Seattle International Dance Festival displays Swiss movement
Switzerland's Compagnie 7273 makes a big impression with small-scale fare at Seattle International Dance Festival: Beyond the Threshold.
Seattle Times arts writer
Seattle International Dance Festival: Beyond the ThresholdVarying times and venues through Sunday, with most events at Raisbeck Performance Hall, 2015 Boren Ave., Seattle; single tickets $15, series passes $50 (800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com).
Dance Review |
Cyrus Khambatta, director of Seattle International Dance Festival: Beyond the Threshold, has a knack for finding acts that create a big effect in a small space.
Opening night on Friday found Switzerland's Compagnie 7273 doing just that with a piece called "Listen and watch." Solo dancer Nicolas Cantillon, seemingly entranced by Sir Richard Bishop's live raga-like guitar score, lost himself in a series of serpentine, spine-swiveling and circular movements, punctuated by sharp slices and geometric flourishes. At times, he incorporated mime technique as he pushed at and carved the space around him.
Whippet-thin and with a billowing halo of frizzy hair, Cantillon inhabited the dance so fluidly that it seemed to be happening to him spontaneously. But Khambatta revealed it's not improvised but meticulously choreographed, with not a single move repeated.
On Saturday, Compagnie 7273 returned with "Romance-s," a duet for Cantillon and his partner in life, Laurence Yadi. She's about a foot shorter than he is, but just as disciplined and, if anything, more intense. Performed mostly in silence (the dancers' breath, slaps and thumps are the "score"), "Romance-s" is a brilliant double-portrait of a loving if sometimes conflicted couple. It takes a ton of physical trust to pull off the limber illusions and precarious balances these two do.
Saturday's program also featured Astad Deboo (champion of modern dance in India), in a meditative piece in which he eased his way out of a plastic cocoon, and West African dancer Manimou Camara and Idaho Dance Theatre star Yurek Hansen in a last-minute addition to the program, "Houn Lanyi — Coming Together," that sizzled as it juxtaposed African and modern dance movements. It was over far too quickly, but may be back in extended form next year."Romance-s," "Houn Lanyi" and Deboo's piece repeat 7:30 p.m. Sunday,June 3. Catch this stellar lineup if you can.
Other first-weekend offerings were more mixed. Gansango Music and Dance's "Soul of Africa," on Friday, felt choppy as it tried to squeeze traditional African dance and a brutal lynch-mob story into the same piece. Outdoor events in the South Lake Union neighborhood ranged from flaky (Live Urban Art scampering about in shiny silvery capes) to thoroughly hypnotic (Anna and John Dixon tethered together, shifting weight and control back and forth as they navigated staircases in slow motion).
The festival enters "Spotlight on Seattle" mode Tuesday through Thursday, before resuming its international flavor next weekend.
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org