Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pina Bausch - Agua

Four men walking on stage from the auditorium, wearing big platform shoes.
A woman eats an orange, while a man holds a mike next to her face and makes noise 'sluuuurp!' 'It's so delicious'
A man talks to a woman: 'I love your round eyes, they're so pretty'. 'They're not pretty!', she replies 'they're horrible! So round!' He compliments her on her hands, feet, hair, mouth etc, but she is never happy with them ('I move my hands fast so no one can see how small they are! I wear long dresses to hide my feet.')
A man tickles a woman by putting his face close to her arm and having his eyelashes brush against her skin when he blinks.
Women doing cartwheels over the men's backs.
White leather sofas arranged in big semi-circle. Dancers lounging on them.
Holding baskets of fruits, tarts and other things on their hands, dancers serve coffee to the front row audience.
A woman walks arm in arm with a man. She puts lipstick on him (his forearm, his belly button) and kisses those parts so her face end up with lipstick marks.
A small female dancer gets lifted by a tall male one, who puts his hand either side of her neck, towards the back of her head, to lift her.
Another tall man lifts her too, slowly walking across the stage, while throwing little parachutes in the air.
A cocktail party in a tropical garden.
A dancer tries to perform her choreography, but she is always interrupted by another one who keeps coming on stage to talk about her childhood dance classes.
After having thrown an old boot up in the air with her right foot, a woman looks at the direction it has fallen to predict the weather. 'It goes that way, see? And that way means the weather in London tomorrow will be rainy!'
As a man crosses the stage, a woman suddenly runs and lies in front on him, her dress over her face, showing him her body.
A woman goes through what she wanted to do but couldn't because it was impossible 'I wanted to saw this table's leg, and see it fall.' 'I wanted lots of newspaper, more than that, and put fire to it, but it was not possible.'
Projections of green vegetation and the sea.
Playing with silly beach towels printed with ideal, sexy bathers (women with big breasts wearing thongs for example).
A dance solo that seems to be a collection of small daily gestures, ending with a cigarette thrown on the floor.
A dance solo with sudden slow arm movements: a hand coming down across the face, an arm rising in an arc above the head.
A water fight.

Some of the music used in Agua
PJ Harvey - The Wind
Tom Ze - Emere
Susana Baca - De los amores
The Tiger Lillies - Pretty Lisa
Bugge Wesseltoft - Fast Forward
Bebel Gilberto - Samba da bencao
Tom Waits - Walk away
Julien Jacob - Shanti
Caetano Veloso / David Byrne - Dreamworld/Marco de Canavezes
Carlinhos Brown - Omelete Man

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pina Bausch - Nefés

Ten women and ten men.
Water seeping through the black flooring, creating a small lake in the middle of the stage.
Reflection of the water and the dancers's shadows on the back wall.
Men lying on the floor wearing white towels, as if in a hammam. Women stand next to them, head down, long hair hanging over them. They brush their hair slightly in rhythm.
The men sit on black chair. The women come crawling on stage and stop next to them. They pet their hair.
'My grandmother had 10 children!' she says after ten dancers come out from under her dress.
In the darkness, two women walk into the water with torches, and pick things up in their dresses (seafood?)
A male dancer sits cross-legged on the floor. To impress a girl, he throws a pillow high up in the air and as the pillow comes down he moves his leg and jumps slightly so the pillow is now under him. The girl, also sat on the floor, is impressed so he does it several time until he finds his way around her. He turns on himself, taking her with him.
'I am too fat for you!'
The men make a long line, holding hands, across the stage. It seems infinite as the last man in the line walks up to the front, and it goes on off stage and re-appears. The women do the same, going down into the audience.
The empty space around women's arms when the men they were holding leave their place.
A female dancer is lifted by a man and held horizontally as he turns and turns and turns. Several men replace him. When she is finally back on her feet, she is dizzy.
A branch balancing on a head, with inflated plastic bags hanging at each side.
A picnic.
A row of men slowly moving across the stage, from one sitting position facing the audience, to the same one facing the back. At the back, a row of women also do a routine of gestures all together, which takes them across the stage. They all smile happily at one another, and even hum the Tom Waits song that is playing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pina Bausch - Bamboo Blues

Eight men and eight women
Long white hanging fabric moving in the wind
Recorded sound of kisses
Tow men hugging and running fast in a circle. Sometimes one stops running and lets himself be dragged by the other.
Two by two, the dancers walk down in a diagonal, demonstrating different ways to tie a sarong (white with a blue trim)
Barathanatyam dancing. Dancer Shantala Shivalingappa's hands and wrists.
A man walks down in a diagonal towards front right. A woman keeps trying to stop him: she flungs herself at him, wrapping herself around his feet. She then grabs his arms and rolls herself to him, he then walks backwards and she slides down to the floor.
'I dreamt I was flying! I was flying! I was flying and cleaning the floor at the same time! I was flying and cleaning! I was also ironing!'
The woman who is telling us about her dream is surrounded by two men who each flap about a big fan-like square. Her hair and dress move about the place.
A vision of a woman washing her hair by the river: dry ice smoke, pulverised mist, a stone, a bucket
Women lying on the stage, their mouth moving as if cows grazing, looking impassibly at the audience
Pieces of branches balanced ona man's head, shoulders, arms, hands, while he walks slowly

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pina Bausch - Der Fensterputzer (The Window Washer)

A mountain of red silk flowers
Good morning! Thank youuuuuuu! Allo the YMCA?
'His nostrils were moving like a horse who does not yet know his rider'
Big circle of the right arm and fall sliding on the floor to the right, one dancer, then another, and another
Front row audience members getting their tickets inspected
A footbridge hanging from the ceiling, a man with a suitcase walking on it
A French woman singing a Chinese song 'I heard it in Hong Kong! I love that song! So beautiful!'
A woman walking on a long table, from one end. At the other end, a man slowly lifts it until it becomes very steep and the woman falls, sliding down
A woman is standing in front of a man. She bends her knees to go into crouch position, while raising her arms and putting her hands behind the man's neck, as though she hangs off him. He moves her slowly down to a lying position.
A skier going down the flower mountain, and then sidestepping back up
A bare chested man wearing a diamond necklace, holding two pekingese dogs, walking slowly down the mountain, surveying the stage and the audience
A Korean and a Japanese dancer singing a childhood/school song for two, complete with hand gestures
The dancers showing childhood photos of themselves to the audience
Soundtrack of fireworks explosions. Flowers being thrown in the air.
Women laughing and using their hair to hide their faces
The dancers, one after the other, climbing up the flower mount, again and again
A man hangs upside down on a table that is held vertically. A bucket of water is by his head. An empty bucket is hanging off the table, by his feet. With a small glass he moves the water from one bucket to the other, in a striking display of his abdominal power. After 3 or 4 repetitions, a man empties the second bucket back into the first one. Repeat.

Some of the music used in Der Fensterputzer
The New World Renaissance Band - La Prima Vez
The New World Renaissance Band - Minden Allat Orul Az Tavasznak (I may have imagined this one...)
The New World Renaissance Band - Dum Estas Inchoatur
Cesaria Evora

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pina Bausch - Ten Chi

A big whale fin on the stage.
Cherry blossoms slowly falling for three quarter of the show (including the interval).
A Japanese female dancer being carried by two men: her arms are over their shoulders, and they are running at speed in a circle. Her legs are stretched so her feet barely touch the ground. Her dress and her hair fly in the air. When the movement is repeated later, blossoms cover the floor and fly as they pass.
Three men are brought on stage, their hair gelled to stand up on end. Two take on martial art poses, as if preparing to fight (legs wide apart in a plie, one arm up behind their head, the other stretched towards the opponent). They suddenly look like manga characters. Chairs are brought in and placed under them. They sit.
'I was in Japan and we did a lot of research! We did rice research... errr.... sake factory research... ikebana research, no, no ikebana research...'
The female Japanese dancer uses a white piece of cloth in different fashions on her head: if the kerchief is used that way, it's a farmer, that way, it's a businessman etc. 'Are you looking Helene? Are you looking?'
A blonde woman stands on a chair, holding a big block of ice. 'Shall I drop it?' 'Yes' replies the audience. She hands it to a guy standing next to her (not on a chair) 'Oh god it is so cold I can't tell you'. She takes it again. Meanwhile another woman has come in. She crushes a wine glass on the floor, takes off her high heels and stands on the broken glass. 'Why is she doing that?' asks the first woman with the block of ice in her hands. 'Why is she doing it now? I better come back later!'
A French woman enters from the back of the stage. She is channelling a Japanese tourist guide 'I am sorry, I am really sorry, but we have to go now. Very sorry, we should go.' She walks almost out then runs back to the front of the stage 'Oooooh sorry sorry I am really sorry, but I think, maybe, we should go now. We should think we should go now, maybe. I am really sorry.' She turns around then returns 'Ooooooh I am sorry I am so sorry. I think maybe we need to think about leaving all together. We should also think about thinking of leaving now.'
A beautiful solo by a dancer in a black dress - not sure how to describe it. There was sorrow in it (for me).
Dancers running in and out of the stage, performing little bits of choreography at high speed.
A Japanese girl taking surreptitious pictures of her with a tall guy. When he offers to actually stand with her in the picture, she simply bows politely, embarrassed.
The Japanese dancer teaching another one how to stand and sit properly, moving her arms, legs and head in the correct position.
'Can you snore?'
A woman counting the fingers of the audience members on the front row.
An actress speaking cliche Japanese words: 'Fuji-yama! Fuuujiyama! Fa-fe-fo-fi-fu-fai-fei-foi-fujiyama!'
Roaring laughter of dancer bringing a cherry blossom, a marrow and spring onions on stage.
Male dancers carrying female dancers on their backs.

Some of the music used in Ten Chi
Balanescu Quartett - Still with me
Robert Wyatt - La Ahada Yalam (No one knows)
Beth Giddon & Rustin Man - Funny time of year
Shizuko Kasagi - Sentimental Daina
Gustavo Santaolalla - Should I let her know (21 Grams soundtrack)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pina Bausch - ...como el musguito en la piedra ay si si si...

7 men, 9 women.
A woman on all fours to the front left of the stage, two men enter, lift and carry her. She screams. She stops when they put her back down.
She stands up, the men enter and lift her up, passing her from one to the next.
She then hugs one of the male dancer and they fall to the floor, her body towards the left, his towards the right. Their legs are pulled and they have to separate. They run towards each other again, and are separated again.
A man slowly pours water on a the head of woman who is sat on a chair. She puts make-up on at the same time.
A small female dancer doing a solo, in a pink dress, with hints of kathak and bharatanatyam dance: knees out, feet stamping, open hands with thumbs up, elbows leading the arms.
The same small dancer hiding under a black coat at the back of the stage, and suddenly coming out 'Hello! I am here' and running around, a bit like a kid, jumping from a chair, running off stage 'bye bye bye!'
A man on a chair welcomes all the female dancers, who enter one by one from stage left. 'Bienvenida! Que bella eres! Dame un beso!' He gives them a kiss as they walk past. As one leaves, another comes in. 'wow wow wow! La pequena!'
A woman walks across the stage with a wooden fish on a leash. 'I want to teach my fish to walk. Walk! Walk fish walk! No swimming! Walking!'
The white set slowly breaking and fragmenting, leaving black cracks, as if an earthquake had happened.
A woman lies on the floor, her long hair trailing. A man comes and lies so his head rests on her hair. She slides away.
Green, red, beige, white, pink flowy dresses.
A man lies on the floor and covers himself with a long black coat. He slowly moves the black coat up his body. A second man lies behind him, his feet next to the shoulders of the first man. As the coat gets to the first man's face, the second man takes hold of it and moves it along his body. A third man comes behind him. The first man then goes behind the third man and so on.
A male dancer runs from one side of the stage to another, an older dancer in tow, who tries to catch up with him, grabbing his jacket.
A line of seven female dancers, all lying on the floor, looking up at the audience, propped up on their forearms. Cue a series of arms gestures performed in unison: they slide up, and down, tap the floor, touch their faces. Six men do the same.
A woman holds her right wrist. She pushes it down and her right arm follow the movement in a big circle. As the wrist and hand come back to their original position, a man is there to catch and kiss it.
Many, many beautiful solo dances full of flowy movements, mainly through the arms, and often lead by the hand or the wrist, and if there is force or power in there guiding the whole body.
A man wearing a jacket but no trousers, in red high heels.

Some of the music used in ...como el musguito en la piedra ay si si si...
Violeta Parra - Volver a los 17 (obviously)
Victor Jara - Deja la vida volar

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pina Bausch - Nur Du

This piece had more 'tanz' than the previous piece in the season, Viktor, the atmosphere was less dark. The set was large, wide redwood tree trunks. Here are some images that have stayed with me.

Seven or so pure dance solos, all involving mainly arm movements but all a bit different. Wavy hands and arms, big circles, a repeated step kick to the front and a fall to the back, a little finger man travelling along a neck.
An arm chair made of three men, a woman resting on it.
A lifeless woman being made to stand on a chair, then slowly lowered down to the floor by a man holding her only by her hair. Another woman stumbling across the stage, repeatedly falling forward, only to be caught at the last moment by a man. A song whose lyrics sing 'I will hold you' in the background.
A giant blown-up whale.
A small paper house on fire, in the middle of several couples dancing tango.
A glamorous lady lying down on a bed made of six kneeling men, who move up and down in wave. 'Under my dress I am naked! I am sorry hahaha I am so sorry!'
A man in a big blue ball gown, with diamond necklace, saying Hollywood quotes: 'I always remember faces, but for you I'll make an exception.' 'In this town they shoot too many pictures. They don't shoot enough actors.' 'With so many ugly people around, no wonder they pay us so much money.' 'Everything good in this movie was made by me. Everything bad was made by others.'
A man with black wings moving up a tree.
A woman standing on the stomach of a man who is lying down, moving up and down with his breath.
A woman in a black coat and short dress runs to a tree: she takes down her pants. She runs to another tree: 'Haha there's another one' and takes down another pair of pants. Repeats it two more times.
A woman practices the rolling Spanish r 'Ferrrrrrnando. Rrrrrrrregina. See, I can do it, he cannot.'
A self-defence practice class taken to slow-motion, as a woman silently and slowly demonstrates tricks to fight back your assailant with a knowing look to the audience.
Twenty five men ironing their shirts.
Water in big plastic bags.
A plastic bag attached to a man's neck, turned up to go over his head: water is poured in it to cover it. He wears underwater glasses and looks at us, magnified, bubbles coming out of his mouth.
A dancer remembering her football cheerleading routines from high school 'oh my this one, this one, this one is great' she gushes: 'ACTION! A-C-T! I-O-N! A-C-T! I-O-N! Give us some action! yeah!' jumps jumps jumps, a little sadly 'oh that was great'.

Some of the music used in Nur Du
Simon Diaz - Tonada de Luna Llena
Simon Diaz - Luna de Margarita
R. Carlos Nakai - Stone Mirage
Harry Connick Jr - The Last Payday
The Platters - Only You
Alfredo Marceneiro - Mocidade Perdida
Elis Regina - Alo, Alo, Marciano
Dinah Washington - Blowtop Blues
The Clark Sisters - Sugartime
Rudolfo Biagi and Hugo Duval - Mariposita
Orland Silva - Neusa
Amalia Rodrigues - Libertacao

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Pina Bausch - Viktor

There is no way I can even try to write a review of a Pina Bausch work. I am seeing 10 this month. Erm.
So I'll just share some of the images that stuck in my mind. Add yours in the comments section! There were so many tonight.

women in long evening dresses holding gymnastic rings and swinging in the air
a woman fountain, spurting water from her mouth
a man washing his face and body from the woman fountain
a dead couple being married
female dancers serving bread and jam tartines to the audience
a row of close-knit java couples slowly moving across the stage, and down some stairs into the auditorium
three hilariously bad waitresses with back problems
a hooded, crooked man with a cane, directing the dancers
three dogs for auction
two sheep
a fairytale with no happy ending: 'all is death'
a woman running on the stage, saying 'good evening' to the audience, before checking the time on her invisible watch and realising she is late and running out for something, only to return
sweeping arms, small gestures and flowy hair
earth being thrown down an earthy wall, and falling across the stage. it sounds a bit like rain.
smoking and puffing
a story about one's grandmother told while skipping around the stage: 'I was born in a bunker'

Friday, June 01, 2012

Crazy dance from the archives - 1

Some kooky, crazy, not-sure-I-can-quite-believe it dance videos.

Dear Quincy 1968

Not sure where to start with this one. The music obviously brings up completely new associations nowadays, and I actually get the whole Austin Powers movements after seeing this video: the wacky poses, jerky arm movements, walking in funny fashion, it's all there.
The female dancer is Carmen de Lavallade, one of the major African American dancers of the 20th century, and she is perfect as the sultry and cold seductress. Only her opening walk looks effortful: for the rest, she is in charge.

The choreography is by Geoffrey Holder, who is de Lavallade's husband, but I haven't been able to find out what this was filmed for unfortunately.