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Modify from Thomas Hauert/Zoo at Tanzquartier Wien

Entering the hall one faces a bare enormous stagespace covered in a large square white cloth.

Above it all hangs a photograph of an apartment. A long view from the backwall through three rooms to a window in the front. The ceilings are high the windows reveal a European city – it could be Vienna, Paris or Prague. Throughout the rooms there is stuff strewn. A mess. Personal belongings. Music, sweaters, a space heater, shoes, socks, covers, books. Everything. Home of students.

The lights dim. A Handel symphony rises.

The eight dancers enter. They are all dressed as if in elaborate pyjamas with long sleeves and full trousers. The back of all the costumes is white, the front various grey and red silks. A continuum.

They begin to wander past one another around one another. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Some of them leave the stage, some of them return.

It goes on. The movement is smooth and rhythmic, if not precise. Somewhat entrancing, if not compelling. Modify03

Something like watching a clutch fly together and apart, in circles.

The music changes. We have Music for the Royal Fireworks. Now some kind of strange court dance.

Very little emotional contact between the dancers. Very little emotional contact with the audience.

Now the dancers are hot. They’ve been moving fast for nearly an hour. They come together and dance as a single great body with eight arms, a cross between a caterpillar and a butteryfly. Interesting. Now they roll as a group into one another a melange of limbs and torsos, half partouze, half students stuffing themselves into a Volkswagen for a place in the Guiness Book of World Records.

Impossibly many in such a tiny space.

The dancers break apart and run and dance again. Now a duet or two. More emotional. How did they find contact? Why? A mystery, if a happy one.

The show as if begins anew. Three strong bands of light, red, yellow and blue traverse all the dancers.

But it is the end. An hour and a half of incredible music and hypnotic movement.

The concept was interesting – an updated Baroque court entertainment – but it is let down by the quality of the performers. None can be singled out as especially bad, but there was not enough presence or physical energy in any of the performers to hold us spellbound. The same show performed by the NDT, for example, would have been almost mesmerizing.

Only one dancer stood out. He looked very much like Joseph Fiennes and shared a cool intensity and concentration with his actor counterpart. His name I cannot tell you unfortunately.

Recommended. Beautiful music and a relief from the weight of the world. Pattern and grace.

Photo © P. Meuwissen

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