Manlike by Milena Ugren Koulas
A syncopated guttural male vocal percussion is heard in the darkness. Once an overhead light turns on, a man is standing still, facing the audience. From behind him, a female dancer drifts apart from him repeating a phrase which becomes the leitmotif: she covers up her breasts, her sex, and slaps herself out of desperation.Manlike, created by the choreographer and dancer Milena Ugren Koulas along with the musician and performer George Koulas, is inspired by women of the Western Balkans who were forced to become men to avoid being abused. While the opening and closure of the piece echo an agonising ancestral ritual, in which the dancer is exhausted by the male voice, the repeated leitmotif impedes further choreographic development and therefore insight into the negation and domination of the female body.
Relic performed and created by Euripides Laskaradis
Can a bust be used as a loo? Can a speech be delivered in an invented language and still be understood? In Euripides Laskaridis’Relic, the answer is yes. At the beginning one feels as if peeping into a neighbour’s living room. We are smoothly drawn into a room with cables and switches all over the place and objects collected from the trash and recycled. Laskaridis, disguised as an outsize caricature of a humanoid sculpture, inhabits the room, which becomes his stage, leading us through a neatly knitted set of vaudeville sketches.
Laskaridis masters simple but effective movements and a colourful range of vocal sounds. His sharp imagination messes with our expectations on any familiar gesture or attitude he undertakes, transforming them into dreamlike connections. Again and again, each amusing twist makes one feel more and more at home inRelic’s bizarre atmosphere.
Fog by Luís Guerra
An expanding sound floods the stage and stalls as FOG begins. Portuguese choreographer and dancer Luís Guerra frames himself and three dancers behind a transparent curtain. They are half naked and aligned to one side of the stage, moving mechanically and sometimes sensually in an ongoing canon. The hypnotic music and the foggy wall transform the dancers into holograms. The light fades out, and in. There are three figures standing frozen, dyed by blue, red and green spotlights. As if trapped in a canvas, they imperceptibly shift to different positions. Fade out, and in. The four dancers appear one by one beneath the curtain with a disturbing grin, repeating a phrase, paralleling the first scene. Blackout. The hypnotic music is still expanding. FOG’s constant dilatation teases the spectator’s inner clock, swinging from intriguing to frustrating.
Chivalry is dead performed and created by Deutinger & Gottfarb.
No more heroic deeds: Chivalry is Dead. At least in Deutinger and Gottfarb’s piece, in which, sheathed in full silver armour but deprived of damsels in distress, enemies to defeat, swords, horses or holy grails, the pair embark on a quixotic quest. A bare stage —stunningly lit throughout— becomes their bleak battlefield. By kneeling, stretching, leaving and coming back from the stage, resting, falling and recovering, these two knights produce a score – a suite for two armours and obstinacy. A veil of smoke blurs sight of the stage. Burnt out, these tragi-comic knights surrender, stripping off their armour and leaving its parts behind them, shining in the darkness.
Equally poetic and humorous —at times it could plausibly be a Camelot gym facility—this epic journey remains as a metallic mental landscape and resonates in one’s bones, even after it is over.
Barcelona, El Graner 19 d’abril 2015
M.E.N by Edhem Jesenković
Bursting into drops of testosterone, one, two, three and four men appear and disappear from behind a set of oblong boxes. Edhem Jesenkovic builds M.E.N with skilled, dynamic, athletic and fluid dancing sketched through a sequence of solos, duets, trios and unisons. The male quartet on board – Jesenkovic included – attempt to capture the inner worlds and outer conflicts of male identity: a man boxing, men chasing and mirroring each other, throwing challenging and fragile glances, loneliness. However, the gestures and attitudes flounder on the surface. The monotonous music, composed by Havard Perdesen and Jesenkovic himself, flattens the choreography; there is no climax. The lighting design unfolds changing evocative atmospheres. At last, a striking image: the dancers encapsulate themselves within the boxes with translucent screens, which lighten up from inside; and they become shadow puppets.