written by our own Anne H. Wareing for tumblr: nvmthegap: Luke Jennings has it all wrong.  Terribly wrong, in fact. Tonight I saw a brilliant, moving, hilarious, gripping, relentless, unapologetic, gorgeous piece of… dance… theatre… art.  One of the best I’ve ever seen.  And I’m a fucking jaded, judgmental spectator, so that’s saying quite a lot. Dave St-Pierre is an acclaimed dance choreographer based in Montreal, Canada.  And this is not the first time he’s used nudity on stage - or been brutally scolded by critics for it.  He likes taking his audiences to the edge, beyond the point of discomfort, beyond fear, beyond embarrassment.  Once those socio-psychological defences are stripped away, we can feel the raw beauty of his work, the mastery of the human instrument, the tenderness and ferocity in each movement.   To Mr. Jennings: Of course I can appreciate that an older, more prudent or conservative generation of theatre/dance-goers may not have been so keen on bearing witness to the ‘shameless’ nudity exhibited tonight.  The naked body is still a bit taboo, even in Europe, and especially in the United States (I cringe to imagine how an audience in Phoenix would have reacted to this!).  Luke ignorantly calls it ‘a crass attempt to shock,’ but there was unaffected sincerity behind even the most outlandish displays.  For example, when dozens of nude dancers in matted blonde wigs crawled over and through the audience, their genitals in dangerous proximity to us, the people seated around me guffawed with disbelief and delight.  I’m serious - delight!  We were collectively experiencing this immensely awkward moment, when each of us feared that we’d be accidentally grazed by somebody’s bare ass, and it was hilarious in its absurdity.  There was nothing threatening or perverted about it whatsoever.  If anything, it took the piss out of the typical in-your-face lewdness we tend to associate with stage nudity these days.  It was almost much more innocent in nature.  So what I think you’re fussed about (besides your very precious notebook), Mr. Jennings, is that you were singled out.  You probably felt a bit embarrassed, a bit exposed.  That’s normal.  But let’s not forget: you weren’t the one with your privates on parade.   I’ll definitely admit, when I first sat in my seat for the show, knowing the gist of what was in store and peering around at too many poshy-posh folk, I wondered how the hell the dancers were going to pull this off (no pun intended).  Glancing at the stage, I knew the awkwardness barrier was already broken: sat on a chair up-center was a totally nude man wearing one of the aforementioned blonde wigs, yelping at us in an absurd falsetto.  Next, from within the audience emerged various company members all dressed in pedestrian clothing.  They interacted with us, with each other - sometimes cordially, sometimes rudely - and gradually made their way towards the stage.  Once we became collectively privy, the image of the dancers making their slow approach to the chairs at the back of the theatre was mesmerising.  There was a subtle crescendo, the metaphorical raising of the curtain, and we were swept away. A saucy Dita Von Teese-esque master of ceremonies addressed us: this night was not about comfort, and it was not about them, the performers.  It was about us, and for us, and because of us.  It bombarded us with the frailty and frustration of humanity, all of our ridiculous absurdities and primal desires.  And without being pretentious, these dancers demonstrated the most marvellous capacities of the body: at times, their movements were slight and graceful, and at others, regimented and exhausting.  St Pierre’s choreography was reminiscent of Tadashi Suzuki’s highly demanding training: the dancers moved in unison on the vocal command of their captain, repeating and repeating and repeating.  It holds to a principle shared by many contemporary practitioners of physical theatre: Only when the body has reached the fullest exhaustion can the work truly begin.  The very last moments of the piece portrayed the very core of this sentiment - naked, drenched, spent bodies draped lovingly and lazily over each other, the most breathtaking, butterfly-inducing image of the evening.  I shan’t bang on about each and every detail of the show.  Words wouldn’t convey it all, anyhow.  I will say that this is a company and a choreographer to watch.  Their international presence may not yet be as dominant as it is certain to become, but I don’t doubt that we will continue to hear more and more about the daring, irreverent, beautiful work of Dave St Pierre and the heavenly bodies that bring it to life.   Bottom line (no pun intended here either): The next time these lot are in the United Kingdom, SEE THEM.  This work is far too vital to miss. And for fuck’s sake, let’s not let the Luke Jennings’s of the world put us off living and breathing work that makes us feel knock-kneed for a moment or two.  You want fluff?  Go to the West End.     

written by our own Anne H. Wareing for tumblr:

nvmthegap:

Luke Jennings has it all wrong.  Terribly wrong, in fact.

Tonight I saw a brilliant, moving, hilarious, gripping, relentless, unapologetic, gorgeous piece of… dance… theatre… art.  One of the best I’ve ever seen.  And I’m a fucking jaded, judgmental spectator, so that’s saying quite a lot.

Dave St-Pierre is an acclaimed dance choreographer based in Montreal, Canada.  And this is not the first time he’s used nudity on stage - or been brutally scolded by critics for it.  He likes taking his audiences to the edge, beyond the point of discomfort, beyond fear, beyond embarrassment.  Once those socio-psychological defences are stripped away, we can feel the raw beauty of his work, the mastery of the human instrument, the tenderness and ferocity in each movement.  

To Mr. Jennings: Of course I can appreciate that an older, more prudent or conservative generation of theatre/dance-goers may not have been so keen on bearing witness to the ‘shameless’ nudity exhibited tonight.  The naked body is still a bit taboo, even in Europe, and especially in the United States (I cringe to imagine how an audience in Phoenix would have reacted to this!).  Luke ignorantly calls it ‘a crass attempt to shock,’ but there was unaffected sincerity behind even the most outlandish displays.  For example, when dozens of nude dancers in matted blonde wigs crawled over and through the audience, their genitals in dangerous proximity to us, the people seated around me guffawed with disbelief and delight.  I’m serious - delight!  We were collectively experiencing this immensely awkward moment, when each of us feared that we’d be accidentally grazed by somebody’s bare ass, and it was hilarious in its absurdity.  There was nothing threatening or perverted about it whatsoever.  If anything, it took the piss out of the typical in-your-face lewdness we tend to associate with stage nudity these days.  It was almost much more innocent in nature.  So what I think you’re fussed about (besides your very precious notebook), Mr. Jennings, is that you were singled out.  You probably felt a bit embarrassed, a bit exposed.  That’s normal.  But let’s not forget: you weren’t the one with your privates on parade.  

I’ll definitely admit, when I first sat in my seat for the show, knowing the gist of what was in store and peering around at too many poshy-posh folk, I wondered how the hell the dancers were going to pull this off (no pun intended).  Glancing at the stage, I knew the awkwardness barrier was already broken: sat on a chair up-center was a totally nude man wearing one of the aforementioned blonde wigs, yelping at us in an absurd falsetto.  Next, from within the audience emerged various company members all dressed in pedestrian clothing.  They interacted with us, with each other - sometimes cordially, sometimes rudely - and gradually made their way towards the stage.  Once we became collectively privy, the image of the dancers making their slow approach to the chairs at the back of the theatre was mesmerising.  There was a subtle crescendo, the metaphorical raising of the curtain, and we were swept away.

A saucy Dita Von Teese-esque master of ceremonies addressed us: this night was not about comfort, and it was not about them, the performers.  It was about us, and for us, and because of us.  It bombarded us with the frailty and frustration of humanity, all of our ridiculous absurdities and primal desires.  And without being pretentious, these dancers demonstrated the most marvellous capacities of the body: at times, their movements were slight and graceful, and at others, regimented and exhausting.  St Pierre’s choreography was reminiscent of Tadashi Suzuki’s highly demanding training: the dancers moved in unison on the vocal command of their captain, repeating and repeating and repeating.  It holds to a principle shared by many contemporary practitioners of physical theatre: Only when the body has reached the fullest exhaustion can the work truly begin.  The very last moments of the piece portrayed the very core of this sentiment - naked, drenched, spent bodies draped lovingly and lazily over each other, the most breathtaking, butterfly-inducing image of the evening. 

I shan’t bang on about each and every detail of the show.  Words wouldn’t convey it all, anyhow.  I will say that this is a company and a choreographer to watch.  Their international presence may not yet be as dominant as it is certain to become, but I don’t doubt that we will continue to hear more and more about the daring, irreverent, beautiful work of Dave St Pierre and the heavenly bodies that bring it to life.  

Bottom line (no pun intended here either): The next time these lot are in the United Kingdom, SEE THEM.  This work is far too vital to miss.

And for fuck’s sake, let’s not let the Luke Jennings’s of the world put us off living and breathing work that makes us feel knock-kneed for a moment or two.  You want fluff?  Go to the West End.