4.5 : writing on dance : NDT 1 : marco goecke, crystal pite, gabriela carrizo, león & lightfoot


Marco Goecke: Woke Up Blind. 29.11.2017, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT 1) at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin.

Make no mistake, it seemed to shout, this evening we will be dancing with our bodies, our full bodies, our virile bodies! Specifically, the arms, arms that initiate our buzzing, birdlike physicality, arms that manipulate heads and torsos, arms that steer bodies through the thickness of space, onto and off of stage, in curves and lines, slicing here, sputtering there. Hot breath. Legacy appears in bare chests and red trousers, it’s true, but if this piece is about running with and against the music, stretching and pushing itself with the current, if it is about youth, if it is about speed, if it is about abandon…

Solo and duo moments are estatic, but is tightly timed ensemble work, excited by its own energy, moving away from the themes at hand — or is this love?


Crystal Pite (with text by Jonathon Young): The Statement. 29.11.2017, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT 1) at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin.

One act, four characters, one problem: the issue is indistinct but serious, and, as with such problems, someone is sent down from upstairs, on the record/off the record.

We are all familiar with dark ambiguities, with that bureaucratic dialogue, we hear the back and forth spoken and know it as our own, but now it is underlined with movement outrageous, dangerous, sharp, and desperate, now it is peeled back with physicality fragile, courageous, and raw.

The physicality is impossibly apt, impossibly virtuosic yet impossibly necessary, sometimes affirming our opinions, at other times denying us, surprising us, dismantling us — so much movement and yet all meaningful — the harm that banal evil wrecks upon our souls unquestionable.

Trembling, shaken, grateful applause.

An immensely important work for the possibility of dance to alter perspective –– and a startling theatrical, political, artistic, and choreographic achievement.


Gabriela Carrizo: The Missing Door. 29.11.2017, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT 1) at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin.

Doors swing of their own volition, cloths unaccountably fly through the air, hands slip through the slimmest of cracks; bodies freeze mid-air, repeating, rewinding, recoiling; a dream that fell and cracked its head. Remarkable are the acrobatics; remarkable too is the fuzzy puzzle we behold: nothing is pushed, nothing is said, the humour is dark and the dark is humour, we glimpse all horrors and yet can never be sure that we even saw one. Full of its rich theatrical, cinematic, and art historical lineage, the drama of gendered violence is indisputable — but is there another way?

Dreamscapes of physical theatre No Exit.

Green climbs over us.


Sol León & Paul Lightfoot: Safe as Houses. 29.11.2017, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT 1) at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin.

I Ching or Book of Changes, the oldest of the Chinese classics, an ancient text of divination and a foundation and inspiration for so many works of modern dance, is here transfigured into an impression of swoops and curves, black calligraphic lines on a turning white page, bright, white flecks of light. Pulled from 2001, this work of León and Lightfoot’s — created, significantly, prior to their appointment as in-house choreographers at NDT — is structured by eight dancers, that is, eight constantly redrawn lines, three decisive musical scores, two yin yang energies, and one endlessly spinning wall.

Enlarging our vision beyond the usual borders of the human world dance inhabits, we sense a grappling with questions which lie apart: time is shifted, gathered up, and spread, space lies symmetrically here, asymmetrically there. The physical beauty is so clear, so precise, so intentional, so balanced, so plainly palpable the writer forgets her pen; she doesn’t even notice the spectacular silk walls fall to the ground — « captivation » claims new meaning.

Unfolding crumpling expanding diminishing minutes seconds centuries.


Reviews by Sasha Amaya for Viereinhalb Sätze.