and Claire Croizé
home’ and ‘Blowing Up’
August 18, 2003 --
Kanuti Gildi Saal, Augusti TantsuFestival
of Renate Keerd by Imre Malva
Renate Keerd is one of the best
known Estonian dance artists and several festivals around Europe presented
her first piece, "Mystical Sounds in the Snoring Night". She
has also won a Philip Morris dance award for her work in 2002 and
is one of only two local choreographers selected to perform in this year's
Her contribution "mobile home" is a two-hander for herself and
Päär Pärenson, lasting 30 minutes and hot off the studio floor. Keerd's
interest in theatre is reflected in the visual richness of the work, combining
movement, slide projection, props and imaginative lighting by Eve Teras.
The work opens with a solo from Pärenson at the back of the stage, between
a corridor marked out by two rows of lights at floor level. He moves slowly
and smoothly, starting bent over with hands and feet on the floor, and
this theme of interchange between the four limbs runs through the piece.
The languor and dim lighting gave me an impression of night and at one
stage in a meditation position he rolls in circles using his back and
his knees creating a memorable image.
The next section sees Pärenson interacting with slides of Estonian scenes
frontally projected onto a screen at the back of the stage. He swims in
a lake, peers into the windows of a house and so on. This suggests a journey
or exploration and although it is good fun, one or two fewer slides may
be better. There is also a good theatrical effect as Pärenson, head to
the ground, blows a line of powder around the stage.
When he is joined by Keerd, they soon slip into boots, which have appeared
onstage, but with Pärenson wearing his pair on his hands. This could have
seemed a gimmick, but I found it visually intriguing as they explore shapes
in an extended duet, with the boots acting as reference points. At one
point Keerd throws herself on her partner with tenderness and need. The
boots are abandoned for the final section and a poem relating to dance
projected on the screen in sections, while the dancers perform. For the
first time my attention wandered a little and perhaps this ending could
be tightened. A copy of the text of the poem would have helped. Overall
I came away with a feeling of distinctive movement and eye-catching theatricality.
I had seen Claire Croizé's "Blowing-Up" in London earlier this
year and it left me cold. However, in the faded beauty of the Kanuti Gildi
Saal with its peeling, Soviet-blue paint and the high Gothic windows providing
a back-drop, the work impressed me much more. Croizé studied at PARTS
and Jonathan Burrows' collaborator Jan Ritsema assisted in the creation
of this, Croizé's first dance solo. Ritsema’s main experience is as an
actor and director and he only came to dance in his 50s. His own "non-dance"
approach can be seen in "Blowing-Up" and this aesthetic seems
more at home in the cutting edge, post-modern dance world of the Kanuti
Gildi Saal, rather than in the context of the generally more conventional
fare we see in the UK.
No one could accuse Croizé of lack of effort and the vigour of the movement
sometimes made me wince for her neck and shoulders. The programme notes
told us that, "She does not strive to create beautiful movements,
but rather to find beauty in the absence of artistic perfection, technical
precision and self-control." The irony is that the work shows her
immense control as she wheels around the stage swinging wide first both
arms and then singly. Certainly the effect is awkward rather than beautiful,
emphasised when she draws on two dreary coats, the second smaller than
the first, to cover her powerful dancer's body.
In one section of the 30-minute work she shakes her head, making her hair
behave like an oscillating mop and in another she jack-knifes forward,
swinging her arms across her body. In the final stages, some of the earlier
choreography is revisited with the addition of a snappy jump step with
one leg bent. Here Croizé also slows some of the movement and beautiful
lines appear, as a contrast to the dynamic, but utilitarian motion we
have seen before.
I was pleased to have the chance to revisit "Blowing-Up" and
the experience reminded me that often it is the mood of the viewer or
the ambiance of the surroundings that dictate our opinion of a work rather
than its intrinsic properties.
Edited by Jeff.
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