Boy becomes dancing goddess: Fabián Barba’s ‘Mary Wigman Dance Evening’

As if watching an old, silent black-and-white movie, but than in colour and in 3D. I’d heard good things and read nice reviews about Fabián Barba’s A Mary Wigman Dance Evening, so I was happy to see it return to Brussels (Kaaitheater). For this piece Barba (a dancer from Ecuador who studied at P.A.R.T.S.) tried to recreate some choreographies by legendary German expressionist dancer Mary Wigman (1886-1973). He studied videos, photos, texts, reviews and talked to dancers who studied at the Wigman school in the sixties. Coming up with an exact replica of Wigman’s dances was of course impossible, so for his recital of nine short soli Barba had to rely on his own choreographic talent too. On stage he performs those dances with the utmost seriousness and dedication and makes sure that at no point this becomes silly (although at first it is a bit strange to see him greet the audience in diva-like fashion after every solo). What makes this so convincing is also the attention that is being paid to every little detail: there’s a programme on every seat, two chandeliers are used to light the theater, and the curtain opens and closes again and again. And even though Barba wears a different gown for every single solo, you never ever think ‘transvestite‘. It does make you wonder what those choreographies by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker or Meg Stuart will look like, in some 80 years time. (Info here)

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