May 28, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Dance turns space into a thing of everything

Dance turns space into a thing of everything

The stage is dark. Two female figures sitting on chairs in black dresses with their backs to the audience slowly appear. in silence. Slowly their arms begin to move gracefully, away from each other, towards each other. The room lights up, and the dance begins. Not in pointe form but in silent movements through which they reconfigure each other and the space. They are slow movements of beauty and friendship in which a long and shared passion for dance is expressed. This is not surprising because these dancers are 79- and 76-year-old women with a long dancing career: Germaine Acony and Malu Ayrudou. The piece is called Common ground[s] It serves as support for what is to come: Sacre du Printemps in special choreography.

The sacred is certainly not a tranquility, but a representation of an ancient sacrificial ritual. The ballet was developed in 1913 by choreographer Diaghilev and dancer Nijinsky to the music of Igor Stravinsky. This first performance turned into a huge riot. The movements were violent and did not fit the movements of classical ballet and the expectations of the spectators.

Pina Bausch In 1973, he created a new choreography to commemorate the premiere with Malu Erudo as the principal dancer. Shortly before her death in 2009, Bausch was already planning to perform her choreography with African dancers. In the final performance, more than 30 dancers from fourteen African countries performed the “Saker” dance on the beach of Senegal at the Sable School. Germaine Aconi is the initiator, inspirational leader and dancer of this dance school. Imagine the challenges the young dancers had to overcome before they had the opportunity and money to travel to Senegal. The result is impressive: together on a floor covered with a thick layer of sawdust, the dancers make tangible the earthly ecstasy and immense energy of spring. They move each other and the space and take the spectators in that movement.

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But the first part of the program remains with the silent movements of the two ancient dancers, the movements that connect them and therefore us.
Common ground[s] Ultimately, it means: the basis of collective action or common ownership, commonalities, common ground. A place, idea, or ideal where you can find each other, where you become tangible (together). This is what dance actually does: reshaping the space with the other into an almost sacred space, inviting you to go beyond your (fixed) boundaries and find common ground with each other, both literally and figuratively. It reminds us of a text attributed to the Father of the Church, Augustine:

I applaud the dance
Because it saves a person from the weight of things,
It connects the separated person to society.

Dance is the re-creation of space and time.
A man who is in constant danger
To become a complete brain, will, or feeling. (…)

Dancing, on the other hand, requires the whole person
which anchors in its midst,
Who has no lust
To people and things and from the devil
From self-destruction.

I applaud the dance…
Man, learn to dance
Otherwise, the angels in heaven know
I have nothing to do with you.

Maybe we should dare to dance more, dance together more, to transform the damaged space of this world into something that can be shared: a place of peace.