ME-SA, o.s., a new dance ensemble, is gradually establishing itself on the dance scene. The collaboration initiated in the performance Angels and Demons with Korean choreographer Ji-Eun Lee now continues in another project. This time it is a site-specific performance titled Echoes.
Echoes of places and spaces. Echoes of memories and feelings. A performance project loosely inspired by American author Sylvia Plath. Issues of femininity, purpose in life, search for one’s identity and one’s place in society, these are the themes which the choreography works on in its own way. The three characters, conceived in a very abstract way, are a bit confusing from the very beginning, but their characterization, be it by movement or by the scenic features used (cherries, hairs, dust) is viable. Highly original costumes act together with the dancers; they are fully used precisely in each moment and in a given place. The dancers accompany the audience through this space a little chaotically, and the space is being worked with as its properties allow. The overall context of it all, however, remains somewhat hidden.
Echoes, nevertheless, has many positive aspects. One of the greatest assets is its live music accompaniment. Gabriela Vermelho (Hungary) is an incredibly renaissancesque musician and singer with a very captivating voice. Her music is dream-like and aggressive at the same time, and she captures the audience completely. She has a feel for the dynamic, and she supports the dance element of the performance. The dancers themselves (Karolína Párová, Martina Lacová, Hana Kalousková) as excellent interpreters are notable for their mature dance vocabulary, but the motivation of their movement is not quite in the forefront. The setting in the unconventional place forms by itself the content of the performance, which is undoubtedly very interesting, but which does not exceed the average standard. The premiere, which took place on May 25th 2009 in the synagogue in Palmovka, did bring life to this almost forgotten site, but has not made full use of its genius loci. Nevertheless, this is what makes the project so variable and enables its transfer to any setting. Tonda Šilar’s scenography would then only need to be adjusted to given conditions. The form which is not fixed to a specific place also gives the option of shortening the choreography without losing continuity. Echoes certainly is a good project of a young dance ensemble. It shows a great deal of honest work, but at the same time also certain immaturity regarding dramaturgy and direction. Nonetheless, the potential is there.