6: The Square

Squarophobia: The Fear of Square Dancing

from: Liefde voor Theater, 20/05/2016

During the dance performance 6: THE SQUARE by Nicole Beutler, we witness the gradual breakdown of order and demarcations in daily and urban life into an organic amalgam of people, culture, freedom and diversity.

Last night, SPRING opened its doors with 6: THE SQUARE by Nicole Beutler, which was appropriately rewarded with a standing ovation afterwards. I feel honoured and also humbled that I may write about this fantastic premiere performance.

Last year, Beutler already offered a foretaste of 6: THE SQUARE at the Vismarkt in Utrecht, in which synchronicity and tempo in movement, the choice for electronic and rhythmic music, systematic structure and repetitions that we recognize from urban life were central. This time round, we're allowed to read the full volume 6: THE SQUARE to the end.

Every step, every form, every touch and every chapter in 6: THE SQUARE was decided beforehand and meticulously directed and choreographed. The electronic music with industrial sound effects winks an eye at the two-dimensional computer game Super Mario in which only forward and backward moves are possible and obstacles must be evaded.

Dancers in groups of four and eight moving alongside each other in close and static rectangular formation, bent forward in almost melancholy fashion, remind me of commuters passing each other hurriedly and in haste without even looking at each other. The choice for contemporary and ethnic costumes also highlights the cultural diversity of our society. The square carpet on the set, the accessories, the square lights, and the count-down digital clock in the top corner of the stage reinforce the impression that we're dealing with order and demarcation here.

As the performance progresses, we are guided vocally by the actress who opens our eyes to just how exceptionally free we are in terms of our expression, culture and fashion. Narrow-mindedness makes our notion of the multi-cultural society shrink. She strengthens the bond between the viewers in the audience by interactively making contact with us. The Squarofobia, as she calls it, is something we all feel and from necessity the dancers discover variation in movement and seek contact with each other, building up to an organic climax in the performance that I associate symbolically with freedom.

© Lisette Croese