The dancers enter the wedding venue in silence, undressed, surrounded by chairs and a backdrop of tastefully large light bulbs – think Bausch’s Café Müller via London Fields. They prepare for the celebration in slow-mo, allowing all the normally private rituals and gestures to be seen in a new light.
The work uses a very successful amalgamation of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and new music from composer Ben Foskett. Les Noces’ power can’t be denied, and Veldman clearly adores the score as she uses every dynamic opportunity to its fullest. Her dance language has that much desired – and rarely realised – balance of flow and image. Bodies are asked to truly understand the notions of rise and fall; and the dancers clearly relish it.
As a member of an audience I have a few pet peeves: participation, chair dancing and unnecessary props. Veldman is victorious again. At one point audience members were invited onto the stage by the seven dancers. I completely froze but the lady next to me couldn’t get up there soon enough, and this speaks volumes. The work engages people – and they want to be inside it. And they even got to do a tasteful version of the Conga! If there’s such a thing…
The chairs are used in ingenious ways; as a 4th dancer in a quartet; as percussive sound to create rhythm; or as sculpture to depict ceremonial architecture and invisible boundaries created by society.
This is something Veldman does well (supported by Ben Ormerod’s understated lighting, and Joana Dias’ moveable set). She divides space, with bodies and objects demanding that the observer asks what those vacuums might mean emotionally. It made me reflect on expectation, and how the wedding is something we see but perhaps a marriage is something we feel.
Seeing and feeling is the crux of this work, and never more so than during a very entertaining moment which sees the cast replicate a kind of homage to Dante’s Inferno concerning the catching of the highly desired bouquet. The facial contortions and desperate writhing say a lot about the general population – and how we look for love. Some might say, in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons.
Or not. And that’s the point. This work makes you think. As much or as little as you’d like. It’s such a relief to see purposeful work. Something that’s about substance which inadvertently creates style, as opposed to the reverse. And Veldman has substance (and style) in spades.
|What||Didy Veldman, The Knot Review|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
20 Nov 18 – 21 Nov 18, 19:30 Dur.: TBC
|Price||£10 (£13 concessions)|
|Website||Click here to book via The Place|