KVT at the Youth Theater with the Belgians and Goethes
When I go to a performance that is overwhelmingly great I want to share the feeling with as many people as possible and the two European dances in the Europe Meets Vietnam in Contemporary Dance 2012 were more than overwhelming…..so here’s the shouting from the rooftops.
What a night!
Photos for ‘Minus’ and ‘get a revolver’ by Hoang Duc Thinh, courtesy Goethe-Institut
Photos for ‘Lamento’ courtesy Délégation Wallonie-Bruxelles au Vietnam
The Youth Theater was packed to the rafters and the audience got two of the best bits of contemporary dance that Europe has to offer this year…. and all for free.
The first offering was by famous chorographer Michele Anne De May of the Belgian dance company, Charleroi Dance. Her latest offering in Europe called ‘Kiss and Cry’ got wonderful reviews.
On Saturday we saw a piece choreographed especially for one of the company dancers, Gabriella Iaconno. Called ‘Lament’ it’s based around Monteverdi’s music ‘Ariadne’s Lament’ from his opera about the abandonment of Ariadne by Theseus on the Greek island of Naxos.
The lone dancer, over the course of the intense and deeply grounded 50 plus minutes, brilliantly shows the descent of Ariadne into despair and deep depression as the realization hits her that no matter how long she waits, she has been completely left and totally betrayed.
Theseus, young and beautiful Prince of Athens, has gone to Naxos on Crete with a boat load of Athenian youth to be fed to King Minos’ monster son the Minotaur who is kept in the dark labyrinths under the city. Minos’ daughter Ariadne falls for Theseus’ beauty and he persuades her to betray her father and help kill her brother. The deed done, they flee back to Athens with Theseus promising marriage and a royal title. Then he callously abandons her to whatever fate awaits her on Naxos (which the gods decree is to be married off to the old sot god Bacchus and become immortal herself….which is no great reward to the psyche of a young teenage girl who has betrayed her family and then been cast adrift by the fairest young hero b*stard in the whole world).
The theme can be transposed to experiences of everywoman and as we follow the story of Ariadne we are feeling the bewilderment and deep pain of betrayed and abandoned women wherever they are, and their descents into personal hells. Extrapolations are endless and human rights and humanitarian agencies throughout the world can cull devastating Ariadne type scenarios from their files.
It was performance art become dance and the final minutes where the dancer slowly writhes on the floor, seemingly suspended, physically and mentally raped and anguished, was painful but oh so beautiful.
Like the dancer, you end the performance feeling emotionally drained. She drags you through her journey and at the end you can feel her scars.
The Sonny Bono song, ‘Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down’ was used to devastating effect as a finale, and those moments when the dancer clasped the air and sought meaning in silence were all too eloquent and powerful.
I loved the symbolism of the simple costumes and costume changes.