Recently I noticed that whomever the powers that be are, decided to make President Kennedy in between Clark and Jeanne Mance, one way going west.
I presume that they did this because of the 80/535 stop in front of the Place des Arts metro. This buses are big and block up a full lane when waiting. There were a couple of time this fall when I saw some cars trying to pass them while going west almost crash into cars going east along President Kennedy.
Way back in the dark ages, before the Quartier des Spectacles and the Place des Festivals was a gleam in anyone’s eye. The 80/535 used to trundle down Bleury all the way to Rene Levesque, where they would turn east and then turn north onto Jeanne Mance in order to head back to Parc Ex. But once construction was started on the Quartier des Spectacles and the Place des Festivals the 80/535 stops had to be changed.
So some bright wag decided that the 80/435 (and they also decided to change the number of the route as well) should continue along Rene Levesque until Saint Laurent, turn up Saint Laurent until Ontario, and then stop in front of the new(ish) UQAM buildings.
Which is how there almost was a rash of car accidents on President Kennedy (for the non-locals, Ontario and President Kennedy are the same street, with two different names). But what both the powers that be and the bright wag completely forgot about was that there was another street maybe 50 feet south, that paralleled President Kennedy and was already one way west. It’s called de Maisonneuve.
I don’t understand why they didn’t route the 80/435 to turn left on de Maisonneuve thereby enabling them to keep President Kennedy two way. It seems kind of silly to me to have two streets duplicating the same thing not even side-by-side, but practically on top of each other. Especially since it now means that the 125 going east has to detour up to Sherbrooke and the back down Saint Urbain to complete its route.
Then there is some other silliness as well. Clark street is two-way for 50 feet! And de Montigny is also one way going west (and why didn’t they just rename it to become de Maisonneuve? Why the name change for just two, short blocks?
I might be able to understand if these particular intersections were on the Plateau where they deliberately try to make it difficult, if not down right impossible for drivers. But this is downtown, centre-ville Montreal where they still like cars.
As long as I’m musing about funding sources, one thing I probably should get off my chest. I was interviewing Paula De Vasconcelos recently (more on the interview in another article, later) when she mentioned one possible reason for all the solo dance performances with no sets to speak of. Funding being stretched. While I am all for government funding of the arts, and dance in specific, I’m not so certain that funding a large number of bare bones projects is the way to do it. But I digress.
There was a fair bit of hype surrounding the show before it even started. Articles in Voir, La Presse, The Gazette, and Le Devoir among others. After the show, I could only find two reviews, in Dfdanse, and Le Devoir. I’m not sure what to make of that. But I can’t help but thinking that it might be better if there were more reviews and less previews. But I’m not about to start telling anyone else what they should write about.
The show itself takes place on a relatively bare stage. On the left, there are some large piles of paper. On the right some venetian blinds that quickly become a video screen, a smaller pile of paper and some electronic gadget set up, that quickly proves itself to be a video camera that projects live images on to the blinds.
The whole thing starts very casually when everyone in the audience realizes that Ms. Porte is on stage. No dimming of the house lights, no mention of turning off cell phones, nothing like that. It actually is so casual that it even appeared that Ms. Porte nodded at people she knew as a way of saying “hi” from the stage. Then she starts writing and it gets projected on the screen.
This is where I wish I knew more about the brain and cognition. Somehow, no matter how hard I try the words stay in my memory much longer and stronger than any of the movements. Unfortunately I don’t know if this is due to how my brain is wired. Nor do I know if everyone’s brain is wired the same was as mine. And finally it might not even be due to how my brain works. But I’m not about to start doing research on how the brain works at this time.
Personally, I’m inclined to think that it is me and my brain. If I think back to other memories of movements, such as baseball games from my youth or parties or other events like that, I am much more likely to remember a written description than to actually have some sort of image burned in my memory. Then again, I could be wrong.
But enough of this dilly-dallying around the subject at hand. I probably should get around to trying to write about what I saw. From the title (translated as I for those that are not up to snuff on their French) through all the preview articles, everyone was pretty much in consensus that this was a performance not only by, but very much about Ms. Porte as well.
Obviously, I’m not going to argue that it wasn’t, because I’m not really in a position to. But without knowing an awful lot more about Ms. Porte’s life it’s extremely difficult to identify the salient points. It’s kind of like trying to find a narrative in the paintings of Paul-Emile Borduas.
I‘m fairly certain that she copped some of her own choreography from pieces that she had previously made – I think within the context of dance that’s 100% alright – it’s just that since I am not as familiar with her work as I should be and that my brain prefers to remember text over images, I’m at a slight disadvantage in being able to identify them.
I also wish that there had been some sort of chronology of her life provided in the program (as per usual, there was no press kit). If you haven’t realized by now, I was trying really hard to impose some sort of plot on the piece and came up woefully short. A month later, I’m still trying to stretch it into some sort of linear narrative, a full month after seeing it (and still having the same difficulties) ‘cuz that’s what I like, darnit!
So what is there beyond plot and narrative? Well, by my count there were 11 different sections. All of them were danced particularly well. While I obviously can’t recognize a plot, I can recognize good dancing. I just wish I knew the vocabulary better so that I could better describe why and how Ms. Porte danced so well.
But let me give it a shot. Somewhere in the middle (according to my notes, it was the fifth section, the one that starts with her writing “revenir a un page blanche,” literally “return to a blank page” but more likely just a more poetic way of stating that she was starting over) in between the point where she falls down on her side and when she ends up with her hands and feet on the ground and her butt in the air, I wrote in my notes “nice sequence.” On the video above, I think it is the part around 2:40 or so with the solo piano that sounds like George Winston.
OK I know, I need some more practice.
So I dunno, despite Je not having an easily recognizable narrative. Despite my not knowing a whole heck of a lot about Ms. Porte’s history. Despite my inability to write clearly about dance (in a pathetic attempt at some sort of excuse, it was dark and I was probably riveted) I still kind of think that it was a pretty kick-ass performance. I probably could foam on uselessly for another 500 words or so, but I figure it probably would be best to wrap it up here, and see if I can’t score another interview with Ms. Porte.
Once again I’m late to the party. The exhibit was up from October 6, 2011 to January 8, 2012. I’m just realizing now, how backlogged those rhymes about the Triennale Québécoise and other things made me. Like Marie Chouinard’s The Golden Mean (Live) I saw it at the end of November, 2011. Jeez! It’s a good thing that there is a history of reviewing shows that you can no longer see, otherwise y’all would think that I am one of the most irresponsible people in the known universe. But before I go find a whip so I can flagellate myself, we gotta get to the verse:
Ed Burtynsky takes really big photographs.
For the most part I don’t think he does anything by halfs.
Big political statements
I hear they cost many many cents.
Mostly on concerns about the environment
Places with natural resources and the changes they underwent.
I really liked the images of the refineries,
Sometimes you gotta think duodecimally and not in binaries.
His pictures of highways were also very impressive,
The Golden State Freeway, like La Joconde is something I won’t outlive.
But condemning Talladega and Sturgis
Is where, from my beliefs, he diverges.
They’re images designed to make you pause and reflect,
I think it is the earth that he wants you to protect.
But it is possible to be too politically correct.
Yes, big photographs are good. I still get weak in the knees thinking about the Andreas Gursky show I saw back in 2002 in Chicago. Big (for the most part) is synonymous with good, especially when talking about photographs.
But this one raised more questions than it answered. The first one being, that it was sponsored by Scotiabank. The very same Scotiabank that has a mutual fund of $170 million dollars invested in “equity securities of Canadian resource based companies, including companies that operate in the oil and gas, gold and precious metals, metals and minerals, and forest products industries.” – The One Sheet (pdf). Does this mean that Mr. Burtynsky is allowing himself to be used for greenwashing purposes? Or is he just willing to take money from whomever without thinking about their ethics? Or something else? I dunno, as I said his show raises more questions than it answers.
The second question that came to my mind as I was looking at it, was how much oil did Mr. Burtynsky use in order to get his pictures? There are shots that could have only been taken from a helicopter. There are other ones where he went to rather obscure places (Sturgis, South Dakota, Walcott, Iowa, Baku, Azerbaijan, Chittagong, Bangladesh) which would have either required some serious long distance driving or flying. And while I’m fairly certain that in order to take his pictures he doesn’t travel alone, I gotta think that he has a rather large carbon footprint.
The reason I ask questions like these, is because according to the press release the images in the show “deliver a social and environmental message that is both disturbing and thought-provoking.” So I can’t be accused of being the only person linking the concern for the environment and the images. What’s that line about glass houses and stones?
But enough about the theoretical questions, what are the pictures like? ‘Cuz isn’t it possible to appreciate them aesthetically without giving one good gosh darn hoot about any political message that Mr. Burtynsky is trying to make? Short answer: For the most part they are very good. As I mentioned up above “Big (for the most part) is synonymous with good, especially when talking about photographs.”
The longer, nuanced and more detailed answer is as follows: Spread over two floors, it presents something like four or five dozen images that vary in size from 68″ x 78″ to 29½” x 36½”, with most of them being 51″ x 63″. Organized thematically, they span three of the four sections that he lists on his website; Extraction & Refinement, Transportation & Motor Culture and The End Of Oil (somehow Detroit Motor City section didn’t make the cut at the McCord, I can’t understand why).
Now while I don’t know too much about photography, there was the aforementioned Gursky show I saw in Chicago and if my memory serves his teachers at art school were Bernd and Hilla Becher. Don’t quote me on this, but if they weren’t the first people to take large pictures of industrial things, they definitely were the folks who made it hip. Mr. Burtynsky definitely owes them something. What I’m not sure. Because he doesn’t copy them (at least as far as I can tell) but at least as far as recognizing that he is mining a field that they were instrumental in making.
Mr. Burtynsky, does them one better, his are larger and in color. Have I mentioned that big is good, when it comes to photographs?
For the most part his images are very formally set up. If I were to make a gross generalization about Mr. Burtynsky’s landscape photographs, I’d say that the picture would be taken from a high vantage point, if not a helicopter, some sort of scaffolding was used, there would be an immense foreground, taking up something like ¾ of the image. There would be mountains in the background, or something mountain-like taking up the other ¼ of the image. The sky (and this is where my knowledge of photography is woefully lacking) is completely washed out, to the extent that I would make a pinky bet that Mr. Burtynsky’s skies are very familiar with Photoshop (or Gimp).
The foreground is some kind of large collection of something industrial. Endless repetition of form with minor variations since each object is distinct. And since they are so large and there are so many objects in the picture it’s quite easy to literally get lost in it. On one side that’s the fun part. On the other, once you realize that there is a formula it kind of makes me think that while Mr. Burtynsky is making some sort of commentary on 20th century industrialization, he is at the same time being very mechanical in how he makes his pictures.
You get the picture.
One other thought that occurred to me as I was looking at the pictures. Not a single one was signed, and there was no information on how many prints had been made. Not that that would detract from the image itself, but it’s just that if I want to buy into the concept that the images Mr. Burtynsky makes are art and not just some mass produced industrial object that happens to look pretty, it would be nice to have his John Hancock on it and know that there were only XXX copies made. But I would guess I’m in the minority here. Or maybe he signed and numbered them on the back.
As I wrote in my notes, there really is no movement in the pictures. There was also a distinct lack of people in the pictures. While I didn’t keep count, there couldn’t have been more than half-a-dozen people. I wonder if Mr. Burtynsky has ever done portraits, and if he has, I’d love to see them. I’d guess that he would ask his subjects to dress in tuxedos. (ba-da-boom!) His images are that formal.
I always find it a tad awkward when I come across an exhibit that has an agenda, like this one does. Even if it is an agenda that I agree with. I find that trying to force an idea on someone by using an art exhibit extremely difficult. In order to do so, the the exhibit, for the most part, has to be incredibly simplistic. It tends to be repetitive as well, and I find that in order to make their point they end up being dumbed down to the point where the idea that they are trying to promote becomes more suitable for five year-olds than adults. As you might have guessed, I’m not five years-old.
But enough of that, and lets concentrate on the pictures. As I mentioned in the ditty, his pictures of highway interchanges are quite cool.
I think part of the allure comes from the fact that he is using something like a helicopter to take the pictures. The pictures he gets are not the type of pictures that are available to M. & Mme. Tout le monde. And that I think is something incredibly significant. That sense of discovery, seeing something for the first time, is a sensation that shouldn’t be ignored. If he took similar pictures, as formal in their composition but from the perspective of a driver, they would not be one tenth as powerful.
Beyond that, if you are in London, England, I think that’s where the show is now, and it is probably going to continue touring and making more people aware of Mr. Burtynsky’s name. The catalogue for the show won some kind of award, but I’m not clear on how it is awarded, so I guess I should assume that it is legit, and not something where you toss the organizers some cash and you get a medal.
Being aware of Ed’s name is a good thing. It makes people aware of Canadian art just a little bit more. I just hope wish that he would push the envelope a little more, instead of playing it safe. He knows how to handle a camera, I’d like to see some images from him that prove that.
About two years ago, I had a sudden flash of insight as to who I thought had created this art. But then I failed to write the name down, and now all I’m left with is the memory of remembering. But not remembering who.
Which is kind of appropriate seeing as how they (it) aren’t that far from the Allan Memorial. But then I had another flash, “how about I write to someone at the Royal Victoria Hospital and ask?” Veronique Scott was extremely gracious and prompt. And if my memory serves, the “flash” I had about the artist wasn’t Michel Goulet. So I still have a ways to go.
Done five years after Les leçons singulières (although the city’s database says that Les leçons singulières were done in 1992, M. Goulet’s website says 1990). They are similar in that they use copper and seem to tell some sort story.
Although it is very very similar in concept to the CCA Garden which was designed by Melvin Charney, who is definitely not Michel Goulet. It’d be nice to talk to both of them and get their thoughts.
I‘ve been feeling guilty. Last year, back in November, I saw THE GOLDEN MEAN (LIVE) (yeah, I don’t like things that are all in capital letters either… But that’s how she spells it) one of the newer creations by Marie Chouinard. I wanted to write about it, but then got hung up in the humorous verse cycle I wrote about the Quebec Triennial. By the time I had finished that, it was the beginning of January 2012, and the absolute need to write about a performance I had seen almost three months prior was more like a theoretical and potential concept than a valid reality.
But then on Friday I had a Marie Chouinard day. I first saw her at the DHC Art Foundation’s exhibit Chronicles of a Disappearance (more on that in a separate article, in short go hang out on the fourth floor for at least 30 minutes, Ms. Chouinard didn’t) in the afternoon. And then saw her at the performance of “Je” by Dominique Porte (also more on that in a separate article) that night. But this time, Ms. Chouinard had to stick around for the entire performance because Dena Davida sat down right next to her and it would have been kind of awkward to leave in the middle of the performance – this is not to imply that the only reason Ms. Chouinard stuck around was because of Ms. Davida, because Je is pretty gosh darn good, but every other time that I have been in a black box with Ms. Chouinard watching something artistic, she has bolted long before the performance was over, unless it was one of her’s. But I digress.
Then I kept thinking about her participation in The Big Bang at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and figure now is as good of a time as any to spill what’s been inside of me on and about The Golden Mean (Live).
So before I forget how, first a bit of humorous verse about
Marie Chouinard’s The Golden Mean (Live)
Marie Chouinard’s The Golden Mean (Live)
Might have been better if done as a shuck and jive.
Real Pixar lamps, some video screens and masked dancers
Lead to more questions than answers.
Zombies stretching” is how I described the dancers movements
There are numerous things that I can think of that would make for improvements.
The only thing I really liked was the woman with the four sided mask
It was almost as good as the art of Karen Trask.
I‘ll have more to say, not in rhyme, but in prose
Somehow rhyming is difficult when holding your nose.
It actually wasn’t that horrible. It’s just that when writing in rhyming couplets I tend to make everything black or white. No shades of gray, whatsoever. It isn’t like I walked out in the middle of the performance or anything.
But getting to the meat of the matter, I imagine that somewhere Ms. Chouinard believes in her heart that The Golden Mean (Live) is truly saying something. Unfortunately it is in a language that I have an extremely hard time understanding.
Also in perusing the press kit, while the piece itself may be named after a mathematical principle (A+B is to A, as A is to B) the piece itself doesn’t seem to be as rigorous. I read reviews where it was danced by 10 dancers in one place and 11 dancers in another and in Montreal there were a total of 14 dancers on stage. And as long as I’m going on about the press kit, there were nine photocopied articles in Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. I’m not entirely certain what the point was. While I’d like to think of myself as a polyglot, in fact I am really just an old and fat opinionated American, commonly referred to as a Tête carrée here in Quebec. The idea that I can really understand four other languages, when I have a hard enough time wrapping my tongue around la langue de Moliere is just kind of silly and a waste of paper.
As long as I am nitpicking, according to Ms. Chouinard the dancers put on masks of the head of state of whatever country they are performing in. But it seems that when they were in Amsterdam last summer someone forgot to tell them that Jan Peter Balkenende had been defeated and resigned, and while technically still Prime Minister, was not the man in charge. It also might account for why it wasn’t performed in Brussels.
And while the catwalk is integral to the performance, in order to, as she told Catherine Lalonde of Le Devoir, get the dancers as close as possible to the audience, to literally penetrate the theatre. [J’avais envie de voir les danseurs au plus pres du public, de faire pénétrer dans l’espace de la salle.] But when it was preformed in Venice there was no catwalk, and it is because of that performance that Tanz magazine named Carole Prieur dancer of the year.
So obviously when you (or I) go to see The Golden Mean (Live), what you see and what I see are not going to be the same thing. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good or a bad thing.
But enough about the background and the nitpicking over details gleaned from the press kit. What about the dance itself? And the even more importantly the dancers? I’d love to be able to tell you what Mark Eden-Towle, Eve Garnier, Benjamin Kamino, Leon Kuperschmid, Lucy M. May, Lucie Mongrain, Mariusz Ostrowski, Carol Prieur, Gérard Reyes, Dorotea Saykaly and James Viveiros did and how they moved. But unfortunately since they were all masked, I have no freaking clue as to who did what. Although after the fact I did realize that it was Carol Prieur who did the unmasked solo.
Depending on where we are in the performance, the dancers are either all wearing some moth-eaten blonde wig with a kind of plastic face shield, occasionally with some hipster glass frames. Or they are wearing photographs of people that have been glued to something like foamcore to keep it rigid. There’s one set that was all Stephen Harper, another set that was a bunch of “old people,” and a third that was all of infants.
It was the infants that I particularly didn’t like, as when the dancers were wearing those masks, they were completely naked. My first thought was did Ms. Chouinard get permission from the parents of the infants before slapping their faces on masks? My second thought was what’s the point? When they had the masks of the infants on, nobody did much of anything. If it was for shock value, it didn’t work at the performance I was at. If it was to make the audience uncomfortable, I’m fairly certain that there were some people in the audience who were made uncomfortable, but it wasn’t a majority, and most people were very polite about it.
Then much later, I went to see The Big Bang at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (I told you that I’d get around to it) in which Ms. Chouinard had some work. That work was four photographs of her dancers with the infant masks on. Apparently she was influenced by an incense burner which she likened to developing genitalia of fetuses. One of the many problems with it was that the crotches of the dancers were very much obscured. Using the lingo of the day, it was a #totalfail. It was made even curiouser because there is a dancer in The Golden Mean (Live) who imitates Marc Quinn’s sculpture Sphinx (Road to Enlightenment) which is at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.
Then at another point, some of them suck in their stomachs just like the statue by Mr. Quinn, and it isn’t pretty. So while the museum asked her to be influenced by a piece that they have (I think it’s a loan, and not part of the permanent collection) she just got confused or something. Another thing that struck me about the masks that were pictures of faces, was that for whatever reason, she had not chosen the picture of anyone who wasn’t Caucasian.
As I mentioned in the verse, an awful lot of the dancing was what I would liken to zombie stretching. Sometimes there was some undulating and Carole Prieur’s solo was what I called “tribal” or “voodoo.” There were a couple of times when two dancers would do something that suggested sex, but was more violent than erotic.
No matter how hard I tried, I really couldn’t put a finger on anything that would unify the whole piece. It didn’t come across as movement for movement’s sake. It sure as shooting didn’t have a plot. There weren’t any incredibly breathtakingly beautiful moments (or movements). In writing this, I am struck how it seems to me as a disparate collection of things that Ms. Chouinard wanted to copy. From the Pixar lamps, to the Quinn statue, I can easily see how each scene could have been copped from some image that she had taken, and then most fruit these days, grafted on to the performance.
It would be an interesting exercise to go through Ms. Chouinard’s sketch book (or the equivalent) while watching The Golden Mean (Live), it would kind of like this:
So there you have it. The Golden Mean (Live) isn’t a bad piece, it’s more of a blah piece. Nothing remarkable, good or bad. it sort of sits in my memory taking up space, and with a little luck that memory will inform future stuff better and worse.
Who would’ve thunk? I kind of like it… OK, let me back track slightly. On January 27th, I went to see Vertical Road by the Akram Khan Company at Theatre Maisonneuve. The company was brought into town as part of the Danse Danse series (who also somehow forgot to give me a press kit, but I digress). In short they were pretty gosh darn amazing. In my notes I wrote “very cool,” “wicked cool!” “I’m riveted,” “Wow!!” and “She’s Amazing!” You get the idea.
In mulling things over, I wasn’t quite certain how or what I was going to write. It’s always easier to write something sarcastic and negative than it is to write something that praises. But then I started to do some cursory research, and one thing that stuck out like a sore thumb to me was how the whole shebang was sponsored by Colas. In the program they had even gone so far as to give some guy named Hervé Le Bouc a full page to explain how his company ended up being partnered with the Akram Khan Company.
I only had one small question. Who, or what was Colas? As it turns out, they are a French company that builds roads (or as they write in the program: Roads). As I wrote up above, “I kind of like it.” It being the idea that some industrial engineering company is paying some kind of coin (and I would imagine and hope that it is some serious coin if they are getting a full page in the program) so that contemporary British dance can be seen.
So it now becomes self-evident here the name of the dance comes from. Unfortunately I wasn’t invited to the dinner with M. Le Bouc and Mr. Khan so I can’t comment on whether M. Le Bouc had any other input into how the dance was created, or if he participated in any other way. Personally, I’d like to think that M. Le Bouc was a big dance fan going way back, and that over dinner he and Mr. Khan hit it off like a house on fire, brainstorming ideas ’till the cows came home. Then after they had become BFF, Akram (after all they gotta be on a first name basis by now) blurts out to Hervé “I know I’ll make a dance for your company!”
Despite not getting a press kit (me, obsessive? nah.) I was able to suss out that Vertical Road is supposed to be some kind of spiritual dance. Mr. Khan is quoted in the program as saying it is “the journey from gravity to grace.” But I’m not entirely clear on what that means, exactly. Is he referring to the force of attraction? Heaviness or weight? Seriousness or importance? Or something else. And grace has equally many definitions, none of which are exactly antonyms of gravity. In fact, riffing off of the seriousness definition you could almost make a point that gravity and grace were synonymous. Almost.
But back to the point at hand, the performance. In reading about it (after the fact) just about everyone seems to talk about Vertical Road as a journey by one person. That did not come across as strongly as you would think during the performance. Salah El Brogy definitely was the “lead.” But there was enough other stuff happening that the idea of a journey really only occurred to me after I read about it and then kinda nodded my head and said to myself (quietly) “yeah, I can see that…”
To me it was much more of a group piece done in about eight separate scenes, beginning and ending quite dramatically with a scrim. At the beginning, I couldn’t quite tell if there was one or two people behind it, and then I figured out that it was only one person, Mr. El Brogy – who I referred to as “the hairy dude” in my notes – because he placed various body bits on it in a kind of shadow play. But what was most impressive to me was how he banged it, like a gong or something, with his hand and it rippled like a vertical lake. At the end he goes back to the shadow play and when the scrim drops the show is over.
For the six other scenes, there is lots of running, jumping, spinning and the like. While I was watching I thought there were some similarities to various martial arts like kung-fu. But while doing some cursory research I came across this article from The Guardian that informed me that
Khan’s dance roots are in kathak – and it shows. It’s a style characterised by mathematically complex rhythmic footwork, spins, fluid arm and hand gestures, as well as dynamic contrasts between speed and stillness.
I also saw some similarities to the Dhikr performed by the Mevlevi Order (as I wrote that I was sticking out my chest proudly, showing off my madd wikipedia skillz!). In plainer language there were some bits that reminded me of Whirling Dervishes.
And if I remember correctly, I read someplace that Mr. Khan is a Sufi, and the whirling dervishes are also Sufi.
But then my theory starts to fall apart when I also noted that certain bits of the show reminded me of Loie Fuuller.
And no matter how hard I try I can’t make any connections between a 19th century American vaudeville performer and Mr. Khan. Other strange visions that jumped onto my head during the performance were of American football referees.
And Chinese terracotta warriors (mainly due to the incredible amount of talcum powder that was on their costumes and how solidly they stood at in the second and third scenes). In what I’m calling the third scene there’s a wicked cool back and forth that I would call a duet except that all eight dancers are on stage doing stuff. Where the shortest woman in the company (sorry but my memory is not good to begin with and since I didn’t get a press kit, trying to figure out if it was Eulalia Ayguade Farro, Konstandina Efthymiadou or Yen-Ching Lin is beyond my abilities – suffice it to say that they all are pretty gosh darn amazing dancers) does a kind of puppet and puppet master dance with Mr. El Brogy (aka the Hairy Dude) made even more spectacular because at various points they trade positions and that who was the puppet becomes the puppet master and vice versa.
It because of things like that, where Mr. Khan plays fast and loose with whatever plot there is, in order to wow and impress the audience with movement that caused me to that there wasn’t much of a path happening.
Some other brief thoughts I had were that while I have never been to Burning Man, the performance was very Burning Man-esque. Sort of like a 21st century version of transcendental meditation done while throwing bodies through space. And while looking up the dancers on the internet I discovered that Ms. Ayguade Farro also danced in the Hofesh Schecter company and immediately recognized the similarities in style between the two.
I should also mention Ahmed Khemis, Yen-Ching Lin, Andrej Petrovic and Elias Lazaridis. Just because they didn’t get anything that I would call a solo does not in anyway mean that they were anything less than kick-ass and amazing dancers. They were and are, and I can only hope that when I grow up that I can dance half as well as they can.
At which point I’ve gone way over any reasonable word count and should probably attempt to wrap this up somehow. An easy way? Next time the Akram Khan company shows up in your town, go buy tickets.