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Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon: Trois Grandes Fugues. 10.08.2018, Tanz im August, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin.

There’s something blissfully old fashioned about this programme which sees bodies – in different numbers, in different clothes, under different lighting conditions, with and without shoes – moving on a black stage floor against black stage walls. It’s as if we have travelled back to a time with utterly different aesthetic, political, and existential concerns, and as the monochrome kaleidoscope of Lucinda Childs‘ new-old work (made just in 2016 but full of Balanchine and heterosexual partnering) swirls before my eyes, I dream placidly. Take two to the same tune, 1992: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s dancers gallop on stage, filled with energy, virility, asymmetry, fuguing motifs of tilted arms, falls, and rolls, all exciting in their speedy complexity, just out-of-reach comprehensibility. Then a third time, but now the tones are clearer, lower, and it is Maguy Marin, 2001, with her dancers‘ naively bended knees and unpointed feet, that illustrates the nature of the fugue most, somehow delineating the structure of the sound while also drawing us into the throws of drama, the human form, nature, girlhood. Dance on stage.

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