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 Post subject: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:33 pm 
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Sadler’s Wells and Dance Touring Partnership present

Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
BLUSH UK PREMIERE

UK tour from January 27 – 21 February 2004
Coventry, Nottingham, Sheffield, London, Truro, Glasgow, Newcastle

‘The performance swarms with invention, alternating the gentleness of love and sorrow of impossible lovers, with couples, head against head, in love-fights.’ La Libre Belgique

‘Lively and strong, sensual and explosive, wild and elegant’ Le Soir

Internationally renowned choreographer, Wim Vandekeybus, and award-winning company Ultima Vez present
a rare UK tour of their latest work, Blush. Sadler’s Wells and the Dance Touring Partnership
co-produce the tour, which begins on 27 January 2004 and visits Coventry, Nottingham, Sheffield, London, Truro, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Blush, fuses intensely physical dance, film and music to explore love in all its forms resulting in potent and sensual scenes of lust and temptation, exhilaration and shame, as the dancers transform into lost Eurydices and underwater nymphs.

The performance has a high energy rock soundtrack from singer/songwriter David Eugene Edwards of
Denver based band, 16 Horsepower and solo project, Woven Hand. In London, Glasgow and Truro the
4-piece ‘goth country’ rockers accompany the performance live on stage.

Vandekeybus’s trademark use of film blurs the definition between stage and screen. The dancers appear to leap from the stage into the film screen to seamlessly reappear swimming underwater.

Blush is Vandekeybus’s 14th production for Ultima Vez. It features ten international performers, including Vandekeybus himself. All the performers contributed to the writing of Blush in collaboration with writer Peter Verhelst. Richly poetic, the final performance draws on Charles Laughton’s film The Night of the Hunter, as well as Ovid’s tale of Orpheus rescuing Eurydice from the underworld.

Vandekeybus pushes the performers to extremes of emotional and physical strength, creating a breathtaking theatrical experience of powerful and disturbing energy.

For further information please contact Charlotte Hooper at Sadler’s Wells
Tel: 020 7863 8114 or email charlotte.hooper@sadlerswells.com
Images are available from EPO www.epo-online.co.uk

Notes to Editors

The UK tour is funded by Arts Council England.

Director
Wim Vandekeybus is a director, choreographer, performer, filmmaker and photographer. After working for two years with Jan Fabre he created his own working structure, Ultima Vez, a company of a dozen young artists and actors, and several artistic, technical and administrative collaborators. Blush premiered in September 2002 in the Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg / de bottelarij in Brussels.

Performers
Laura Aris Alvarez (Spanish); Elena Fokina (Russian); Jozef Frucek (Slovakian); Ina Geerts (Belgian); Robert M.Hayden (American); German Jauregui Allue (Spanish); Linda Kapetanea (Greek); Thi-Mai Nguyen (French)
Thomas Steyaert (Belgian); Wim Vandekeybus (Belgian)

Music
David Eugene Edwards is the lead singer of 16 Horsepower and solo project Wovan Hand.
Wovan Hand play live on stage for performances of Blush in London, Glasgow and Cornwall.

Daniel McMahon (organ, mandolin)
David Eugene Edwards (vocals, viola, slide-guitar)
Ordy Garrison (drums)
Paul Fonfara (cello)

Warwick Arts Centre
Tuesday 27 & Wednesday 28 January at 7.30pm
024 7652 4524 www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

Nottingham Playhouse
Friday 30 & Saturday 31 January at 8pm
0115 941 9419 www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
Tuesday 3 February at 7.45pm
0114 249 6000 www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Sadler’s Wells, London (live music)
Saturday 7 & Sunday 8 February at 8.00pm
020 7863 8000 www.sadlerswells.com

Hall for Cornwall, Truro (live music)
Wednesday 11 February at 8pm
01872 262466 www.hallforcornwall.co.uk

Theatre Royal, Glasgow (live music)
Tuesday 17 & Wednesday 18 February at 7.30pm
0141 332 9000 www.theatreroyalglasgow.com

Newcastle Playhouse, Newcastle
Friday 20 & Saturday 21 February at 8.00pm
0191 230 5151 www.northernstage.com


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 12:43 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Wim Vandekeybus: The moving beauty of still images
For Blush, the choreographer Wim Vandekeybus and his troupe merge dance with the magic of cinema
By Zoe Anderson for The Independent

The Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus has used film throughout his career: "I studied film more than choreography, 16 years ago." His new production Blush, which tours Britain until 21 February, aims to bring filmed image and live action much closer together.

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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2004 4:04 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Deep down and dirty
Ultima Vez’s raunchy Blush would have Freud sitting up in his grave. By Clifford Bishop for The Times.


Freud famously referred to blushing as an erection of the head, and the Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus’s blood- and sweat-drenched new piece of dance theatre, which is called Blush, is certainly bigger on bodily functions than it is on charm, modesty or coyness of manner.

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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 2:05 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
One we missed when first published:

Sex and frogs and wobbly bits
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telegraph reviews Ultima Vez at the Warwick Arts Centre


When planning Blush, I imagine, the personnel of Belgium's notoriously "extreme" dance company Ultima Vez started by writing down the gross-out highlights. A frog put in a blender, and a girl drinking it. A man begging people to stick his peeled banana into his backside. A dozing woman being violated - or perhaps (clever, this) masochistically pleasured - by two men, one semi-throttling her and forcing a microphone to her mouth, the other with his hand rootling inside her.

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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 6:56 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Sadler's is almost sold out for these two performances of "Blush", so book fast if you want to see it.

<small>[ 07 February 2004, 07:57 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 2:29 am 
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Location: London UK
With the prospect of:

Quote:
A frog put in a blender, and a girl drinking it. A man begging people to stick his peeled banana into his backside. A dozing woman being violated - or perhaps (clever, this) masochistically pleasured - by two men, one semi-throttling her and forcing a microphone to her mouth, the other with his hand rootling inside her.
I'm surprised anyone would want to see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 3:28 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I saw "Blush" on Sunday and was pleased that I did. The visual aspect is very strong and I loved the scenes of the dancers plunging into and out of the filmed water, through the split screen. The dancers are wonderful and the choreography fast, furious, physical and fascinating. Most of the jokes worked and the themes of physical attraction and our evolutionary heritage were reflected in the visceral nature of the production. The live rock band are great.

I might drop a couple of the monologues and scenes, but overall "Blush" held my attention throughout its 100 minutes without an interval. The performances over two nights at Sadler's were sold out and the 1500 people on Sunday night seemed very pleased, with hardly anyone walking out during the performance.

Tanztheater doesn't fit in easily with the English psyche and the 150 minutes of "i said i" by Rosas remains one of my dance low spots. However, "Blush" has many virtues as well as challenging the audience to decode the meaning behind the scenes. I certainly wouldn't claim to have formed answers to all its aspects and I'd be pleased to see it again to get more out the piece. In general that's seen as a good thing in an art work.

<small>[ 09 February 2004, 06:28 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:22 am 
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Location: Italy and UK
I found his approach to movement instinctive, animalike and powerful. Here there is a link to a video clip from BLUSH and an interesting interview with Vandekeybus where he talks about his tendency to go for extremes and controversial stuff. Enjoy!

http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/eng/pgram_ticket/t_03sep/blush1.html

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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:44 pm 
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Location: London, England
Wim Vandekeybus & Ultima Vez
Blush
Sadler's Wells – 8th Feb 2004

OK, let's start with the good stuff. In Blush, choreographer and director Wim Vandekeybus brings together an international company of ten fearless performers who dance as if gravity, stamina, physical limitations, pain and dignity are of no concern. He creates for them thrilling bursts of movement, centred on precarious power struggles, jostling and duelling at a frenetic pace, launching themselves wildly into the air and chasing their insatiable desires.

Live music from David Eugene Edwards and his band cranks up the intensity, creating a heady, heavy backdrop for the action on stage. Most impressive is Vandekeybus' amalgamation of film and dance. It's something many choreographers attempt, few successfully, and it works this time because the dancers and the screen literally interact. The screen is made of strips, reflecting a watery image, which the dancers dive through with a dramatic splash. We then see them encased in the rippling blue on the other side, like ethereal mermaids or drowning Ophelias. It might sound gimmicky, but it works.

There are plenty more striking images. A huge pendulum lamp descends into the centre of the stage and swings in slow circles, illuminating each character one by one. It's an almost cinematic device, like editing between parallel scenes and disparate characters stranded in their own peculiar circumstances – Paul Thomas Anderson's film Magnolia comes to mind.

In Blush's exploration of all things to do with love, there are no hearts and flowers. It's the darker, less palatable side of this four-letter word that demands all the attention. Vandekeybus shows up the animalism of his assembled specimens, reduced to bodily functions, moving with a raw rabid energy and stalking their prey. But Peter Verhelst's texts, whispered, shrieked and declaimed by the performers, salvage some sobriety and seek to spin out the complexities of the human soul.

So far, so ambitious, but Blush's agenda to shock starts to get tiresome after two hours – a frog in a blender, a revving chainsaw, a plenitude of naked flesh, endless shouting, sex and violation. The company are playing at full volume from the off so after a while there's nowhere left to go. Subtlety doesn't really come into their vocabulary and in the end, perhaps surprisingly, this forceful theatrical onslaught doesn't actually leave much of a mark.


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:19 pm 
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Um...is it a real frog?


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:11 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Yeah sure - we wouldn't want any fakery would we? But it doesn't go in the blender.

<small>[ 10 February 2004, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:06 am 
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The London critics are NOT amused:

Blush
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian


Blush is an old-fashioned word - a word associated with startled heroines, shy lovers and hidden shame. It is a word associated with secrets. But in Wim Vandekeybus's show, first performed in 2002, nothing is withheld, or forbidden. During its two-hour anatomisation of love and desire, sensations are pursued and taboos broken with hell-bent recklessness. There is a woman who rides herself to orgasm astride her snoring, unwitting lover; another who threatens herself with a chainsaw, and a third who appears to drink the remains of a liquidised live frog. There are men who dream of gang rape and grievous bodily harm and who rummage brutally around the body of a dead woman.

click for more

****************************

Blush
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


This frightful show tours the country and, so says the press release, "is funded by the Arts Council England". Heads should roll. Serious and valuable dance in England is under-funded, and there are European troupes who should be seen here - but not this obscurantist tosh. Blush plays Glasgow and Newcastle this week. I am sure there are chores at home to keep you out of harm's way.

click for more

****************************

Blush
By Zoe Anderson for The Independent

"You didn't read the reviews," a dancer tells the audience early on in Blush, "or you wouldn't be here." Well, no. Wim Vandekeybus's production for Ultima Vez is two hours of running about and ranting, with bouts of frog-juggling and simulated sex.

The frog turns up early. A woman comes on with it dangling from one hand, twitching and apparently real. A man takes it from her, pops it into a blender, then gives her the juice to drink. It's sleight of hand, but I worry for the frog.

click for more

<small>[ 11 February 2004, 03:07 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 9:40 am 
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Location: UK
Ultima Vez seems to be a bit controversial. The last time I saw them was about 10 years ago at the South Bank and even then it was a hard pill to swallow. But I love this company! They are energetic and absolute dynamite on stage. But I think you are right, Stuart, about this kind of dance, content, theatre, what have you ... it does not sit well with the 'British psyche'. It's a bit in your face, that's true, but I think Vandekeybus reflects a European aesthetic that is tremendously valued and he does carry on the legacy of such greats as Pina Bausch. I am sorry to have missed Blush (although the frog in the blender sounded gruesome)I envy the other 1500 people that did.


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 Post subject: Re: Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:23 pm 
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Blush, interaction of surfaces
Sadlers Wells, 8th February 2004

Surface 0: no logic attempt to unfold the dancing of this piece, it is not possible, too many wild bodies wandering on a stage characterised by its own dynamism in the shape of the live band and of the 'wounded' screen, vertically cut so as to echo Fontana's painting ….a woman in white seems to be singing, talking, but oh somebody tries to clean the space in front of her microphone…no, in this case only some surfaces of this performance are allowed to randomnly emerge from my un/conscious sub/conscious….chaotically disposed in an alchemic re/action of words…

Surface 1: there is a long haired woman who comes to the front of the stage and places a brick on her hair as if to block it or maybe straighten it (her hair is already straight but this is not the point), she lies on the floor her head partially turned towards the audience and starts screaming…wow, her acute voice fills the theatre even in its most hidden corners, it is a hysteric scream, it is her movement, the words springing from her mouth talk a language that sounds like English but English is not…maybe a new verbal species, a schizophrenic Esperanto…

Surface 2: men and women lined up in the front part of the stage, dressed up in suits and 'nice' dresses, one of them starts talking about love. This reminds me of a song by Lauryn Hill, but again this is not the point….an animate discussion begins between a long haired man who affirms that love is the fruit of a chemical reaction and a short haired guy who claims love has nothing to do with chemistry, hysteria seems to get hold of him too, he screams and strips off his clothes madly running around the stage completely naked.

Surface 3: movement is left unfinished, dirtied up via a tension release of body parts which appear to be abandoned before the movement is completed, in fact there is no sense of complete steps being performed, it all seems to be a flowing of bodies according to frantic rhythms. The focus on the individual is repleaced by a collective approach, where bodies are a deleuzian poit of connection of a network yet to be formed, even impossible to reach any stable form….it is a network constantly re/shaping its coordiantes, where dancers are molecules wandering in an interchangeable space.

Surface 4: water is a predominant factor. Water is more present on stage rather than on the large screen placed on the right and pierced in long vertical cuts. It offers images of a watery underworld (I would prefer to call it intraworld) with which the dancers will actively engage in a springing-in-and-out of the sceened images of themselves. Water is a sense of movement in these bodies scattered across the stage.

Surface 5: a wall is being built, a wall of big rectangularlike bags. A wall that darkens the stage covering the waterproof (!) screen/skin. A wall that contains, divides, conceals. The wall is broken, the bags cover the stage in a chaotic pattern, people appear from some of the bags, people-bags, their head surfacing out timidly, inadvertengly, as they are waking up from a long lethargic sleep. It is a beckettian scene, powerful and absurd.

Surface 6: …..

Surface 7: ……..

Surface n: a naked woman is being humiliated, she does not seem to know what direction to take, why? I wonder…her nakedness is much more fragile than that of her fellow male dancer….stereotypical? don't know….another very thin woman is placed in the middle of front stage, two men will attend to her needs (???!), a red light cirles the trio, one man focuses on her top part, abdomen and face, the other immerse his hand under her short skirt, he seems intent to search for something….she lies still in a kind of trance….in a state that oscillates between that of an object and a subject….is she a sacrifice to the audience? Is this a ritual?

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Rosella Simonari


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