Friday, October 28, 2011

Dance at SAVVY Contemporary

Dance Performance by Henrik Kaalund and Team
Curators: Cilgia Gadola and Raisa Kröger
1st of October 2011

On Saturday the SAVVY gallery once again animated our weekend in a very intense way. The Finissage of the GhostBusters exhibition was paired with a dance performance. A group of no more than seven dancers choreographed by Henrik Kaalund filled the space of the gallery and made the air vibrate with their energetic movements. The dance was based on the performers' attention and strong physical response to each other and to the change of sound during their action.

The dramaturgy and choreography of the show were very engaging for the public, right from the very beginning: it was fun to watch the dancers change turns in conducting their colleagues' gestures and movements. The dynamics of the whole piece were based on having each dancer enter the role of conductor/leader at one moment and then leaving it for somebody else to take over. It was a game which displayed not necessarily power relations, but rather the tension, alternation and playfulness involved in group communication. There was a particular scene which focused on the group's reactions to specific gestures and to various "leading" temperaments portrayed during the dancing. The public was also invited to join in the game at a certain moment, to become mobile and experience how it is to move according to somebody else's instructions. To read these instructions also.
The performance was funny, involving, sensitive.

During the last part of it recorded sound gave way to live singing, and the voice of a dancer accompanied her colleagues while they were resuming their performance in the narrow corridor. The minimal lightning built a charged and intimate atmosphere: members of the public were handed in a small lantern to hold during the dancing; at specific moments, the dancers who were keeping still would put the spotlight on their performing colleague.

In the context of this performance, contact dancing didn't mean dancers reacting to touch and physical contact only, but also to different kinds of sound. These varied from simple vocal signals that brought in alternation to different rhythms that switched the dancing pace completely. This alternation between soft and sportly, between group- and solo-dances, between speed and slow motion also made us wonder about the secret ingredients of the performance: improvisation and planning. A question we were glad to entertain at Savvy and then take home with us.

Practicing before the dance-performance

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