The extra sensitive band aids exists
Choreography alive and kicking and danced without fear of death
Female dancers’ collective Fanclub prove that young Danish choreography is alive and kicking with the double bill 'DEATH”.
DEATH . The four women in the dancers’ collective Fanclub dig right into death with a good deal of informality and playfulness.
Text by: Kristian Husted
Dansehallerne, 'Death'. Fanclub. Choreography: Kim Hiorthøy and Itamar Serussi. Set and costume design: Nathalie Mellbye. Lighting design: Mårten K. Axelsson. Music: Kim Hiorthøy and Richard van Kruysdijk . (Until Wed. 26 April.)
'Death'. Such a title builds up great expectations, not easy to fulfill. But the four women in the dancers’ collective Fanclub do not hold back talking about the big issues, even though they are only in their mid-30s. With the most infuriating informality and playful desire to experiment, we have long seen on the Danish dance scene, they embark in a choreographic raid into the area of death.
It could easily have gone wrong. Especially in the first part of the evening's double program, choreographed by Norwegian Kim Hiorthøy. Here Andrea Deres, Carolina Bäckman , Ellesiv V. Selseng and Sofia Karlsson move dangerously close to plain, choreographic emptiness.
But instead of ending up in ironic anti-choreography, Hiorthøy’s 'Hi Scores' elevates into a subtle eulogy of something exists in the world, rather than nothing. A choreographic cousin to Inger Christensen's poem 'Alphabet' where 'apricot trees exist', but with a good dose of absurd theater put on top.
As death itself?
The conceptualist Hiorthøy, who in addition to the choreography also has written the lyrics and the music uses for example 'extra sensitive band aid' and Otrivin Nasal Spray. Banal everyday objects which in his piece are elevated to something marvelous.
But only because 'Hi Scores' so ostentatiously shows emptiness from the start. The theatre smoke, which is deflated into the dark room in the beginning does not serve anything. The four women just stand there in the dusk in front of each microphone and looks at us.
Silent and faceless as death itself. Then they begin to sing, one by one. Kitschy pop songs about the beloved, who is no longer there. Traces of lived life, as mundane and simple that it almost doesn’t exist.
But then one of the women begin to describe the performance about death, that they liked to have made. She describes how the sunlight would fall on a long table in the outskirts of the set design. Lists things that we have to imagine for ourselves. "The set design is amazing!" and we understand that so it is with death: It is forever absent but always present, because we can only talk about it.
And when the four women at last actually start dancing with lively aerobics-like jumps of joy, which almost aren’t choreography worthy, we feel like joining in with a collective "hallelujah!". Wow - we exist!
Open to interpretation
Afterwards, it’s Israeli Itamar Serussi's turn. With his 'Klara' we are in the expressive department. Classical choreography. Serussi is less conceptually rigorous in his expression, more fluttering than Hiorthøy. More open to interpretation.
The women move like ancient Egyptian characters, suddenly brought to life. Chopping, undulating movements in alternating solos, which sometimes merge into collective ritual forms. Fragments of an archaic death ritual perhaps.
The music of Richard van Kruysdijk grinds with forceful drones and pumping, electronic pulse, as an irreversible and dark death swirl that thoroughly fucks with our consciousness. But Serussi is not without humor, even though we are over in the bleak department.
Death as incomprehensible dance
The women's ritual movements are more a reminiscent of a child's playful imitation of a death ritual, rather than a credible choreographic reconstruction. And then they suddenly stop, two by two, hand in hand, staring at us as the famous twin ghosts in Stanley Kubrick's morbidly funny film 'The Shining'.
It looks like fragments of a story we do not have the key to open, as in a dream. But perhaps this is as it is with death? It is there, and we try to find meaning in it, but it shuts us out, as an incomprehensible dance.
The problem is just that if death is an incomprehensible dance, then everything becomes possible within that dance. And so is it to some extent with 'Klara', though it isn’t without suggestive images and strong moods. However, the term is too loose and too sealed. Therefore the four women seem more vague and fumbling here than in 'Hi Scores'.
Nevertheless, these two choreographies supplement each other well in a formidable double program, proving that young Danish choreography - with a little help from abroad - is alive and kicking. Without fear of death and any artistic safety net.