Archive for the ‘dance’ Category

Deconstruction   Leave a comment

The blurb on the back of my copy of Finnegans Wake reads:

“Joyce’s final work, Finnegans Wake, is his masterpiece of the night as Ulysses is of the day. Supreme linguistic virtuosity conjures up the dark underground worlds of sexuality and dreams. Joyce undermines traditional storytelling and all official forms of English and confronts the different kinds of betrayal – cultural, political and sexual – he saw at the heart of Irish history.”

Now I’m back to reading my ten pages of FW a day, part of my head constantly interrogates this boundary crossing, this undermining of traditional forms and genres.

Last Friday seated in the Le Vidy theatre, waiting for Israel Galvan’s flamenco performance “La curva” to begin, I said to my husband: “Look, the lighting gels are blue. This is not going to be traditional flamenco.”

A formal line up of the four performers opened the piece: singer Inès Bacan, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, palmas performer Bobote, and the dancer Israel Galvan. This was followed by pedestrian movements from Galvan; his toppling of a stack of chairs; the sound of the chairs falling; the sound of the piano strings resonating, and a performative wiggle-waggle hand gesture from Galvan in the direction of the fallen stack.

So much attention focused on the un-stacking of chairs brought to mind Martin Creed’s 2010 exhibition at the Edinburgh Fruitmarket gallery. Interviewed by The Guardian (18/07/2010), Creed says of his first work (Work No 3: Yellow Painting – a piece of purple paper with a big yellow painted swirl on it): “It goes whoop.” …The article continues: “The thought process that inspired Work No. 3 has continued through to some of his most recent work, including some of his stacking pieces. We talk about the paintings on paper which look like steps. These works are all about restrictions: impersonal rules which require a quick, definitive line in space in order to complete the task. So, the stack paintings’ restrictions come from the paintbrushes used. The bottom mark, which acts like a sort of ground stroke, is made by the biggest paintbrush in one swoop, left to right. This then sets the parameters for the next mark, made by a smaller paintbrush: the mark made must be directly proportional to the ground one. And so on, until there aren’t any paintbrushes left in the packet. Part random, part ordered.”

3 minutes into “LaCurva”, my attention focused on exactly what Galvan was un-stacking. Is it the piling up of flamenco’s rhythm + voice + text +guitar accompaniment + dance? Does the resonance of one vibration curve and sound-wave its way into all other resonance chambers? Restricted by what?  Mediated by what?

Galvan suggests through virtuosity, flicking his four fingers against his teeth (think the semiquavers of an up beat) before tapping his forehead with his fist on the downbeat.

At the climax of Galvan’s performance he lies on a large white rectangle (powdered chalk?) positioned centre stage. He has jumped over this rectangle many times without touching it; dropped a mini dance “stage” into the centre of the white rectangle and danced inside it without touching the “chalk”; pulled a diagonal line out of the rectangle without putting his foot into the chalk (he keeps one foot on top of the mini stage which he drags along with his toe) until he has travelled to the front of the stage (stage left). It is as if he has created the visual trace of a fallen stack of chairs on the stage.  Once this trace is realised, Galvan no longer observes the black/ white boundary that he established on the floor. He walks in the chalk. He blurs it. He kicks up a white dust storm. The chalk tamps the sound of his dancing. Dust billows, visually indicating the rhythm of his footwork. He lies down inside the chalk rectangle. He smears white chalk over his black dance clothes.

At the end of “La Curva”, once the stage has emptied of performers, Galvan drops another stack of chairs using stage mechanics. The sound resonates. It is a wrap.

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