Review – Worthy of the overused ‘awesome’

2012-07-05 10:00
Gayle Edmunds
Impossibly white floor, straps of tape across it mapping out geometric shapes, a woman in a green satin body suit lying face down.

A buzz starts, background noise, like an electronic signal disrupted by another.

The woman moves – precise, slight, controlled.

Only her arms move – bending, jointless into shapes that defy the abilities of the human body.

The buzz builds, the dancer gains momentum from within, she is exuding energy – pushing it out into the piece, into the room.

The shapes she makes become rhythmic, creating patterns in the movement and in the sound. It is repetitious, hypnotic.

Twenty minutes later she vanishes into the darkness as the lights fade, the neon tape shapes glowing in her place and the buzz dies away.

Lanx is over and the only time she stands is to take her bow, yet her technique towers over the audience, dwarfing the need for narrative or meaning.

The audience is asked to step outside while the performers set up the next piece – Obtus.

The feelings among the audience that mills around outside are mixed.

Some are grumbling asking what it’s all about, others are awed into mumbling superlatives.

All though are intrigued to see what the second piece will be.

Swiss choreographer and dancer Cindy van Acker has been collaborating with sound maker Mika Vainio since 2007 and the only other piece of her work I have seen is on YouTube.

Which is why it is such a treat to get a glimpse of what she calls her attempts to get to the “minimalistic language” of dance, to explore with her the architecture of the body and to understand why she says precision brings the dancer more freedom.

Obtus is an aesthetic wonder.

Pitch black, with eight strip neon lights, the dance begins.

Vainio’s sound becomes increasingly mesmerizing, tapping into something primal drawing the minds of the audience into silent acceptance.

It feels as though the world drops away, there’s only the sound, the light, the dancer’s tiny flickering movements – like a spectre in the darkness.

It builds and builds and builds almost to a crescendo – stopping short of a climax.

It is repeated, with variations, the rhythm, the patterns, the variations.

Obtus is a perfect storm of light, sound and movement – the result is a rush and at the same time it calms, soothes and amazes.

All this praise seems too much – it isn’t.

Lanx and Obtus is an experience, one that you shouldn’t miss.

A singular moment of magic created from the mechanics of movement, sound and light.

It is worthy of that overused word – awesome.

» Lanx and Obtus is on at noon today and 4pm at the Transnet Great Hall. Cindy van Ecker brings her work to Cape Town on July 8, 9, 10 and 11. For more information, call 011-403-1880.

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