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Lyon Opera Ballet - 'Tricodex'

by Ana Abad-Carles

October 7, 2005 -- Sadler's Wells, London

“Tricodex,” created by Philippe Decouflé for Lyon Opera Ballet was presented in Sadler’s Wells as part of the Dance Umbrella festival. It is inspired by the “Codex Serafinus,” an encyclopedia created by Luigi Serafini, featuring an imaginary universe. Decouflé had already choreographed two works inspired by this Codex, “Codex” (1987) and “Decodex” (1995).

Had London not been host to Momix and James Thiérrée’s works over the past few weeks, Lyon Opera Ballet’s performances might have appeared more groundbreaking and novel. “Tricodex” depends too much on the visual imagery provided by the costumes. Lacking a strong choreographic framework to sustain the piece and the physical perfection by both Momix and Thiérrée, the work simply fell flat.

The piece opened with humour and seemed to be off to a good start. However, almost immediately, it dissolved into of a parade of costumes worn by a group of dancers who often seemed ill at ease. The dancers appeared weak and unfocussed. The choreography seemed routine and ordinary. An exception was a beautiful moment with an aerial element for two women.  While aerial devices are hardly a novelty, it did produce an exciting moment. Unfortunately, the production failed to connect at an some essential human level, with the darkness of the stage lighting became a metaphor for the entire production.

A friend of mine used to say that if, after a film, all the audience could talk about was the beautiful landscapes and scenery featured, the film had failed miserably as such and had become a documentary. In a dance piece, when the costumes become the focus, the work has become an unremarkable fashion show.

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