Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spoleto 2: O body swayed to music, O brightening glance.

When Shen Wei writes in his program materials that "I wasn't taught the arts separately, so I don't separate them in my work," he means it.

At first I took this to mean an intimate link between the music and the dance. I buy that: sometimes the music dictates the movement in a way that goes beyond mere choreography.

But he meant more than that, because a ways into the performance of Connect Transfer, it dawned on me (and maybe suddenly on the others in the audience, too) that the large white fabric laid over the stage was not just to allow a contrast with the dancers' costumes. It was a canvas, or a scroll.

The bulk of the movement in this performance was performed on the floor, but it did not look like tumbling so much as dancing horizontally. The movements were circular--not just in the sense of roundness of pattern but also of repetition. Yet this was not dervishness so much as fluidity--as often a gentle motion as a furious one.

When the dancer wearing a mitten dipped in black paint or ink started her pattern, the floor turned into an enormous scroll of running style calligraphy, made not by a brush but a body, or a body and a brush, or a body become a brush. When other dancers appeared with red and then blue and green and yellow and purple--sometimes on their mittens, others on socks or on their backs--the stage had become a brilliant jumble of significant nonsense, and all the while watching it appear on the page was like watching Jackson Pollock paint--if he could really dance.
Makes you rethink textuality.

And the music--written by Kevin Volans, Iannis Xenakis, Gy├Ârgy Lineti--was a knock out.

1 comment:

Yarngineer said...

Sounds amazing. I love it when artists can transcend a singular media.

Are you back in town now? I am so loopy from all of these medications. :)