Last night we took the lilac coloured metro line (number 8) all the way to the final station, Creteil-Prefecture (those e's are missing accents but I am writing with an english keyboard). It is eight stops beyond the official limit of Paris, the peripherique. I will save the topic of the peripherique for a later post, all I want to highlight here is that we were in the 'banlieues' - the suburbs, not in Paris. From the metro station we followed signs to the Maison des Arts. Across a car park and into a shopping centre. Along the internal streets, shops closing, the last shoppers heading to the car park. Out through door 26. Onto a raised pedestrian walkway, past a Chinese restaurant. It is dark, and very cold for mid October. This central part of Creteil appears to have been entirely built in the 1960's and 70's. It is a dense ensemble of apartment blocks and civic buildings, knitted together by high level walkways and plazas. The Maison des Arts is on the place Salvador Allende (good name, Chilean connection), whose wavy black, white and red striped paving brings to mind Bridget Riley's paintings. It is beautiful. A shimmering graphic pattern, across which dark figures are making their way to the arts house, to see the new dance piece by the Michael Clark Company.
six dancers wear dark blue, two wear white :::::: they are moving from right to left across the stage, walking, slowly, legs stretched out, kicking out in front :::::: the blue figures disappear and the white pair remain :::::: the blue figures reappear on the right and continue across the stage again :::::: a shaft of white light moves slowly across the stage from right to left
White Light / White Heat by the Velvet Underground :::::: loud, louder than you could ever have it at home, so loud so that you listen to it differently :::::: the stage is bare, a black floor and a white backdrop :::::: on the left of the stage a dancer wearing brilliant shiny silver leggings appears, she runs a jerky strutting run, she runs a tight circle and disappears :::::: then the same on the right hand side of the stage :::::: then more dancers in the same metallic leggings, running, strutting, the stage is full :::::: white light reflects off their legs, white light dances across the stage
later on / the white screen has turned orange, the orange light reflects off the black floor :::::: dancers in bright orange :::::: Aladdin Sane by David Bowie ::::::: a vigorous dance, energy accumulates :::::: until one male dancer is left on the stage, suddenly the music changes :::::: The Jean Genie :::::: and the orange screen snaps to turquoise :::::: the lone orange figure against the glowing turquoise is an image that is seared into my consciousness
These are tiny extracts from the two dance pieces we saw. The first was Swamp from 1986, and the second was come, been and gone, Michael Clark's newest piece. This latest piece is a hommage to the 'holy trinity' of rock music - Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Hommage isn't quite the right word, it takes the music as a starting point and develops something new and quite exhilarating. Previously unknown or unheard layers, melodies, sounds are extracted from these familiar songs, they are explored and excavated, their insides and hidden corners revealed. Partly because we are listening to the recording super loud on a very high quality theatre PA, partly because the dancers pick out sounds and melodies and dance them.
MICHAEL CLARK COMPANY / SWAMP / come, been and gone
17.10.2009 CRETEIL Maison des Arts
On tour for the next year or so. Go see...