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good dancing, technically, but awkward meanings
on 14 April 2017
I was a bit disappointed with this, even though it seems to be raved about by other people. The dancing is very good, certainly; always against plain backgrounds, the pieces depict, in two cases, highly politicised situations, one in Chile after the coup deposing Salvador Allende, the other in an unspecified state, in which two wardens torture a prisoner until he dies. This is shown in fairly abstracted form, fortunately, but there is a sense that the subject is at variance with the idea of dance - it seems naive, even trivial, when you think of the reality it is meant to be depicting. The wardens are shown doing ironic (silent) tap dance moves, and have a gangsterish demeanour, but what is this about? In the end, there is the feeling that the dancers are enjoying the physical movements, trying to create beauty - that is ballet! In the first piece about Chile, there is a grating recital of poetry, by an uncredited author, although the reciter is credited, which comes between the songs, presumably sung to the words we have just heard. We see footage of the coup, sometimes quite unpleasant - corpses being moved, for instance. Again, this jars with the dancing itself. The folk music can be quite grating as well, although obviously this is a matter of taste, but such a dance interpretation seems self-indulgent rather than meaningful. The middle piece, Rooster, is the most effective - a setting of songs by The Rolling Stones; but even here, I wasn't very keen on the swaggering dance moves and rooster gait. Sympathy For The Devil does provide a rousing finale, however.