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Subject: "First Class Air Male, Clore Studio ROH 7th. May" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1635
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08-05-01, 01:27 PM (GMT)
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"First Class Air Male, Clore Studio ROH 7th. May"
   “First Class Air Male”, Dance East’s evening of male dance, came to the Clore Studio at the ROH on Monday. It delivered what its title promised - a highly charged programme with some fine dancing and some sharply contrasting images of maleness.

The programme was oddly punctuated by Jerome Bel’s three-part ‘Shirtologie’. This was performed by Frederic Seguette, who divested himself of layer after layer of t-shirts. It was minimalist in movement and it wasn’t quite clear how the mind games intended by the choreographer justified themselves as dance. But the piece was droll with some good jokes, it had an oddly mesmeric effect, and it rested the eye between the kinetic intensities of Seguette’s fellow performers.

Wayne McGregor’s ‘Codex’ was lyrical, instantly engaging, and disarmingly beautiful. A technically demanding weave of different idioms, it was stylishly danced by Ben Ash. While the soundtrack was a banal collage of electronically processed voices, the lighting was superb and in close dialogue with the choreography.

Adam Cooper then danced Jan De Schynkel’s ‘Can’t Bark’. This was ballet on fast-forward, pushing classical vocabulary well beyond any ordinary limits. In a thrillingly feral performance, exploring the struggle of deed and desire, Cooper was a frenetic dog in chase of an elusive quarry, in this case a banana suspended enticingly in mid-air. The music by Alfred Schnittke was aptly chosen and propelled the choreography forward, racking up the intensity. ‘Can’t Bark’ was risky, witty, and a joy to watch.

I hadn't seen Akram Khan before and for me he was the revelation of the night. His “Loose in Flight” was a performance of breath-taking virtuosity. Taking Khatak , a form of Indian Temple Dance, as his point of departure, he made of it something very contemporary, yet not so stylised that the flavour of the traditional idiom was compromised. Khan is a compelling performer with a broody authority. I was intrigued with how he used his feet, and in particular how he drove his frame through improbable and dangerous geometries (in several leaps his entire body was in exact parallel to the floor). There was a visceral quality about Khan’s performance which set it quite apart from everything else last night.

“First Class Air Male” has come to the end of its tour. The shame is that the Clore could have been filled several times over with those who had wanted to see it.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: First Class Air Male, Clore Studio ROH 7th. May Karen R 08-05-01 1
  RE: First Class Air Male, Clore Studio ROH 7th. May Jane N. 10-05-01 2

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Karen R

08-05-01, 02:12 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: First Class Air Male, Clore Studio ROH 7th. May"
In response to message #0
   Thank you for the review. You just beat me to it. I found the whole evening thouroughly enjoyable. While I would probably class 'Shirtologie' rather more as performance art than dance I appreciated the way it built up and the wonderful comic timing of Frederic Seguette. At least most of the audience were in on the joke by the end. I will refrain from commenting on the couple behind me.

I agree with my friend Jane that I would perhaps need to see 'Codex' again to fully appreciate it but it was well performed.

What can I say about 'Can't Bark'? My favourite piece of stage direction has always been from 'The Winter's Tale', 'Exit pursued by bear'. Here we had 'Enter pursued by banana.' As always Adam's performance was compelling and powerful as he conveyed the struggle between desire and anger, finally destroying his tormentor. It was a joy to have Simon Cooper in the audience for this one. You have here a very happy Cooper brothers fan.

Akram Khan was simply stunning. I can hardly add more to your comments. The moves were occasionally so fast that he was a blur and so fluid and calm at other times. He well deserved the cheers at the end of the performance. A cracking good evening all round.

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Jane N.

10-05-01, 11:40 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: First Class Air Male, Clore Studio ROH 7th. May"
In response to message #0
   I agree with everything written above, especially as it has been expressed so much better than I could have done. However, I'm not so restrained as my friend Karen as regards the reprehensible behaviour of the people behind us. As I understand it, the whole point of a space like the Clore Studio is to allow dancers and choreographers to experiment with new ideas and showcase their latest work in front of a small but, one hopes, receptive audience. Whilst I do not expect everyone to like everything that they see, I think it is only fair at least to remain polite and show respect to the various performers' efforts, even if they are not to your taste. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the people behind Karen and I thought they were going to see, but they certainly didn't seem to approach the evening with anything like open minds. They also left their manners at the door, to the extent that the "gentleman" sitting immediately behind me felt it necessary to loudly boo while Frederic Seguette was accepting the applause the rest of us thought he deserved. Regretably, I was so surprised at such boorish behaviour that I was bereft of speech (amazingly for me!) until we had left the theatre, but I deeply regret not having the presence of mind to tell him exactly what I thought of his disrespect. Sadly these people must have prevented others who might have appreciated what they saw from doing so, as the Clore was sold out some time ago.

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