I suppose I was initially interested in checking out Charlotte & Kurt’s work because they hail from Belgium and Charlotte has studied with Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker. I expected dance theater – dancing, talking, entertainment. Instead, I was treated to a visually stunning meditation. I say “treated”, but I do find it incredibly challenging to slow down enough to join in the meditation. However, when I make the effort, I am richly rewarded. This is why I love time-based art.
So, they’re naked. I don’t want to give anything away here, but when the show began, I thought I was in for a western European, hetero version of a John Jasperse duet (performed with Miguel Gutierrez) wherein the audience learned, through demonstration, that John’s ear fit neatly into Miguel’s butt-crack. I was reminded of Jasperse’s work again later in the piece, when genitals were manipulated and S&M-like masks were donned – but there I go giving stuff away again. It is interesting to me that Jasperse danced with Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker too, but the comparisons end there. Besides, it was Pina Bausch he danced for, not ATdK.
These are the thoughts going through my mind when relatively little is happening onstage. I begin to panic. This show is how long? Then I see a thumbprint morph into a nipple. I tell myself to relax. This is visual art unfolding before me. Later my mind wanders off again to ponder trompe l’oeil in the 21st century. And then the performers start to move. Slowly. I’m captivated. They are gorgeous in that lean euro dancer way – freakishly fat-free because they’re always moving (albeit very slowly). They are like Adam and Eve (or Eiko and Komo) and I want to watch them do the tiniest things. Except use tiny, shiny cuticle scissors.
Yes, the “scissor moment” was the most uncomfortable for me, but oddly enough, I love that too. And yes, I zoned out and wanted to fidget, like I sometimes do when I’m sitting on a mat in a yoga class. But like a good yoga practice, an excellent work of time-based art like Map Me leaves me feeling, well, enlightened somehow.
I suppose that’s why I keep going to see live art. Maybe it’s like going to church. I wouldn’t know. I do know that I get a thrill out of being part of a community. I was disappointed that I couldn’t hear Rinde Eckert’s T:BA opener on Thursday (and pleasantly surprised that there were no talking heads, I mean “curtain” speeches), but I stayed because I wanted to see (and be seen by, let’s be honest) my friends and fellow church-goers.
In closing, I must say that I am looking very forward to Elevator Repair Service’s Gatsby. It will be like a meditation retreat! We are so lucky.
Posted by Nancy Ellis
Charlotte Vanden Eynde & Kurt Vandendriessche / Map Me