Springback

One step before the fall

performed by Spitfire Company

The venue emulates a boxing ring with the audience closely surrounding the raised square stage. The voice recording of the late Muhammad Ali opens the piece, while a blond girl climbs up, takes off her white office shirt and puts aside earrings. She is accompanied by a female musician and an adjudicator, who rings the bell in between rounds. Concentrated, robotic, masculine movements that repeatedly alternate in speed, testing her endurance and serving as showcase for her body's capacities. Thirst for fame and the temptation to fight the limits of ones own strength, gaining the recognition of the crowd and maybe even a divine blessing seemed paramount.

Despite the title, the piece keeps to a safe frame, all the falls and exhaustion are clearly choreographed and thus give the spectators a theatrical kaleidoscope of romanticised glimpses of the life of a prototypical sports celebrity.


Champion boxer turned Parkinson’s disease victim Mohamed Ali’s physical prowess and subsequent decline are the inspiration for this work. Markéta Vacovska, the dancer-fighter paces the boxing ring around which we the spectators sit, hungry for action. We follow her muscular body with our upturned eyes as she dancers a series of ‘rounds’.  Frustration, heroism, victory, depletion and defeat all make their appearances, artily melded into a choreography sliced up to fit the reduced space and chiming of the ‘time’s up’ bell. But the thrill of the kill or the pathos of the exhausted underdog passed me by. More captivated by Lenka Dusilova’s melodious mix of live voice, percussive guitar and reverb, I was eager that she emerge from the shadows and disrupt the predictability of the dance/fight format. I’m sure that could have eliminated the feeling that I was being distracted from listening to a great playlist by mandatory visuals.


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

Watch on demand: aerowaves.org/springforward

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