Solo for Two, Osipova and Vasiliev, London Coliseum, August 2014.Posted on 7 August 2014
Want to know the back story for Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle? In Facada, the final item of this triple bill, choreographer Arthur Pita shows a bride having been jilted at the altar finally destroying her man and dancing on his grave.
This merciless ending is a fitting one to an evening that starts with a violent confrontation between two lovers in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Mercy. After the physical violence of their battle has run its course, the lighting warms and she forgives her soul mate. In the meantime she has turned the tables on him, and the baroque songs by Heinrich Schütz and Johann Hermann Schein conducted by Françoise Lasserre help express his agony in the wonderful singing of counter-tenor Paulin Bündgren, before the final Hindu raga that indicates the anticipation of love.
Expressions of violence and emotion are stripped away in the second item of the evening, Passo by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv. Music by Autechre combines electronic sounds with traditional folk music that includes Greensleeves and turns in the end to what sounds like an Irish jig. There is something otherworldly about the earlier part of this work, as if he and she are progenitors of a new race, but unlike the first and third items, there is no obvious story. Yet it clears the air before the bleak but entertaining finale.
Pita’s Facada, with excellent designs by Jean-Mark Puissant, starts with a bride and groom coming together before he screams and runs from her. Like Alice in Wonderland her tears flow so much she could drown in them, and here they are used for watering flowers. This is done by a woman in a black dress, elegantly played by Elizabeth McGorian, who gives the audience knowing glances as she moves across the stage.
On the return of the groom their pas-de-deux, very much controlled by the jilted bride, leads to his final struggle before he falls dead … bewitched. The title Facada is a Portuguese word meaning ‘stab’ or ‘thrust’, though a dagger thrust into the plant pots is a metaphor rather than a weapon. Wonderful music by Frank Moon playing delightful Portuguese Fado.
This triple bill, which has already been seen in Los Angeles, Moscow and St. Petersburg, is of course designed for the remarkable duo of Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. Their daring energy, superb control and physical fluidity gives a marvellous vividness to these modern dance works, and the three together form an arc that makes this an evening not to be missed.
Performances continue on August 7, 8, 9 — for details click here.