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De Keersemaeker's 'Song' is philosophy for the senses, straight from the heart #hf10

 By Maarten Baanders (photo by Herman Sorgeloos)

Where were we? In the previous performance, Keeping Still, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker gave us an empty space as the final image. Now we walk into the Music Theatre auditorium for part 2 of the triptych, The Song, and once again an explicitly bare stage stretches before us.

The hall light is still on when a man walks onto the stage. The man walks around some more and starts dancing. It is a simple way of drawing the audience into the choreography. Gone is the threshold between stage and hall. We are all part of the performance. Later, the auditorium lights go out as before, but the effect remains.

The dance is musicless, but moving without sound is impossible. Especially not when it involves a group of dancers and not, as in Keeping still, just one dancer. The group swarms across the stage. Waves of footsteps fill the space. As a man dances barefoot, sound artist Céline Bernard comes up to synchronise his steps by tapping the floor with a shoe. It's a funny effect, but also a nice way to sharpen the senses. Here, dance makes music, and not the other way around, even if at some point beautifully pure Beatles songs sound over the PA.

The Song is philosophy for the senses, but fortunately we are not just presented with philosophical trials and proofs. The dance is beautiful, varied and often seems to well up on the spot. At the end, there is a huge stillness. A streak of light travels from the stage via the ceiling to the audience.

After loud applause, the room empties. What remains of the concentration this time? The corridors fill with chatter. It sounds very loud. Or does it just seem that way because of the contrast with the silence of a moment ago?

Rosas, The Song. Choreography: Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. Stage design: Ann Veronica Janssens and Michel François. Seen: 6 June, Muziektheater, Amsterdam

The final part of the triptych: 3Abschied, 12 and 13 June at Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.

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Maarten Baanders

Free-lance arts journalist Leidsch Dagblad. Until June 2012 employee Marketing and PR at the LAKtheater in Leiden.View Author posts

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