Archive for Festival d’Avignon

“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


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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One man, six amplifiers and a swinging lamp: Rachid Ouramdane’s ‘Exposition universelle / World fair’

Posted in dance, performance with tags , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

Funny how sometimes there can be an elephant in the room and nobody seems to notice it. I’ve read quite a few reviews about Exposition universelle (World fair) and not one single one of them was talking about the element in Rachid Ouramdane‘s new performance that seemed to be at the center of everything: that big, swinging lamp in the middle of the stage. A lamp that, to me, sort of symbolizes this performance: one man getting lost amidst his props. But anyway: Exposition universelle, a solo about ideology and the human body.

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Don’t feed the animals: Xavier Le Roy’s suite of slowly changing landscapes (‘low pieces’)

Posted in dance, performance with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

Call me old school, but as an audience member I’m not fond of being caught up in experiments. That’s what rehearsals are for. Do your research upfront and don’t use me (and let me pay) to help you solve your problems during your performance. So when Xavier Le Roy and his dancers announced, from the stage at Gymnase du Lycée Mistral (Avignon), that they were going to start low pieces with a discussion with the audience during which everything was possible, I feared for the worst.

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Throwing grenades at Jesus as a cry for love (Romeo Castellucci’s ‘On the concept of the face/Sur le concept du visage du fils de Dieu’

Posted in theatre with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

‘And you know what? He had kids throw grenades at the face of Jesus’, somebody was telling the shopkeeper just as I walked into a chocolate shop in Avignon. As I sat down for a coffee some fifteen minutes later, somebody was gesticulating and explaining, at a table next to me: ‘And then they were ripping apart this gigantic portrait of Christ.’  Did Romeo Castellucci leave an impression on Avignon or what? Clearly his beautifully constructed images once again didn’t miss their effect. But I would have been curious to know what all these people really thought of On the concept of the face, regarding the son of God/Sur le concept du visage du fils de Dieu.

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Shellshocked, but extremely alive: five dancers in an abstract maelstrom that sweeps you away (Meg Stuart’s ‘Violet’)

Posted in dance with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

Somebody was waving, as I was leaving the theatre. Waving goodbye to someone else. As I saw that stretched arm, up in the air, in the distance, I realized she had gotten to me. Once again. From now on every waving arm will probably make me think about Violet. For the first time in many years American choreographer Meg Stuart skips all narrative elements and crossbreedings: just five dancers and one musician on stage. For a trip you might or might not like, but one you’re not likely to forget. Violet premiered in Essen, earlier this month, and had its French premiere at the Festival d’Avignon.

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A mysterous door leading to unexpected situations: the elusive Tino Sehgal has come to Avignon

Posted in art, performance with tags , , , , on July 20, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

He doesn’t allow for his works of art to be photographed. And there are no other traces left, as well. Tino Sehgal must be one of the most elusive artists in contemporary art. Over the past few days I’ve become an addict of his This Situation, here in Avignon. Everyday I spend some time listening to conversations taking unexpected turns at Salle Franchet. As I said: no pictures allowed. That’s why you’ll have to do with a picture of… the door leading to that situation.

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A sports game on a football field? No: a spellbinding choreography (Boris Charmatz, ‘Levée des conflits’, Avignon)

Posted in dance with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

Last time I said: try to steal a ticket (see review here). This time I’m inclined to say: don’t buy a ticket. Just go and stand on that Pont Edouard Daladier, with the cars racing by behind your back, and you’ll be able to see Levée des conflits for free. A dance performance in open air, on the green, green grass of a football field? No wonder I wanted to see  this extraordinary piece by Boris Charmatz and his 23 dancers once again, now that it was adapted especially for the Festival d’Avignon.

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