De Keersmaeker’s Golden Hours (As You Like It) is set to musical excerpts from Brian Eno’s album Another Green World, while text from the play is projected on panels on either side of the stage.
Rosas’ 11 dancers are tasked with translating the text into contemporary, idiosyncratic movement that clearly conveys characterisation and drama. The tale is set in the idyllic forest of Arden, where the young Rosalind disguises herself as a boy to test Orlando’s love.
De Keersmaeker says she found in Shakespeare’s pastoral love comedy themes that have interested her in recent years: the flow of time and our perception of it; gender and sexual identity; and the environment.
As the piece starts, the dancers execute a repeated pattern of movement as if to illustrate Eno’s lyrics “The passage of time is flicking dimly up on the screen;’ but soon their dance evolves into flying turns, unexpected jumps, brisk walks and polished gestures adding physical expressiveness to Shakespeare’s text.
Golden Hours (As You Like It) premièred a year ago in Brussels to mixed reviews: a repetitive choreographic language, periods of silence and sudden ‘comings and goings’ across two hours of dance-theatre without an interval are not, after all, everybody’s cup of tea.
But then Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has never cared for easy crowd-pleasers. Since its foundation in 1983 in Brussels her Rosas company has divided opinion; but in the process she’s acquired a loyal following and a reputation as one of the most innovative and thought-provoking of contemporary dance-makers.
At the Venice Biennale 2015 De Keersmaeker was awarded The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance with the citation reading, “her poetic gesture expressed through the body led to a significant transferral between western cultures towards an understanding of the body in theatre as a medium for experimentation with language”.
If you find this intriguing you should definitely find your way to Sadler's Wells in March; but don't expect an easy ride.
Should you want to delve more deeply into the choreographer's processes, there will be a talk by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and musicologist Bojana Cvejic on Tuesday at 18:00 in the Lilian Baylis studio. Tickets cost £7.50 or £24.00 for a joint ticket with Golden Hours.
|What||Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker, Golden Hours (As You Like It): Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
08 Mar 16 – 09 Mar 16, 19:30
|Website||Click here to book via the Sadler's Wells website|