THE ENERGY BETWEEN MOVEMENT AND SOUND
Henri Oguike Dance Company
12th July, 2005, Teatro Cecchetti, Civitanova, h. 9.30 pm
Rain has the vertical power of dispersing a crowd just before a formal ceremony. And rain delayed the inauguration of the refurbished Cecchetti Theatre Foyer, causing people to stay indoors and wait. Once the rain ended its watery course, they stepped outside and gathered around the mayor Erminio Santinelli. A ribbon was cut and a brief discourse was given. Then the artistic consultant of Civtanova Danza, Gilberto Santini, introduced the programme for the Civitanova Danza Festival 2005 season with a particular emphasis on the performance by the Henri Oguike Dance Company who was to open the festival later on during the evening.
Henri Oguike met the audience in a brief conversation at 7.30 pm, he was very kind to do so even though he was having some technical problems with the final reharsal of his pieces. The audience had the precious chance to know a bit more of the choreographer's approach to movement where music, and especially live music, seems to have a special place. This became instantly clear watching "Front Line", Oguike's signature piece, chosen to open the evening. A string quartet at the back of the stage playing the 9th quartet by Shostakovich and a sextet of dancers repeatedly forming a line destined to contantly be dissolved. There is an energy in this piece which stems from the silk-like sonority of the music to meet that of movement half in a fruitful dialogue which is very rare in today's contemporary dance. In particular, I appreciated the contrast created by the repeated feet beating hard onto the stage and the fluid sounds produced by the string instruments.
"F.P.S. (Frames per Sound)" followed "Front Line" and a completely different atmosphere was introduced. Unfortunately, Oguike was unable to perform his solo piece due to a knee problem. However, Adrian Lopez and Nuno Silva were very intense and precise in conveying what Oguike himself had, during the above mentioned conversation with the public, described as the tension between design and rhythm. The warm effect of the brown essential costumes by Elizabeth Baker and the use of light often made of a single floodlight turned towards the dancers, highlighted the intimacy of this piece, made of gestures and movemts often perfomed at ground level.
The night was closed by a choral piece, "Seen of Angels" featuring the whole company. In this case the relationship between movement and sound is more explicit. Again we have an unusual musical choice for a contemporary dance piece, the "Messiah" by Händel. Interesting of this piece was what I would call the 'hug theme', that is the repeated hugs the members of the company exchanged with each other throughout the piece. It was a sweet and at the same time strong manifestation of body contact, the creation of small cells in the dynamism of the dance pharases, where usually each dancer followed his/her path.
The Henri Oguike Dance Company's performance was an Italian premiere and exclusive, it was
well received by the audience of Civitanova Danza as well as by those who came to Civitanova from different parts of Italy to watch them, a sign that this town on the coast of Italy is becoming more and more an important 'house' to host high quality dance.