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 Post subject: Companhia de Danca Deborah Colker
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 5:39 am 
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A vibrant Mix

By MICHAEL HU
The Singapore Business Times
June 18, 2004

'I love to mix and leave my mind open,' Colker says, adding that this will be illustrated in this showcase of an eclectic fusion of pop culture, contemporary dance, and sport.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:18 pm 
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Sex on a rope
by SANJOY ROY for the Guardian

To illustrate the point, she talks about the forest of hanging ropes that opens her newest piece, Knot, and its relationship to the underlying theme of desire. "I had done a piece called She, with Lou Reed's music Venus in Furs. It was also the title of a book by de Sade, about sadomasochism. And then I began to think about desire. That was my first contact with the idea of ropes. Ropes are fetishistic instruments. They have a technique: bondage. Imagine the reins of a horse, controlling all that animal wildness and freedom. Ropes can strangle, they can knot or release. And ropes are almost like bodies: they are sinuous, they bend and stretch."

published: April 24, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:52 pm 
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I've got my ticket for KNOT next month, looking forward to it!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:52 am 
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Location: London UK
Knot
Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker
Barbican, London
25th April 2006


Deborah Colker is the queen of props with the design elements of her works always as fascinating as the dancing. In her newest work to be shown in London, “Rope”, the dominant feature is a huge number of ropes tied together to resemble a tree. A couple dance beneath the ‘branches’ and a third dancer emerges from behind the ‘trunk’: Adam and Eve and the serpent perhaps? Well, perhaps not as any biblical references are soon dispelled by the male half of the couple trussing up the female and Colker’s rope theme taking on the darker aspect of bondage. Once bound into an immovable position, the girl is hoisted into the air by her partner who then arranges her limbs into elegant poses suggestive of flight. Beautiful though I admit this was, I felt some unease at the sight of a woman suffering subjugation in this way and my male companion commented afterwards that he too found this passage disturbing.

The ropes are untied from their tree configuration to look more like a tropical rain forest which the entire company then traverses. In the programme there is reference to ropes as phallic symbols, but I’m afraid I don’t see that at all. At one point two men experiment with the ropes between them in a way that recalls, of all things, “La Fille Mal Gardee”, as something resembling a cats cradle emerges. Towards the end of the first half the dancing becomes almost elegiac to match the music of the middle movement of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, in fact I felt that a hint of sentiment was creeping in to dilute the disturbing images at the beginning of the work.

The second half does away with the ropes altogether and features a huge Perspex tank around which a dancer (Colker herself), in a short flounced costume similar to a call girls baby doll outfit, dances alone. The sexual references in this second half are more voyeurism than bondage and at one point a male dancer sitting atop the tank reached down with one hand and hauled some of the girls up and over the rim dropping them into the tank as if they were specimens to be examined. The pairings are many and varied though hinting at eroticism rather than suggesting any simulated sex. The entire second half is highly sensual but at the same time rather innocent and in the programme Colker states that this is a show to bring the kids to and I would almost agree with her were it not for the images of bondage with which the work opens.

Colker selected all the music for “Knot” herself, but the various pieces used are not individually credited though I recognised and appreciated a jazz arrangement of the love theme from “Spartacus” in the second half; the film I hasten to add, not the ballet.

Deborah Colker’s company always gets a deservedly warm reception in London and the audience leapt to their feet at the end. My own reservations about this work were limited to the rather sinister representations of bondage at the start but on the whole this work was positively inspired.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:28 pm 
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Thanks a lot Cassandra - I'm sorry I missed this. I understand your concern about the "subjugation" scene, but given the nature of macho Brazil, could it have been a commentary on the subjugation of women in that society? And maybe it's good to be disturbed by dance from time to time?


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:43 am 
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Deborah Colker Company
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

At first many of these images are interestingly disturbing. As the ropes bite into the dancers' flesh, signals of pain and pleasure, power and submission, beauty and ugliness are deliberately muddled. Yet, however seriously Colker wants us to take her material, she doesn't seem able to focus and develop her ideas towards any conclusions. And, while the second half of the show looks dramatically different, it also follows an identical trajectory of diminishing returns.

published: April 27, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:57 am 
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What a tangled web they weave
by DAVID DOUGILL for the Times

The dancers roll and writhe; sometimes walk on all fours. They might be forest creatures. There are complex knottings, rockings and counterbalances, with the performers linked by red cords. But chunks of the choreography look as nondescript as Berna Ceppas’s musical collage sounds — until the last section, to music from a Ravel piano concerto, where, with Jorginho de Carvalho’s pretty and subtle lighting, we achieve a state of peace.

published: April 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 3:14 am 
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‘Knot’ - Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker
The Castle, Wellingborough, UK; May 7, 2006


Deborah Colker’s trademark is the incorporation of dramatic scenic elements into her choreographies, such as the huge wheel in “Rota”. For “Knot” she employs two such devices, no fewer than 120 ropes hanging from above in the first part of the evening, and a giant perspex box roughly three metres square in the second. The danger with such an approach is that the set becomes all important, the movement itself being relegated to a supporting act, and an accusation that can be levelled at parts of this show.

Colker’s inspiration for “Knot” was desire. She says she aimed to explore its secret, terrible, violent and delicate sides, and that when we approach it, we get near to the subjects of domination, submission and power relationships.

These relationships are certainly expressed. In the opening minutes the dancers, in tight-fitting skin-tones costumes with splashes of black and red, use the ropes on and with each other. Some might find the opening reference to bondage especially disturbing but it soon passes. Some of the dancers are tied and suspended in a sort of aerial ballet while others use the ropes as a way of connecting with each other, sometimes creating shapes and pictures a little like a cat’s cradle. While there was undoubtedly some really inventive movement, much of it very animalistic, what was frustrating was that there were often several duets or trios happening at once and it was impossible to follow them all.

The highlight of the show comes at the end of the first ‘act’ as the pace slows and the ropes are released from their tree-like structures and left to hang free, reminiscent of mangroves or some deep tropical forest. The frantic nature of some of what went before is gone as we are presented with a series of delicate dances as the ropes change colour from silver to an amazing glowing red, danced to the slow movement of Ravel’s piano concerto in G major.

Having sent us off to our interval drinks with some beautiful images and wanting more, the second ‘act’, where all the action takes place in and around the Perspex box inspired by Amsterdam’s Red Light District, never really manages to quite scale the same heights. Colker says this stage within a stage is a metaphor for desire, a window on what we want but cannot touch, but the dancers seem more as if they are specimens in some laboratory tank waiting to be ‘used’, which I guess sums up those ladies in Amsterdam’s windows pretty well. Within each relationship there is domination but also choice and consent, with the roles being constantly swapped and mixed-up, with a variety of techniques are used, including some pointe-work.

Besides those superb forest-like images, the abiding memory of the show was the unfettered physicality of Colker’s sixteen-strong troupe, and the amazing levels of trust shown in each other called for by the choreography. “Knot” is both harsh and sensitive and everyone will be able to find moments that really work for them. There are parts that I would go see again, but I remain to be convinced that it really works as a whole. Definitely worth a look though.

“Knot” continues on tour to Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Salford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Edinburgh, High Wycombe and Cardiff.


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 3:47 am 
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Clement Crisp gives his view on Knot and I don't agree with a single word of it.

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/516509e6-dac5-11da-aa09-0000779e2340.html


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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 5:24 am 
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One we missed earlier:

Knot
By Katie Phillips for The Stage

I have a slight mistrust of choreographers who rely heavily on gimmicks and choreographic aids. In her last London visit, Deborah Colker used structures to swing from, conveyor belts to run on and glass vases to dance around. In Knot there is a similarly strong presence of choreographic machinery - trees of rope to swing from, harnesses to twirl in and a transparent glass cube to dance in and climb on.

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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 11:05 am 
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KNOT, 19th May, Birmingham Hippodrome

I love it when I can use the word "imaginative" to describe a dance show, and Deborah Colker's KNOT is certainly that. Set to a very eclectic soundtrack whose style ranges throughout the piece from avant-garde to more classical, when the curtain goes up you are immediately transfixed by the 120 ropes tied up to look like a tree centre-stage.

This piece came with a warning that it might not be suitable for young children, and right from the start it is clear why. The piece is incredibly sexual, the ropes are used by the dancers to tie each other up, as well as to represent blindfolds and whips. Add to this the sensual choreography of bodies caressing and intertwining round each other, as well as the costumes which suggest nudity, you have a provocative show.

KNOT, which took 2 years and 9 months of rehearsal before it was first performed, is about one thing: desire. The first act concentrates on the more natural, subconscious desires, with the dancers behaving like animals and the ropes representing trees, and the second act represents the more commercial desires, the set being a huge clear perspex box, like peeping booths you would find in certain bars in Amsterdam.

The second act opened with a solo danced by Colker herself. Although she is clearly coming towards the end of her career as a dancer, she is still very competent and was a strong presence on the stage. All of her company excelled on stage, and with each Southern American company I see, I realise more and more that when it comes to contemporary dancers, you won't find much better than Brazilians.

What I liked about this piece is that the creative process expended outside just dancing. All the company took lessons in rope work and knot tying, as well as philosophy classes.

Overall, an excellent show, and a company that I will certianly see again in the future.


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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 6:42 am 
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Ties that bind: knotty, but nice
by MARY BRENNAN for the Scotland Herlad

Why? For the same reason she took them "window shopping" in the red-light district of Amsterdam and, back home in Rio, asked a professor of philosophy, Fernando Muniz, to give talks to her company on everything from Greek pederasty to Nietzsche's lust for power. "I wanted them to have an understanding of these ideas, so that we could work properly with the ropes."

published: May 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:43 am 
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Companhia De Danca Deborah Colker
by KELLY APTER for the Scotsman

Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Colker excelled in the fields of piano, philosophy and volley ball before turning her attention to dance. She's also a familiar face on the Brazilian pop video scene, choreographing for some of the country's biggest stars. All of which results in work which is musical, highly physical and not a little deep.

published: June 1, 2006
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