The Marin Company is SF Performances' last dance event of the season. The work presented was Point de Fuite, premiered in December, 2001. It features ten dancers, and a row of electrified guitars whose surfaces glistened from back to down stage right. On stage left were a series of black cylinders, presumably holding lights. The stage loading dock at the back was covered by a sweeping black curtain and the floor looked like a slightly white scruffy Marley.
I didn't know what to expect; I had seen Marin's quite special Cenderillon with the Lyon Opera. I never read the program or the
the press material until I was in bed getting drowsy. I just wanted the program, one hour and eighteen minutes without break, to happen to me.
I was impressed how intensely Marin conveys the ordinary, how amazing her grasp of group dynamics,her ten dancers rushing in circles, changing leads, and alternating making cacophony with the guitars.
With Elizabeth Kanter's comments about the Paris Opera Ballet school and dissatisfaction with "modern" dance, I sat marveling how non-classical the dancers looked with perhaps the exception of one tall, dark man.Marin's choice of performers, of course, intensified the verisimilitude of the rushing in circles, the sudden lifts, stark, caught, held.The sheer act of walking revealed the dancers in a way no flowing costume or stiff tutu can. Harmony, melody, grace? Forget it. The vulnerability of the dancers also impressed me as they periodically paused from their
intense activity to regard each other, before no apparent
reason to engage each other in twos and threes.
Virtually every one of the dancers spoke, repeating the same lines. I told Carlos Carvajal that I wished I had a recording of their voices speaking Engish. Each stood at the mike, speaking the same phrases, and the very cadence of voices and words make one understand how it might sound in French.
The ensemble scuffled, once at least held one body aloft. They also lay on the floorand in one extended passage the dancers lying across the stage executed compulsive ripples projecting themselves along the stage like stuttering physical commas in falling domino fashion.
I read later that Marin was interested in the fugue as a movement form as much as a musical one. Reading that she is the daughter of refugees from the Spanish Civil War, it seemed like children of missionaries, such offspring possess unusual awareness, whetted by proximity to their parents' attitudes and experience.
Marin's vocation was destined to be one of comment emphasizing humanity in motley garments. One could scarcely imagine a greater contrast with the detailed refinement of the Paris Opera,
though Marin's composition possesses its own rigorous formula for detail.Lacking background music, other than the screeching use of the electrical guitars,the sheer relative silence helped to enforce structure and theme.
Marin is not everyone's breakfast food or everyday repast. This piece, which was sobering in its revelation, indicated that Pina Bausch has no corner on insight. Marin is interested, I think, in soul making.