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A dazzling December Dance night by Forsythe and Sciarroni

As one of the last beautiful surprises of 2017, the annual international dance festival, ‘December Dance’ took place in Bruges last month.  This renowned festival is a collaboration between Cultuurcentrum Bruges and the Concertgebouw and started in 2006.  While in the even years the festival has been built around a geographical focus, in the odd years it invites a prominent choreographer as curator.  After Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Akram Khan, Wim Vandekeybus and Jan Fabre, this time curator Christian Rizzo was the pioneering programmer.

We went to see American choreographer Forsythe’s contemporary ballet ‘Second Detail’ and Italian choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni’s ’TURNING motion sickness’,an inspiring diptych !

Turning

© Michel Cavalca

Sometime in October, I was checking the Bruges Concert Hall’s website and it got me with one line: Bruges was going to host a dance festival, December Dance, during December 2017. An early New Year’s gift for me! I began to joyously skim through the pieces that would be performed during the festival. There were numerous performances and workshops that I would love to attend. But there was one night by two choreographers I just couldn’t miss.  On 9 December 2017, brilliant William Forsythe’s ‘Second Detail’ and rising star Alessandro Sciarroni’s ‘TURNING motion sickness’ by Ballet Opéra de Lyon. Forsythe’s work is a finesse, deftly reconstructing the classical ballet. As the curtain is up for Sciarroni’s TURNING motion sickness, you are flabbergasted and the piece starts to hypnotise you right away.

 Turning

© Jean-Pierre Maurin

Second Detail by William Forsythe

 

With his distinct style and revolutionary works, American choreographer William Forsythe is a genius choreographer with an almost forty two years of career in choreography. Utmost theatricality, deconstruction of classical ballet, ground-breaking contemporary dance works and experimental music are just few characteristics of him. In his abstract work ‘Second Detail’, we see fourteen dancers on stage with tight, light grey leotards performing to an electronic music piece, which is quite exhausting to the ears. The geometric patterns and fragmented movements of the ballet make you question the sharp rules of the classical ballet. In this incredibly dynamic contemporary piece, there are no lead dancers, no thirty-two fouettés or long, delicate promenades. It is as if free will is replacing strict forms. As we moved to the second half of the ballet piece, the stage welcomes one female dancer, with a ripped off white dress and messy blonde hair. I strongly sensed an influence of Pina Bausch’s free dancers in her movements that created a juxtaposition with the rest of the dancers. The only disappointing part of the piece is its length, as it’s shorter than an hour. Yet one might also consider this as a brief welcome to the striking world of Forsythe. On behalf of all balletomanes, I could only wish Forsythe another forty years of finesse choreography!

 

TURNING motion sickness by Alessandro Sciarroni

 

Turning 

© Jaime Roque De La Cruz

Young people standing across the stage with daily, mundane clothes, looking almost blank. This is the first shock when the curtain rises after the short interval for ‘TURNING motion sickness’. An Italian choreographer active in the field of Performing Arts, Sciarroni is shaking the dance world with his contemporary dance choreographies where dance is intertwined with surprising themes, professionals from varying disciplines and visual arts. He succeeds in puzzling and questioning the audience while pushing the physical limits of dancers in his mesmerising pieces. In ‘TURNING motion sickness’, after the dancers stayed standing still for a couple of minutes, they slowly take tiny spins around themselves. The seemingly never ending spins eventually become bigger and bigger, and are followed by dances from a wide range of styles, such as juggling or folk dancing. As they spin without a stop, one cannot help to reckon the concept of turning. In one of his interviews on this piece Sciaronni  mentions the mystical word ‘turning’. It is the act of turning, yet it also stands for the act of transformation. As you start observing, everything is constantly turning. It’s no wonder why Sciarroni is becoming an extraordinary figure in the international performance dance stage.

 

From 6 until 16 December 2018 Bruges will again be the place to be for world-class performances by old and young talent at various locations. A lively and unpredictable discovery of the world of contemporary dance is always guaranteed.