Archive for critique

Slowly going to the heart of the matter: Morton Feldman’s ‘Piano and String Quartet’ by Ictus & Fumiyo Ikeda

Posted in contemporary classical music, contemporary dance, dance, music with tags , , , , on February 18, 2017 by Utopia Parkway

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Once in a while a photographer takes a picture, and when he looks at that picture, he notices the presence of some ghostly figure. Someone who wasn’t in the room at all when the photo was taken. That’s what I had to think of, watching the Belgian contemporary music ensemble Ictus perform Morton Feldman‘s Piano And String Quartet (Kaaitheater, Brussels). On stage with them: Rosas veteran Fumiyo Ikeda. Was it that peculiar piece of music, or her dancing? It seemed as if she was there while not being there at all.

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It’s like… He talks a bit and she dances a bit: ‘Shown And Told’ (Meg Stuart & Tim Etchells)

Posted in contemporary dance, dance, performance with tags , , , , on January 28, 2017 by Utopia Parkway

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“I dance because I wanted to be a magician but I’m not good with stuff”, Meg Stuart tells the audience, somewhere along Show And Told, her collaboration with Tim Etchells. If the piece proves one thing, it’s how good the American choreographer and the British (performance) artist actually are with stuff. Be it other stuff. Movement stuff. Language stuff.

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Making the ungraspable tangible. Or how Romeo Castellucci gets his ‘Minister’s Black Veil’ right the second time

Posted in performance, theatre with tags , , , on December 28, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

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When was the last time these people had been queuing up to get into a church? Not to admire a unique painting or a stained glass window, but for a real service? Just a thought, as I was standing on the steps of Antwerp’s Sint-Michiels church, watching the crowd, waiting for the doors to open, thinking about religion, theatre and rituals. Three things I was sure this evening was going to be about. The Minister’s Black Veil. Five years ago Romeo Castellucci tried to stage it, but he failed. So I was really curious to see what he would do this time, with the help of American actor Willem Dafoe.

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A trip towards the sublime: “Rain” (live) by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker & Rosas

Posted in contemporary dance, dance with tags , , on December 10, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

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It’s as if you are searching for something that you’re never able to find. What a reader of this blog once told me. A remark I suddenly remembered, as I was watching Rain, version 2016, fifteen years after Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker had put it to the stage for the first time. I realized that person was right. Although I know there are other things in art to aim for than the sublime, part of me will always be looking for that: beauty’s more exalted version. And here it was.

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Mourning in a museum of another kind: ‘Moeder’ (Mother) by Peeping Tom

Posted in contemporary dance, dance, performance, theatre with tags , , , , on November 24, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

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A painting starts to bleed, a sculpture comes to life, and isn’t that coffee machine behaving rather strangely? Welcome to Peeping Tom‘s universe, where “normal” is a concept that doesn’t seem to exist. With Moeder (Mother) the Brussels-based company once again puts on stage a piece resembling a surreal dream, in which one strange event follows the next.

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Torn clothes and shattered hopes: ‘Nicht Schlafen’ by Alain Platel & Les Ballets C de la B

Posted in contemporary dance, dance, sculpture, theatre with tags , , on November 12, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

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The piece reached its low point somewhere near the end, when one of the dancers pulled his briefs down and started fucking the dead horse that had been lying there all the time, legs wide open. It was not a scene depicting utter hopelessness or despair, it was a scene that stood for the lack of directorial vision I had been feeling for quite a while, watching Nicht Schlafen; at that point a piece that seemed not to know where to go anymore. Just do something, and it will be okay. Even fucking a horse.

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“We’re Pretty Fuckin’ Far From Okay”: Lisbeth Gruwez’s deconstruction of bodies in distress

Posted in contemporary dance with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2016 by Utopia Parkway

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One doesn’t say no to Avignon. So when the French summer festival asked Lisbeth Gruwez for a new piece, she accepted, notwithstanding her company Voetvolk’s very busy international touring schedule. We’re Pretty Fuckin’ Far From Okay – which actually premiered at Julidans in Amsterdam – is the last part of a trilogy focusing on the ecstatic body, comprising also the successful performances It’s Going To Get Worse And Worse And Worse, My Friend and AH|HA. This time around the Belgian dancer/choreographer zooms in on fear and what it does to our body and breath.

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