(Out of the Lie of No)'
October 15, 2003
-- Sadler's Wells/London
Sadlers Wells into an arena last night for an in-the-round performance.
Choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Cynthia Loemij made their
entrance by running through the empty upper levels of the theatre and
dashing into the performance space clutching the skirts of their voluminous
period costumes which they quickly discarded along with their incongruous
red trainers leaving them in thin white shifts.
“Small Hands (out of the lie of no)” is an hour-long duet danced to highly
attractive music by Purcell, though unfortunately distorted through the
Sadlers Wells sound system. The two women manage to fill the dancing space
with the diversity of their sometimes-simplistic movement – just running
very fast or skipping happily in time to the music. This is punctuated
by periods of silence, almost of reflection, with the dancers becoming
more aware of the audience that surrounds them on all sides. And the audience
becomes aware of the audience too, because as we watch the dancers we
are compelled to observe the variety of our fellow dance fans; the elegantly
dressed woman next to the scruffy student next to the man fresh from his
office in a business suit, but all watching the dancers with the same
intent expressions regardless of their apparent diversity.
The bursts of energy are contrasted with quieter moments. The women dance
in unison and apart and as the work progresses and their flimsy garments
become more transparent with perspiration one becomes more aware of their
very beautiful naked bodies whirling past in such close proximity. During
the performance several of the lamps hanging above the stage had slowly
descended to the ground and one had come down with an almighty crash -
a metaphor for the passing of time? Near the end of the work neon tubes
under the seats started to flash randomly between the legs of the spectators
enforcing the feeling of audience as backdrop.
Finally the women take off their shifts and, casually indifferent to their
nudity, they don more modern attire before briefly resuming their dancing.
As with so much of de Keersmaeker’s work you came away with the feeling
of having witnessed a real tour de force.
Edited by Stuart
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