Hillary Blake Firestone, Duivelsdansen

Went to see the three choreographies written for three Duivelsdansen of Simeon ten Holt at the Oude Kerk. I did not go to hear the music of Ten Holt. I will gladly admit that his music has its own value and its own signature – but I experience it as high culture kitsch. I went there because F. has worked together with Hillary Blake Firestone – one of the 3 choreographers/dancers.

I didn’t like much of the dance either. The first dancer moved very beautifully but ran out of ideas after five minutes, the rest was fragmentary and overly dramatic. The last piece was even worse. It was full of moments were I imagined myself as a teacher asking the aspiring student “why didn’t you go for this, why didn’t you explore that, try to be more radical, dare to be minimal.” It was utterly boring, stupidly dramatic, and well, a sort of good taste amateur theatre, only better performed and with a much more expensive decor. And then there was this superfluous gimmick of the grand piano slowly making its way through the space…

Hillary Blake Firestone’s piece saved the night. She used gaffer tape (an idea she “stole” from F. – who used tape extensively for the decor in Hillary’s Featherweight). She demarcated the space, she dared to be playful and she dared to be minimal. Her physical dance – in which she referred to the body movements of track atlethics – grabbed the attention, and what’s more, through her dance she made me realize how Ten Holt also refers to stride piano in his work. (Which made me a more sympathetic towards the music).

When you want to make a choreography for Ten Holt, you have, I think, two choices: be just as minimal as the music (wear yourself out, as a dancer, doing the same thing over and over again), or completely go against it. The other two dancers didn’t do either and just brought some unbearable ‘drama’ to ‘kitschy’ music, in a beautiful church. Hillary dared to do something different and dared to be minimal – as long as she did that, it was utterly convincing.

en,free publicity,music | July 2, 2007 | 13:57 | comments (1) |

1 Comment

  1. I saw the performance some time ago and I had exact the same view. Ik was pure kitsch. Only the tape-piece woke me for some time out of creative boredom

    comment by niemsz | 8 July 2007 | 8:30 |

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