inner man depicted by Vignoulle ends with a lyrical male duet, in which one of the partners swings across the stage on a bungee cord.

In the third piece, Selon desir (2005), Andonis Foniadakis pulls out all the stops. As if the original cast of the hippie musical Hair were allowed to indulge themselves on Bach. With their hair loose and dressed in a colorful collection of fluttering skirts, the dancers celebrate life, to the opening choruses from the St Matthew Passion and the St John Passion. The energy level starts high, stays high and ends high. The spectator leaves the theater with a charged battery.

Stay up to date