De Keersmaeker at Sadler’s Wells

18th April 2011 | Concerts, Daily Life, Musings | 0 comments

I never used to follow contemporary dance, but a chance encounter with the Mark Morris Dance Group seems to have turned me into an Sadler’s Wells groupie. I’ve gone on to enjoy Pina Bausch, modern flamenco, and on Saturday we relished the last night of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker‘s ‘Early Works’ retrospective.

Whenever I go to a dance programme at Sadler’s Wells, I always envy them their very cool, interestingly dressed, chic audience. I wish they would come to my concerts. I feel like spending the interval running around with concert leaflets and pressing them into people’s hands.

Before our visit on Saturday, I’d read several reviews of de Keersmaeker’s work, which sharply divided the critics. Some were mesmerised; they said that her artistry could not be overstated. Others said the choreography was intellectual, obscure and off-putting; they were so bored they had to start fantasising about other things to pass the time. Bob and I wondered which camp we would find ourselves in.

In the event, we both loved it. It was austere, yes, but also witty and secretly joyful. In fact, the quartet of plainly black-clad dancers moving in intricate unison to Bartok’s Fourth String Quartet was probably one of the nicest things I’ve seen in the theatre.

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