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 Post subject: Bytom, 11 July 2006: Compagnie Thor
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
If we could only see one piece, this would be it!

“D’Orient”, by Compagnie Thor

The festival audience rewarded a a standing ovation to the Tuesday performance, “D’Orient”, by the Belgian group “Company Thor”.
In the world after the eleventh of September, which is generally perceived as a clash between Western and Islamic civilization, performances created in Europe but inspired by the Near East, stimulate a kind of unhealthy “political’ curiosity. In this particular case the audience had better forget world politics and open themselves for the richness of images, for true charm and an atmosphere of a unique performance resembling a fairytale - a fabulous cross-cultural event.

Cross- cultural, since we are dealing here with a very personal and deeply subjective picture, with a vision, which could have been born in the imagination of everyone of us.

The blue twilight, the Oriental music lazily filling our ears, hardly visible figures lying on the stage. Slowly, almost casually, two dancers start a story. Their movement is lazy, flowing like water. The consecutive duets pass on the motifs, carrying on a bizarre conversation without words, which inevitably draws on the moist, dream-like climate of oriental baths, as a place of ritual purification, meditation, but also of rest, freedom and sensuality. In this scene, but not only in this one, there is something amazing – the eroticism, absolutely surprising because only male dancers take part. The choreographer of the piece, Thierri Smits, was able to capture the fact how vital it is for all men to explore the female side of their ego and how this inner harmony matters in the Oriental culture. Culture, which is according to our myths, so patriarchal and chauvinistic.
The motion of the dancers and they themselves alter within the performance, they also – with their own hands – change the sets, for instance when they cover it with strands of wool from huge sacks. The story continues, not allowing us to leave the imagined world even for a moment. Occasionally, it nearly lulls us to sleep, like a peaceful voice of an eastern wandering story-teller, to be lifted again in a moment by the energy, colors and oriental splendor of consecutive images. The vastness of the desert, the arduous path in the sand, the loneliness, losing themselves in the rotating trance movement of dervish, a Persian carpet, a struggle and a meditation. All depicted by movement, light and music in a way that makes the viewers unable to draw their attention to anything else but the stage.

The movement of the dancers, obviously inspired by oriental elements, makes the performance even more powerful. In its structure it probably differs from what is presented by the other groups from the USA and the UK. The level of technique and the compatibility of the dancers deserve praise. Interestingly enough, the viewers cannot see separate roles or characters at all. The choreographer does not really base his approach on the individuality of a dancer, the performers are similar as far as the age, appearance and skills are concerned. The performance is full of scenes in which there is only one person on the stage, but the fragments, in which a group dances as a whole, overwhelm the viewers with their energy. Another “dancer”, at least equivalent to humans, is light, directed by Reynaldo Ramperssado, which almost creates its own, parallel spectacle.
“D’Orient” is a communal piece created by Companie Thor. The music, the sets, the props, the costumes, the choreography, the dancers themselves, all combine harmoniously, and amazes us with novel ideas and conjures up, an exotic, surprising and, most important, a beautiful fairy tale.

Author: Paweł Skalski
Translator: Anna Koczorowska

Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: July 12: Joe Alter Interview
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Conversation of the day: Joe Alter

Dance Factory: We know you as performer, choreographer and a teacher. What was the beginning of your dance career?

Joe Alter: My mother was a dancer so I have been watching dance my whole life. I started dancing when I was five years old and my first performances were for children, nothing very important. At fifteen I started dancing more seriously, but did not finish my studies because I got a professional dance job in 1983.

DF: What kind of dance did you study at the University?

JA: It was mostly classical dance. I fell in love with ballet. It is a very precise thing and I realized that technique is very important to keep the [form] and build awareness of movement. It all depends on the teacher and for 10 years I was dancing at Alonzo Kings who has different look at ballet than most teachers – it is contemporary ballet and a different approach to the way we use our body.

DF: And apart from ballet, did you learn modern dance from American origins, for example Martha Graham or Doris Humphrey?

JA: I do not like Graham’s technique – I am in pain when I watch it. I was more interested in Paul Taylor who danced with Martha Graham. His style was more suitable for me, as I am a tall man and I used his technique a lot.

DF: Do you remember the early performances of Judson Dance Theatre and Grand Union?

JA: Yes. I danced post modern myself and I did not even know it - it was still modern for us. Every dancer has heard about this important movement and Yvonne Rainer, Lucinda Childs. Trisha Brown and Laura Dean are still working. Besides our post modern is not really post modern, it is high modern analogous to, for example, Jackson Pollock.

DF: I have heard you that you were also dancing jazz?

JA: My first professional performances were jazz. Although I was studying ballet, the first money I got was from dancing jazz; it's also part of my experience. People tend to think that jazz is a show dance, but there is also another form of jazz - Jazz can be serious.

DF: When did you start working as a choreographer?

JA: It was 10 years ago, when I first started working as a choreographer in the USA, and I set up Joe Alter Dance Group. Later I came here to Warsaw.

DF: Your experience is very diverse. What now is important for you as a performer, choreographer, and teacher or maybe all of these influence each other?

JA: Right now I am a choreographer. I am professional dancer and that is why I have to teach. All I do is very peculiar. Other people work together with me so to catch my thoughts, ideas.

DF: What do you mean by ‘peculiar’? Is it a style or maybe it is connected with a way of working, improvisation, direction of searching?

JA: It is not about style. It is more about the idea and aesthetics. For example Jacek Łumiński has such ideas that I also borrow from. It is similar thinking, however not the same. When I was living in Poland I was very influenced by Silesian Dance Theatre.

DF: Maybe you can say more about this aesthetics of yours?

JA: It has to be real. I don’t like to act and I don’t like dancers who act. It must be real; the stimulus has to be pure. We cannot think for example: I will find a passion. If the movement does not make it we won’t be able to do it. I want honest truth. I want them stay in their bodies and let the movement speak, with no explanation as to what they are doing. The movement is a way of thinking for me.

DF: Have you ever used a word in your performance?

JA: Yes, I have. Right now I am working on duet where dialog is used - we dance and we talk.

DF: So the word is also a way of communication in your performance, not just movement?

JA: Yes, but it is just one dimension and we need more levels in the performances. They can exist in parallel in the show.

DF: So it should be two separate forms existing next to each other, should they be separate?

JA: I am working with a director right now. He works more with a rhythm rather than with a simple story. People think this is peculiar, they want to see themselves on the stage but it is not enough. If the stories are too individual, there won’t be a communication. The openness and essence are important. You know what love is about and I know it but you feel it differently than I do. The essence is important and I try to catch it.

DF: I would also ask you about your movement experiences. Are you inspired by everyday movement or does it depend on your mood?

JA: I don’t have an idea. It is a hunch that I have. And I study it. I improvise and this is more about listening than doing something. I think dance is already here and I have to let it out. For example a doctor doesn’t give birth to a child. He simply helps a woman give birth. Everything is already here; we just need to let it out in the shape of dance. I once tried to create something but it was a mess after all - I wanted it too strongly. Besides Grotowski [the Polish theater director] is very important for me. I have never seen him working but I have read about it. Inspirations and ideas are very important for me. I am also interested in Kieślowski. He didn’t judge, but showed. He didn’t tell me how I should think. It was very interesting. Dancers often don’t give people time to find the interpretation – everything is already said and pointed out.

DF: So can it be said that the possibilities of the body are limitless?
JA: It is not possible to find everything, but it is what I am interested in. I love searching and researching for what is possible, with no particular goal, just searching what a body can do. It is a great pleasure for me.

DF: So the process of creating the movement is the most interesting for you?

JA: The creation process is the most important. The meaning will come because movement is thinking. We just have to let it flow - when I dance the meaning comes naturally. It is something that people can find but it is a non-linear story.

DF: Have you ever worked with people who have never danced?

JA: Movement is my experience. I often had an opportunity to work with actresses. They want to try everything even if they look idiots. With dancers it's different. They are constantly afraid of how they look; they are afraid to look ugly. They say something is not beautiful and they cannot do it. But the true art is not about that. If something is true it will become beautiful. It is hard to explain this to dancers.

Interviewed by Dominika Szala
Translated by Katarzyns Steńczyk

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:23 am 
Quick Questionnaire: NOIBIS LICEA

It has started from…
Before I was born

What dance gives me…

What I don’t like in dance…
When the courtain closes

My inspirations…
My heart beat

What makes me fly/ What gives me wings…
My energy

What limits me…
The space

What does festival in Bytom mean to me…
Great, pure experience

If I wouldn’t be a dancer…
I will be one… anyway

When I’m not dancing…
I’m sleeping

What’s important in life…
Love and peace


Noibis Licea - prowadzący warsztaty z tańca afro - kubańskiego

Zaczęło się od…
Zanim się urodziłem

Taniec daje mi…

Czego nie lubię w tańcu…
Kiedy kurtyna schodzi w dół, końca

Moje inspiracje…
Bicie mojego serca

Co dodaje mi skrzydeł…
Moja energia

Co mnie ogranicza…

Czym jest dla mnie bytomski festiwal…

Jeśli nie był bym tancerzem to…

Gdy nie tańczę to…

Co w życiu jest ważne…
Miłość i pokój

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