De Keersmaeker me crazy

A dance review of sorts: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s
Rosas danst Rosas

It was dark and somewhat warm. The lights slowly came on as each dancer walked toward a point on the back part of the stage. One, then two, then three and the fourth to meet the three. Patience. Several minutes passed as I saw the four dancers from the back in their black tights, freeflowing tan mini skirts and blousey Henley shirts. The music pounded for at least ten more minutes. I knew what kind of performance to expect. It was slow, measured, choreographed to span several minutes in repetitive sequences. It progressively tested my patience as the four dancers moved to the next stage; all of them moving as if they were painstakingly traveling in their sleep. On their backs, the right arm making its way above the head on the floor, sweeping to the side, then pulling over their bodies to start the sequence yet again. They each moved to the foreground to repeat the same sequence. All of them were illuminated by their own spot light. I wondered if they would ever stand after falling and rolling and holding still for such a long time. At last, each dancer made a move toward a standing position, only to fall to the floor and repeat the same sequence.

I get it. It’s almost like going to church as a child and listening to long, tedious sermons that I didn’t really understand. And then there was some movement among the adults as the minister came to a close and everyone stood to releave their back sides and yawned in relief that it was indeed over. But this dance is more zen-like, or shall we say the dance version of Philip Glass. This type of modern dance takes you through so many thoughts and emotions: expectation, pause, fatigue, concentration, annoyance, anger, elation and relief. It IS affective. It tries your patience. The best part is that it doesn’t allow your mind to wander. You are ultimately focused, though fatigued, for the entire performance.

The dancers make what I think is their final movements, until I realize that there are similar patterns coming for the next twenty minutes. They continue to move in a repetitive manner, all in sync, until the last step. The lights go down. It is over. The four dancers bow, leave the stage, and come back several times to a standing ovation. We’ve all experienced this performance together.