Introdans: Trompe L’Oeil
Bereishit Dance Company: Balance and Imbalance

Jurrien Schobben and Mathieu Di Scala in Trompe L'Oeil.  Photo Amitava Sarkar

Jurrien Schobben and Mathieu Di Scala in Trompe L’Oeil.
Photo Amitava Sarkar

The four dancers from Introdans in Jiří Kylián’s Trompe L’Oeil proved great favourites at the festival. The Choreographer’s Forum had given them the opportunity to explain in words what they felt onstage and this enriched the experience both for dancers and audience.

Kylián’s fertile imagination finds the fun in so many things: garments, stage props even La Marseillaise, and he writes these ideas into the bodies of the dancers and the movements of the dance. Trompe L’Oeil, written for the great artists of NDT3 is a hard act to follow but these four much younger dancers get to the detail and deliver to full effect. The precision gestures of mechanical toys in the opening moves to the cod-Spanish clapping then morphs into the swivel hips of the rumba where Jurriën Schobben found his match in Alexis Geddes whose animated expression stirred memories of Sabine Kupferberg.

Kylián was probably the first choreographer to write a pas de deux that included a mobile phone: a vintage model complete with antennae. Mathieu Di Scala answers the call but, “I can’t talk now I have a leg in my hand.” Vivian Sauerbreij, who previously showed her sharp sense of comedy as the sneezing swan, is the dancer with the well-shaped leg. The pair handle each comic moment with a sure touch, delighting the audience into laugh-out-loud moments.

Bereishit Dance Company in Balance and Imbalance. Photo Park Sang-yun

Bereishit Dance Company in Balance and Imbalance.
Photo Park Sang-yun

The alternate opening number in the programme was Bereishit Dance Company from Korea. Balance and Imbalance choreographed by Park Soon-he, was just what it said on the tin, alternating aggression and cooperation with off-hand nonchalance. The opening handshake whips into a shoulder dislocating move and then one man throws the other in the air to catch in a neatly coordinated balance. The street style in dress and movement disguises finely honed skill in balancing bodies at extraordinary angles and in extraordinary configurations.

Comedy is not lacking as Kim Ju-hong, director of the Noreum Machi musicians, leaves his drum to confront and tease strongman Ryu Ji-soo into submission. I wish my Korean was up to understanding the banter! The double duets, a tough love section of fight and play, picked up the theme in a cleverly choreographed section.

The five onstage percussionists, accompanying the performers, fine tuned the dynamics building to ferocious waves of sound in the final line-up of unison dance. Effective lighting design follows the floor pattern, lighting the dancers’ way while the intense movement is punctuated by equally intense
moments of stillness. It proved a winning selection.