By Lisa Lanzi
One dancer, male / two solos - Pascal Marty, France. Two choreographers - one female, one male - Astrid Boons, Antwerp; and Lewis Major, Adelaide. In situ at The Odeon Theatre - Home of Australian Dance Theatre, Norwood - inner suburban Adelaide. Lewis Major is also the producer for this programme through Lewis Major Projects.
If possible, I would immediately return and experience the works again. Alas, it is at once a world premiere and a one night season. Also, it would be impossible for the performer to enact these choreographies twice in one night; such is the demand on both the physical and emotional levels.
My dance-trained kinaesthetic muscle memory witnessed and processed visually and viscerally the movement extremes present in these works but my mind simply did not compute. Pascal Marty is not merely a dancer but a phenomenon. His physicality defies norms and pushes boundaries in its expressive possibilities, above and beyond essential technique.
Marty is a spellbinding performer who defies gravity and musculoskeletal norms. Astrid Boons’ Decay presents a landscape of struggle. It appears that this broken mannequin character is anchored initially to one spot on the earth reminding me of a persistent nightmare from my childhood where gravity was extreme and the weight pressing down on my person was immense and unbeatable. It is not a completely comfortable experience viewing this piece. The physicality is such that we observe shoulder blades almost ‘kissing’ across the spine and ‘uncooperative’ limbs bending in ways they should not! The nightmarish quality of this work sees Marty manipulated by unseen, possibly malevolent forces. To start, the prone figure pressed flat on the ground attempts to animate body parts and slowly the movements become larger and more twisted. Rarely does the dancer stand completely to the vertical, the movement remaining grounded and becoming more frenetic as the body is seemingly tossed across the space. The original music (Miguelàngel Clerc Parada) builds with a very gradual crescendo - a low pitched ‘static’ roar and an almost subsonic booming mirroring the tenor of the choreography.
Lewis Major’s work, Epilogue, is a mesmerizing and sinuous exploration, again pushing physical boundaries with Marty’s unique body language at the fore. The curtain opens on the solo figure, facing upstage and recalling perhaps Nijinsky’s faun or a stylized classical Greek sculpture. As the stillness is gently disturbed and the strains of Debussy’s Clair de Lune are played, puffs of fine white powder lift and fall from the body of the dancer. The stage surface is also covered by this talc like a sprinkling of early Winter’s snow. As the dancer hypnotically describes circular movement at all levels, the white ground becomes a tracery of intricate patterns when Marty’s feet glide over the surface. We perceive this patterning as a whole other level of the choreography, a little like the fine furrows made by an ice-dancer’s skates on the rink or someone’s shadow as it moves with them but on a different plane. At times stillness occurs and the mood is meditative, at times the dancer flies across the stage ending in a dramatic slide. As the work progresses Dane Yates’ sound design alters the piano sounds and becomes less familiar, more disturbing.
It is compelling to watch this solo dancer command a stage, at once focussed on the internal and physical expression of the choreographers’ creativity but still drawing the audience in to this otherworldly performance. Bravo!
Photos Supplied by Lisa Lanzi
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.