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.