performed by Roser López Espinosa

On a pure white stage, two dancers, bent forward, start a dialogue of swinging, wing like motions, beating the air vigorously up and down.

As the movements slowly amplify, the space becomes more airy, filled with flowing flight, and fluid energy. The dancers, eager to consume space and to taste, for a second, a heady moment of levitation, engage in a smooth succession of runs, lifts, jumps and rolls; a feeling of weightlessness emerges. Inspired by birds, the piece is surely marked by a constant striving to change the body’s position in space, in an effort – maybe too literal - to take off.

Although grounded, the dance bears a lighter, even naïve note, symbolized by the use of a zoetrope projection of flying birds. An attempt, perhaps, to lighten up our human condition in the Lowland: that imposed by gravity, for which only the human spirit can compensate.

A girl and a boy, dressed in pigeon-coloured costumes dance in a white box. Solos are exchanged with duets, expressing different phases of emotional communication between two beings. Like two fledgling partridges in a protected environment, they are excited to explore their abilities and still have a very immature outlook on the world. They spend the days flapping their wings, running and somersaulting around. Stumbling or falling might be upsetting, but there is enough energy to recover again quickly.

The soundtrack for the performance is a mixture of stereotypical nature recordings and stimulating riffs of psychedelic rock. The opening loops of music are reminiscent of “The Doors” generation and make me doubtful as to what extent we today, are ready to immerse ourselves in the research of something as crucial as freedom. And yet still, isn’t it a contemporary artist’s responsibility to do just that?

Birds in flight, flapping, flocking and soaring high, cooing love doves, birds with broken wings: these images and more provide the departure point for this pristine duet. But as with the sound track, the choreography, although danced with depth, felt contrived, manufactured as a composition of clichéd, “déjà vu” phrasing meant to please, but not to be believed. Except…when the dancers stop dancing at last and interlock arms, struggling to form a human cats-cradle that never quite works; or when the music dies, we take a breath and the zoetrope that has been standing unheeded in the corner is spun, making a line of white birds appear and fly over the backdrop. These moments give credence to the performance by acknowledging, briefly, that in truth human beings cannot fly, they make tangled messes of their lives and can only watch in awe, those creatures that can really take to the air unhindered.

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Spring Forward
5-7 April 2019
Val de Marne, France

Watch on demand: aerowaves.org/springforward

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