because the personal is cultural
LOVE, by Loïc Touzé and Latifa Laâbissi, is a clearly delimited series of a dozen tableaux that can be narrowed down to a single action, each lasting about five minutes. In what becomes a ritual, the dancers enter the stage from the side and turn their head to the audience as they do so. They stand still with a neutral facial expression before performing their action and then returning to a still position before exiting.
Onstage, they fake boxing with their eyes closed, they walk on all fours like animals, the pretend to tap dance while barefoot… We are in a world of imaginary play, where the performers are devoid of emotional complexity, dehumanized, as clowns always are. In Dance and the Lived Body: A Descriptive Aesthetics, Sondra Horton Fraleigh writes,
“The audience perceives [the dancer’s] dance through her movement as it conveys her intentions. In short, they see what she does and see the thought in it – not behind it or before it. If she moves softly, they see softness; if she moves sharply, that is what they see.”
In light of this, it is interesting that LOVE is framed as a dance show since this conjunction is never present. Instead, everything the dancers do is fake. Even when they hit each other, it is never enough to actually hurt. When a woman pretends to run away from someone, she remains in the same spot. Given this constant artificiality, LOVE is more intellectual than emotional. One can only assume that the title is ironic.
For the final scene, the picture of trees is lowered until it becomes the backdrop. It is only a signifier for the end since the conclusion is never earned. Each of the tableaux, essentially the same, could be interchanged without affecting the work in any way whatsoever. As such, it is reminiscent of Chris Haring’s Running Sushi, seen last year at Usine C.
As I’m writing this, I come across another quote, this one by Oscar Wilde: “There are two ways of disliking art. One is to dislike it and the other is to like it rationally.”
September 10 & 11 at 8pm
Agora de la danse
Tickets: 28$ / Students or 30 years old and under: 20$
has an MA in Film Studies and works in contemporary dance. His fiction has appeared in Headlight Anthology, Cactus Heart, and Birkensnake.
s.verstricht [at] gmail [dot] com