Score #44 or Score #00??
In the past two weeks, the Ponec Theatre has hosted two premieres. The first one - Progres – choreographed by Dora Hoštová, looks ironically at the creation of a contemporary dance performance. And it is the new project of the DOT504 company, Score #44. Methods of excavation, created by Thomas Steyaert, which could serve as its model piece. It is a classic example of self-absorbed art, a dance laboratory that does not consider the presence of an audience.
The duet of David Sportelli and Justyna Kalbarczyk is a study. With blank gazes, the two dancers explore movement variations in slow motion. Most of the time they dance without any contact, as if each of them performed a solo focused on challenging the limits of their own bodies. Now and then they make fast circles with their arms, they let their bodies freeze, they search the space with their hands, or they just slow down, speed up or multiply their moves. However, they do not create any constant movement quality that would seem definite or final. They get stuck in the process of exploring. Rarely, the two dancers seem to be connected, but their bond is very cold indeed. They lean against each other’s head or they hold hands and counterbalance, as if they just explored the physical material over and over, they are totally alienated, without emotions. There is probably a key to their improvisation. The audience never finds it anyway – nothing they need to be ashamed of. After all, even high-quality jazz jam is an improvised, yet masterful play of tones. Score #44 did not even manage to set the atmosphere.
The scenography is minimalist, consisting of a solitary light cube, hanging from the ceiling. The alternative-style music score is full of noises, gratings, sounds of a drill, cymbals, piano music and jazz compositions or melodies. The costumes resemble training clothing – sweatpants, T-shirt and sweatshirt. And the performance does look like a training. For nearly an hour, we are to watch some raw movement material of which maybe one tenth could be used in the final choreography.
Watching such a piece, I must pose a question: What is the meaning of art that makes the spectator feel like the fifth wheel? It would seem fairer if the dancers let the spectator join them. Maybe he would experience the same deep insight as they do…
Written from the premiere held on 12 March 2019 at the Ponec Theatre.
Score #44. Methods of excavation
Concept, choreography: Thomas Steyaert
Performers: DOT504 – Davide Sportelli, Justyna Kalbarczyk
Music: Raul Maia, Thomas Steyaert
Light design: Martin Hamouz
Sound: Tomáš Novotný
Premiere: 12 March 2019