2: Dialogue with Lucinda

Festival of Miniatures - Dialogue with Lucinda

uit: The Stage 30/9/2010

Nicole Beutler has adapted two mid-seventies works by radical New York choreographer Lucinda Childs by adding recorded music and fragments of live sound.

At 18 minutes, Radial Courses is the most extreme, with the four dancers marching around the stage in perfect synchronised formation before slipping in and out of the rigid system, creating cross-complementary patterns and rhythms.

It is subtle and hypnotic, though making the audience stand around the edge is unusually cruel. Like the music of Steve Reich, the effectiveness of the piece lies not in the repetition but in the accuracy of the infinitesimal variations, guided by counting and coloured markers the size of postage stamps on the stage. The relentless rhythm - beaten out by the slap of trainers on stage - creates a soundscape that is augmented halfway through by a low growl from the speakers that could be approaching thunder or approaching tanks. As the sweat begins to run, the dizzying impression is a combination of a child’s playground game and an army squad drilling on a parade ground in hell.

More repetition and ritual occurs in the second piece, Interior Drama, in which Marjolein Vogels begins a lightly-patterned backwards and forwards movement that is half-hop, half-dance against the ting ting of a clock/metronome. As the others arrive to create an arrowed vector all dancing in the same manner, the sound is augmented by clicks and whirrs to resemble the working of some infernal mechanism. Individuals and duos break out in spins from time to time only to return to the relentless toing and froing.

Cool, expressionless and ritualistic, leavened with a dust-dry humour, this is a legitimate expansion of Childs’ severe original.

© Neil Norman

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