Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A few words about dance...

As part of this blog I plan to impose upon you my personal opinions on dance-related subjects – this could be a recommendation of an upcoming performance, a review-ish piece about a performance I’ve already seen or just some thoughts on something that is going on in the world of dance. Some of these posts will be about performances where I find myself as a normal, paying member of the audience, while others will find me involved in one way or the other – and therefore completely and utterly biased. I hope you’ll forgive me for the latter.   
For the first installment of this, hopefully, monthly recurring type of post, I’d like to talk to you – rather quickly, because there are only three shows left – about a performance that I simply cannot look upon with unbiased eyes. It is a new performance by the incredibly talented choreographer Tina Tarpgaard. 
Tina gave me a chance with a full-blown, grown-up job as a producer when I was fresh out of university and had only ever been a production assistant. She trusted me with tasks I’d never tried before and never hesitated to take me to meetings and introduce me as her producer. For that, I am eternally thankful.   
Her new performance is called Living Room – and in collaboration with her trusted partners, software designers Jonas Jongejan and Ole Kristensen and composer Pelle Skovmand, she has created nothing less than a room that comes alive. A room that moves, breathes, evolves, and takes in her four dynamic dancers – the gorgeous and captivating Siri Wolthoorn, the tiny and fierce Rumiko Otsuka, the handsome and powerful Jonas Örknér and the tense and intimidating Nelson Rodriguez-Smith – as they challenge some of the relations that we tend to take for granted.
One of the things I admire most about Tina’s choreography is her ability to create mental pictures that stay with you for hours, days, weeks and months after you’ve seen one of her performances. When I left Dansehallerne in Copenhagen after the performance on Saturday night, I carried with me a number of images – Nelson walking around the stage with Rumiko casually thrown over his shoulder. Jonas trying to kick-start his own body, getting a tiny bit further each time before collapsing again. Siri taking over the stage with Nelson, wrapping her body around his and falling on to him with unconditional trust.
Tina’s performances are not easy. They are hardly what you would call traditional, and they certainly don’t fit any cookie-cutter mould for what is aesthetically pleasing. But they showcase some of the most interesting dancers in Denmark in some extremely innovative choreography. They give you priceless moments of surprising beauty that will stay with you for a very long time – paired with some very clever video technology. So if you are in the Copenhagen area, do yourself the favor of swinging by Dansehallerne some time before Saturday – I promise, you won’t regret it!

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