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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:00 am ]


Stance ll, Photo: Antoine D’Agata

San (Beyond) and Stance II (UK Premieres)

Tue 18 & Wed 19 October, 7.45pm
South Bank Centre: Queen Elizabeth Hall
08701 454 555
Tickets £11 - £17.50 (concs 50% off, limited availability)

Meet the Artist: Tue 18 with Catherine Diverrès
Free to ticket holders after the performance

Catherine Diverrès made her mark in the 1980s when, turning her back on the dominant concepts of American postmodern dance and her classical training, she developed her own choreographic language and style. Dominated by striking visuals and poetic gestures, her work is provocative and profound.

San (beyond), a homage to Bauhaus master Oskar Schlemmer, is a moody, visually arresting marriage between design and motion. Surreal, angular and geometric, Diverrès’s sublime choreography for five characters conjures up the shapes and colours of Schlemmer’s pioneering work.

In Stance II, a lone female figure in a long dress, stands silhouetted against a background of golden light. While Pier Paola Pasolini’s La Terra di lavoro plays into the void, she moves with her shadow to create a graceful and courageous response to the sad words of the song. Stance II was influenced by Diverrès’ time spent with Kazuo Ohno, a seminal practitioner of the post-war Japanese dance form, Butoh, and echoes the beauty and grace of classical Chinese and Japanese paintings.

'Superbly danced…a rare event as well as a true homage to the artist.' Le Figaro (on San)

'The ultimate in grace. And Courage.' Le Monde (on Stance II)

A Brief Encounter with Jean Abreu: 7pm in the Purcell Room prior to performances of Catherine Diverrès.

Author:  kurinuku [ Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:53 am ]
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Catherine Diverrès/ Maguy Marin
by SANJOY ROY for the Guardian

Catherine Diverrès' solo Stances II is reminiscent of German modern dance from the 1920s - unadorned, abstract, with large, sculptural movements evoking generic emotions. ... Quaglia makes an arresting figure and moves with deep deliberation, but the piece itself is unfocused, hollow - and very long.

published: October 25, 2005

Author:  Thea Nerissa Barnes [ Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:45 am ]
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Stance II seems an expressionistic dance with its lone female figure moving eerily across a blackened landscape. Several layers of contemplation are offered with this solo. For those who could understand the spoken text that quoted Italian film-maker, poet, novelist and essayist Pier Paola Pasolini’ La Terra di lavoro, a host of interpretations were made available. Those not understanding Italian or the work of Pasolini, lingered on the vastness of the space and a performer whose physical contours and minimal gestures contained many significances. The dance though had a layer of understanding that seemed only expressible as movement not text whether written or spoken.

Though stated that this work is influenced by Diverrès’ time spent with seminal practitioner of post-war Butoh, Kazuo Ohno, the work seem to have more relation to early American or British modern dance presentations. It was certainly reminiscent in tone and subject of what satirically is called the long black woollen era. This dance though had an incredible level of forlorn ness; an atmosphere oppressively dark and dense with feelings. It had a lyrical ness in the dynamic of the torso complimenting passages that offered more etched angularities in arms and legs. The darkness of the performance space made movement seem as if a shadow with some passages so dark only hands and face were barely perceptible. The sound by Denis Gambiez was an audibly low noise that only kept the space from being in total silence. The dance seems more a conversation between the performer, Rita Quaglia, and self, a testimony of sorts with its body design hunched over, reaches, and towards the end defiant stomping. The voice that read the passages of La Terra di lavoro added another texture but seemingly became more a dissonance that disturbed the stillness Quaglia occupied. The stark ness also made the audience seem an intruder, ease dropping on someone having a conversation with self, deep and lost in very private thoughts.

Quaglia makes several transformations but in particular there is a vulnerable stance and a resolute one. A stance, a position of mind is also indicative of a posture, a telling of the mind set manifested in bodily form; bodily form whether standing static or moving revealing the quality of that stance. With the ambience so dense and dark, static images held an extraordinary layer of intrigue so much so that as the figure disappeared repeating finely contoured hands around a tilting face much had been left behind. Whether the contemplations were rendered reflective or transcendent depended on how introspective or deep into the void one allowed one self to go into this dance of pathos.

San (beyond) is a homage to Oskar Schlemmer, influential set designer and teacher at German academies including the Bauhaus in early 20th century. Schlemmer’s work often featured simplified lines and curves with two-dimensional human figures in mazelike geometric settings. Diverrès’ San offers a non literal visual narrative in the Schlemmer tradition. A series of scenes that are linked by imagery move one to the other each complete in itself but linked in quality and purpose. The work begins with a barely perceptible silver ball strung from the rigging that works its way up to the rafters and by the end of the work back to the ground. A wooden frame encases a black scrim; a large one downstage and a smaller one upstage and in between the performance space in which three male dancers, Julien Fouché, Fabrice Lambert and Osman Kassen Khelili perform solo or ensemble movement. The movement vocabulary is a range of stark but powerful movement phrases dynamically stylised, using repetition with purpose or bombastic dynamics to change with the intention of a given scene. The sound and mixing by Denis Gambiez adds complimentary auditory permutations from the ambience for Rita Quaglia dressed in red satin carrying a red fan to emphasizing the machinist, assembly line like movement of the men on a diagonal with red lights attached to their arms, or their progression of two dimensional shapes that though purposely shape to shape had a sense of continuous motion or lyricism to them. Behind the upstage scrim a unit of stairs is used as is, to be sat on, roll a metal ball down or stand on each one making its own dramatic statement. With lighting design by Marie-Christine Soma assisted by Pierre Gaillardotto one is even allowed the imagination to believe that a man can float on air.

At the end the male dancers seem to be competing with themselves; this scene perhaps the only one to utilise extensively a three dimensional movement vocabulary. Performing a flinging, slashing like frenzy, hurdling through the air and rolling on the floor the men throw from their arms what appeared to be small plastic pallets that make a crushing sound when landing and when stepped on. As the silver ball lowered one of the men lays downstage as the ball slowly brushes the pallets on the floor making an uneven crunchy noise. The man lays on his back twisting and contorting seemingly mumbling too himself. The stairs have appeared again and Quaglia stands or is it reclines there. There is a projection of a window on the scrim upstage right.

The work seems a living art exhibit. Each scene seemed to have been developed for its own purposes within the context of the whole work and possibly able to stand on its own. In one scene a man appears in drag. Program notes explain that this is a comment on the Weimar Republic cabaret of the 1930’s. The significance of Quaglia and her fan is perhaps desire, an apparition that simply adds to the intrigue of a surreal dream-like extravaganza that captures the senses.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:55 pm ]
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San (Beyond)/Stances II
By Katie Phillips for The Stage

Opening with a slow, stark and not particularly cheerful solo, Rita Quaglia is Catherine Diverres’ constructed creature of internal angst. Ticking the American post-modern box - think right angled limbs, floor-length lycra dress, severe contractions of the solar plexus - Quaglia’s movements are as sharp and staccato as the plinks and plonks of the modern piano score, hiccupping its way through the timing of the piece.

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