Z00/Thomas Hauert


by Tiit Tumalu

August 15, 2003 -- Kanuti Gildi Saal, Augusti TantsuFestival 2003, Tallinn

Image by Imre Malva


The August Dance Festival is something special in Tallinn, weightier than the summertime glitter that fills most performance spaces here. This was confirmed by the Belgian troupe Z00 who opened the Festival last Friday.

The background of the 5-member group, led by Thomas Hauert from Switzerland, is impressive – most have danced for years in groups such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Rosas troupe and some teach at the school P.A.R.T.S. associated with Rosas. However, the work they presented in the Kanuti Gildi Saal was quite different from Keersmaeker, although her stress on the theme of a dancer as a personality, and his/her diversity, was strongly felt throughout.

“Verosimile” was an ideal or a near-ideal piece of dance, as I would imagine it. It allowed a range of interpretation, not promoting any single perspective. It was something everybody could identify with, people with different preparation and expectations, from ordinary audience to dance professionals. Firstly, it could be viewed as simply a trendy cabaret programme where songs alternate with dance; there is fun, self-promotion and mise en scenes carried by genuine joy of playing.

Another level of interpretation derives from the title, which in Italian means ‘similarly to the real’ or ‘almost like real’. In other words – Hauert and ZOO unlock the illusion of reality that theatre is trying to produce in the viewer. Indeed, isn’t it odd that the experience and sometimes the emotions that we get from a performance are largely relying on deception? Just like “Verosimile” itself – even Hauert admitted that Italian was chosen for the most simple reason: none of them really knows this language.

The third level, the most intriguing, was connected with the dance itself, that I would call nihilistic. “Verosimile” elegantly parodied existing dance concepts, without trying to find something new instead – as if proclaiming that the language of dance has exhausted itself. What remains are the copies of the copies of the copies.

It contained numerous gibes at over-emotional classical dance, hints at different styles and techniques – all that was done ‘verosimile’ or ‘almost like real,’ but at the same time pushing it perhaps too much over the top.

ZOO set the standard high, but there is still much of interest to come in the Festival.

This article by Tiit Tuumalu first appeared in the Estonian newspaper Postimees and was translated by Tiina Laats of The Estonian Institute


Edited by Jeff.

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