Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY.
October 13, 2022.
French choreographer Gisèle Vienne takes audiences on a gradual movement journey by way of a rave in her 90-minute dance work, Crowd. The piece begins with an individual carrying a hoodie and backpack coming into from the upstage proper nook in slow-mo, glittery sneakers shimmering as they glide throughout the dimly lit, textured stage. We quickly notice that the ground is roofed in filth, scattered with trash.
One after the other, extra individuals enter, additionally in gradual movement, from stage proper within the faint gentle. Pedestrian interactions overtake the area as teams converge and dissipate; somebody lights a cigarette, just a few share drinks, two individuals hug as somebody pours the contents of a water bottle onto one other’s head. Is that this a celebration? There isn’t a direct connection between the motion and the upbeat dance music that pulses all through the theater. Already the piece is a check of endurance, however maybe this problem to viewers members will later be rewarded?
Now, all of the dancers are all frozen however one, and the sound shifts towards an ambient observe. The motion is gradual and delicate. A girl in a water-stained inexperienced jacket holding a plastic bag is the primary to maneuver at regular velocity, and he or she appears distressed. One other dancer is lifted on the heart of the stage because the music builds, little real-time moments breaking by way of the gradual movement because the observe grows extra ominous.
Then the whole lot freezes as soon as once more. By now, the total forged is on stage, and all that’s transferring are the lights. Even when the beat wins out once more, the dancers stay frozen. Lastly, a siren-like sound builds and the dancers begin shifting, barely off the beat in close to unison. The motion remains to be paying homage to a celebration as they mingle within the area, and feels improvised.
Persons are taking the highest layers of their clothes off and dropping all the way down to the ground, dirtying their beneath layers with some violence to the sound of a squeaky descending musical scale. It’s clear that as a performer, you have to enter an intense and particular frame of mind to realize the piece. A pair performing a sensual duet of micromovements, ticking into and out of one another’s unfavourable areas, stands out as a memorable second.
Vignettes proceed to fade into and out of existence, manipulations of “actual life” carried out within the midst of unreal circumstances. The musical transitions are additionally fades, and the dancers all seem to maneuver on the “identical” gradual tempo though some “characters” appear extra necessary than others. Everybody stays on stage during the piece till their closing exit, and at many factors, I had the sensation that the piece can be higher fitted to an viewers within the spherical and even an immersive setup that allows viewers members to stroll by way of the dancers and discover their preparations three-dimensionally.
When considered from the orchestra, nonetheless, shifting focus from particular person dancers to the group as an entire together with the surrealistic situations the piece consists of makes for a trippy impact. And the beat makes you wish to transfer or a minimum of need the dancers to maneuver, however they gained’t –– a minimum of not in the best way you need them to.
Issues get progressively “dirtier” because the night time goes on and a sudden, deafening beat visibly startles half the viewers. Extra moments of real-time motion come out of the limitless gradual movement as filth, chips and water are thrown throughout the stage, though they nonetheless comprise a sure diploma of unnaturalness, a sense of halting mid motion. Two males carry out a part-flirty part-confrontational “dialog,” which is among the most “dancey” elements of the piece. Somebody screams, after which lastly, for the primary time, silence, which within the context of the piece is deafening.
By this level, a number of viewers members have left the theater, having had their fill of undanced beats and minimal motion. I can’t shake the sensation of wanting “one thing” to occur even as soon as I’m sure that it gained’t. As an alternative, it looks like nothing occurs for a number of minutes and the viewers’s antsiness is palpable. Then the beat returns as soon as once more, virtually like a clock. Sounds of falling issues rise within the background, and smoke begins popping out of a number of the dancers’ costumes. Someway, this was not the “one thing” I’d hoped for, and it doesn’t do a lot to create the sense of construct that the piece by no means actually achieves from the opening sequence. As an alternative, the present closes with the labored achievement of one thing predictable.
By Charly Santagado of Dance Informa.