Three types of language: word, music and movement...
Phrases building a story that bears a very strong and, at the same time, a somehow dark surrealistic touch...
Naked bodies revealed, sorrow and screaming springing out of them when meeting the light inspecting them, as if rays of sun are directly burning their skin.
This is the incipient picture of NieuwZwart, a performance created by Wim Vandekeybus for seven dancers, an actress and a suspended band (the music is lively performed all along the performance by Mauro Pawlowski, Elko Blijweert and Jeroen Stevens, on a platform hanging above the stage).
The words, the sounds and the movements interwine in order to build a story that should not be followed and understood according to its narrative structure, but to its capacity of breaking what we usually know about the meaning of the word, the function of the sound and the status of the contemporary body.
The gestures increasingly become more and more forceful, the bodies are involved in almost impossible movements (which, according to a paradigm of the text delievered by Kylie Walters could be labelled as "human or... otherwise").
Bodies getting born, suffering, clashing, gaining a very distinctive identity convey the feeling of a dream-like world, in which everything is shaped through the energy contained in the letters of each word, in the energy of each sound and in the tragic convulsion of gestures.
It would be very easy and first-hand to call this world violent. Even if the movement could seem violent, there is nothing about violence on the stage. It is about the natural call of a world that tries to surpass an usual condition and to set the human representation of the body on a new stage of perception.
We should not sink into the illusion of witnessing a live concert accompanying a dance performance paralleled by a story. The music acts like a form of energy that throws a stronger light upon the meaning of the bodily language, which seems to consequently give birth to the words and get born by the meanings in the text. The woman who tells us the story is "translated" into a moving script, but at the same time we can look from the opposite angle. We also have to avoid labelling the presences on the stage as real characters. They all stand for certain conditions that must be surpassed and elevated to another form of understanding. As contemporary beings, we are accustomed to move in a certain way designed by social codes, we speak in words suffocated within the walls of established meanings and we listen to the repetitive music of our "safe" habits.
All the dry repetitiveness of our nowadays condition is unmasked by Wim Vandekeybus in this performance: in order to escape the "warm" shelter of our redundancy, we have to experience a complete eclipse of the body, we must learn how to watch the movement beyond the human possibilities but, at the same time to integrate it in the world of our common perception.
World première 9/05/2009 Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona
Direction, choreography, scenography: Wim Vandekeybus
Original music: Mauro Pawlowski
Created with & performed by: Tanja Marín Friðjónsdóttir, Dawid Lorenc, Bénédicte Mottart, Olivier Mathieu, Máté Mészáros, Ulrike Reinbott, Imre Vass and Kylie Walters
Musicians (live): Mauro Pawlowski, Elko Blijweert, Jeroen Stevens
Text: Peter Verhelst
Artistic assistant & dramaturge: Greet Van Poeck
Lighting design: Alban Rouge, Wim Vandekeybus
Photos: Josep Aznar and Pieter Jan de Pue