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Flash Review 1, 10-12: "Rain"drops
from the Reine of Reich
De Keersmaeker's Latest a Reason to Pray for "Rain"
By Shena Wilson
Copyright 2001 Shena Wilson
(Editor's Note: The following is
the fifth of our month-long series of reports from around the world celebrating
the 20th anniversary of Anne De Keersmaeker's company Rosas. To read more reports,
please type "De Keersmaeker," "Rosas," or "P.A.R.T.S." into the search engine
window on our Home page.)
TORONTO -- Rosas does "Rain" at Harbourfront's
World Moves dance series: I admit my total and purposeful ignorance of what I
was to see this rainy eve. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's reputation precedes her;
I won't recap here. Having just returned from a dear friend's wedding that took
me to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Tuxedo, New York this past week, I am still reeling
from a full gamut of emotions and longed to stretch my mind tonight into dance.
"Rain," created earlier this year and the most recent work by De Keersmaeker,
is the most unpredictable trip of movement that I've seen in ages. I did marvel
at the excellence of the eclectic bouquet of dancers, but got tired of the admittedly
entrancing music by Steve Reich (Music for 18 Musicians). About fifteen minutes
before the end of this seventy-minute production I felt that I was satiated, as
it were, but they were not quite finished. And so, after a sigh of contentment,
I dove willingly back into the trance for the remainder of the piece. I was carried
away, far away. Thankfully.
The performers were dressed by Dries
Van Noten in muted beige and pinks, with various filmy dresses for the women and
simple shirts and cotton trousers for the three men. Five of the six women made
several intriguing costume changes while one woman and one man remained in their
original clothing throughout. A street style. I won't delve into the intricacies
of the groupings and running, the fast flops, the quick echoes of steps and sequences,
all of which were executed with remarkable precision, especially considering the
tricky and almost seamless score. However, my favorite passages include those
with the three men working beautifully together. Signature steps throughout here
do not become tedious, but homogenize. In this company -- and here I can use the
word company in its truest form -- there is a strength, and terrific aplomb that
translates as generosity to the audience, sans that nasty self-absorption thing
that tends to creep into dance-for-dance-sake pieces.
The floor is taped with various geometric
colors, as in a gymnasium. Sometimes the nine dancers look like a group of school
children, then older friends, then city-dwellers -- one can read whimsically into
this, and this is precisely the fun of "Rain." It is seamless and open, clean-cut
and fluid. I was never sure what would happen next. Ever.
Long tasseled ropes, like drapery
cords, hung from high above, a curved curtain of gray cords along the back of
the stage. At various times these are rippled through, crashed into. A water effect.
A waterfall arc framing the children playing inside it -- perhaps. A French expression
comes to mind: il pleut des cords (it's raining cats and dogs). It's raining ropes.
On stage, and as it happens, as I write this, most of today in Toronto.
There's terrific release and strength
and a relaxed atmosphere of camaraderie between the dancers that immediately engages.
As charming ASW, this evening's discerning companion, rightly noted, we can imagine
each of the dancers as a little kid, dancing alone at night in his or her room,
obeying that insatiable need to move. With just a mirror and a tune in the head.
For the first three minutes I was
unsure if I was going to enjoy "Rain" -- due to the music. It is just not entirely
relaxing to me, or not what I;d flick on for a Sunday afternoon to accompany coffee,
indulgent reading and probable napping. In fact, I find it ranges between rather
grating -- thanks to a plunky shrill hum of xylophones and such -- and pleasantly
numbing. Nevertheless, I was not distracted by it to the point that I did not
delve fully into the dance. I was gladly caught in the flow of the movement. And,
as the water drops still fall on my balcony railing, I realize that I'd even go
back to "Rain." The intricacies and energies of De Keersmaeker's "Rain" are too
sumptuous to be gathered in one evening.
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