La SCENA Expressby Crystal Chan
/ May 2, 2011
Flash version here
Dancing to Schoenberg
Most people do not think of a Schoenberg
composition as music to dance to. But that has not dissuaded Marco Goecke,
the award-winning resident choreographer of the Stuttgart and Scapino
ballets and celebrated as one of the most inventive artists in his field.
His choreography of Pierrot Lunaire
will be presented by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal this
month and is sure to be an inventive retelling of the contemporary classic.
Also on the program is Goecke's staging of a pas de deux set
to the finale of Stravinsky's Firebird and choreographer and
director of the Wiesbaden Ballet Stephan Thoss's Searching for Home,
which brings to life the music of Philip Glass.
Pierrot Lunaire is the first choreography
by Goecke set to Schoenberg. "I was inspired by Glen Tetley's version
of Pierrot, which is being danced in Stuttgart," says Goecke.
"I immediately loved the music. And the more often I heard it in
rehearsals, the more I loved it."
Schoenberg's atonal melodrama sets to
music twenty-one poems by Albert Giraud (in the German translation by
Otto Erich Hartleben). It premiered in 1912. In the piece, a narrator
recounts the tale of Pierrot in Sprechstimme
(speak-singing). A commedia dell'arte figure, Pierrot never leaves the
stage; the audience follows him through a three-part narrative in which
he first experiences vivid fantasies about love and religion, then a
violent nightmare, and finally, a return to his hometown during which
he reflects on the influence of the moon on his past.
As danced, Goecke's project is a high-energy
piece that creatively remixes moves from mime and boxing. It was dubbed
a ballet noir by Dance Europe critic Ali Mahbouba. “In
his own inimitable style,” writes Mahbouba, “Goecke wondrously succeeds
in fathoming the depths of Pierrot's psyche and his moon madness.”
Glass's Hidden Dimension
A Renaissance man of dance, Stephan Thoss
not only choreographed but also designed the set and costumes for his
Searching for Home. It is an ode to the music of Glass in the form
of an expressionist dance presented by a 16-strong troupe. The piece
was first presented in October 2008 at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden.
Montreal audiences won't see exactly the same production as the original,
however; Thoss has made improvements to the work over the last several
years, incorporating new ideas and tailoring the performance to work
perfectly with the current performers and space.
Searching for Home explores the
concept of self. It follows a young woman whose various personae appear
as separate, often masked, figures. These ghost identities interact
with each other in three magical rooms whose spatial forms are distorted
by lights and mirrors. The working title of the piece was Visible
Emptiness; "the title referred to the work's spatial dimension
and its characters," explains Thoss.
Since hearing Glass's first violin concerto
in 1996, Thoss has frequently favoured the minimalist composer; The
Secret of Bluebeard, his latest dance which premiered this February,
was also choreographed to the music of Glass. Searching for Home
features Glass's String Quartet No. 5, Symphony No. 3, and Symphony
No. 3. "Glass inspires me a lot," says Thoss. "And it
remains a mystery because I cannot say 100% why. There is always a hidden
dimension in Glass and this is my inspiration. A subtle link between
the action of feeling and of thinking. There is something obscure, but
also a clear line with an infinite dimension due to the pace and minimalist
bearings. And it stimulates motility."
Performed by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens
de Montréal; May 12 – 21 www.grandsballets.com
Five Years for The
The Festival TransAmériques opens the
summer festival season in Montreal with 31 shows and events all across
the city. Showcasing contemporary arts from around the world, the fifth
edition of this festival’s impressive lineup comes to us from twelve
countries, including five world premieres, ten North American premieres
and four Canadian premieres.
Well-known visitors to Montreal will
include Les ballets C de la B with their drag cabaret, Gardenia,
and the Schaubühne, which opens the fest with a piece mingling theatre
and dance named Trust.
A chance to see iconoclast Marie Brassard
in a work of autobiographical fiction at Usine C and dancer Israel Galván
taking contemporary flamenco to the max are not to be missed.
Theatrical offerings are diverse, spanning
from a staging of the 1970 FLQ hostage-taking (Octobre 70) to
a musical from the New York City Players Neutral Hotel to a hyperrealist
show from Tokyo which follows the comings and goings of eight young
people living in a miniscule apartment (Yume No Shiro).
Marie Béland’s Behind: Une danse
dont vous êtes héros engages in an almost meta-dance, a spare
arrangement of visual and sound cues which invites the audience to solve
a sort of a “choreographic riddle.” Geneva’s Compagnie Creffe
also presents a minimalist show with Lanx + Obvie at Agora de
la Danse. Canadian darling Crystal Pite’s The You Show will
be popular, and the closing performance is a must-see from New Zealand:
Tempest: Without a Body.
The four free performances are Sylvain
Émard’s Le continental XL, an outdoor extravaganza featuring
200 dancers; Bodies in Urban Spaces, a colourful series of human
sculptures touring from the planetarium; SoleNoid, a robotics
piece where spectators can choreograph eight tap dancing shoes; and
La porte du non-retour, a photo exhibition on African migration.
May 26 to June 11 www.fta.qc.ca