Charlotte Vanden Eynde: an eerie princess in a blue dress

CharlotteStory

A blond girl in a light blue dress, on heels. I’ve barely begun to watch her, when it happens: a hand moves over her body as if it has a mind of its own. And I realize that I’m glad that she’s back. There’s not that much happening in Charlotte Vanden Eynde‘s I’m Sorry It’s (Not) A Story, but her minimalism is pure and well-thought through. Little gestures and simple movements make for a surprisingly fascinating performance.

It’s been a while. Some years ago Charlotte Vanden Eynde was one of the more talented ex-students of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s school P.A.R.T.S. Her first performances (Benen breken, Zij ogen, Vrouwen vouwen, Lijfstof) were very promising. She collaborated a couple of times with Flemish theatre director Jan Decorte, on some of his plays, and she got good reviews for her performance as leading actress in Dorothée Van Den Berghe’s movie Meisje (2002). I’m Sorry It’s (Not) A Story is her first performance since 2005. It premiered at Antwerp’s wp Zimmer, during the Amperdans dance festival.

There’s that gaze, to begin with. Cold and of the same iciness as that blue-ish dress. There’s the slowness of her movements. Each new movement is clearly set apart from the previous one. Little fragments. Not telling a story. A hand doing this. Another hand doing that. Legs running. Feet stamping. As if she’s investigating every single movement. Two hands coming together, forming a crown. Lips mumbling words. A fairytale?

There’s not that much going on, but nevertheless Charlotte Vanden Eynde succeeds in capturing your attention. She even makes you smile. For me the really fascinating and eerie thing was that she convinced me in believing that all those movements weren’t guided by her mind. When you watch a dancer, you know that the brain is giving all the orders. In Vanden Eynde’s case it feels as if those limbs are really having a mind of their own.

Most of the time, she moves around on that empty stage in complete silence. Every now and then, there’s a bit of music or text. She removes her shoes. She takes off the blue dress and wears a red one, then. It’s all very simple. But everything happens at the right moment. And the last scene is a really beautiful ending. Well done. A little girl in a blue dress with a style of her own.

 (photo credit: David De Beukelaer)

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