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all in the choreography

erin brannigan applauds emio greco


CHOREOGRAPHER/DANCER EMIO GRECO AND DIRECTOR/DRAMATURG PIETER C SCHOLTEN HAVE A CREATIVE CHARTER THAT LOOKS TO THE BODY AS THE PRIMARY SOURCE FOR DRAMATURGICAL CONTENT. DOUBLE POINTS: ONE & TWO IN THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE’S ADVENTURES IN THE DARK PROGRAM WAS INDEED AN EXCITING EXAMPLE OF DANCING BODIES TAKING CENTRESTAGE, AND IT WAS SURPRISINGLY NOVEL TO SEE A MAJOR DANCE PERFORMANCE IN SYDNEY THAT CONCENTRATED ITS FOCUS ON CHOREOGRAPHY. MINIMAL DESIGN ELEMENTS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF STRIKING SCORES AND KNOCK OUT LIGHTING DESIGN, PROVIDED JUST THE RIGHT SUPPORT FOR GRECO’S SOLO AND A DUET BY SUZAN TUNCA AND VINCENT COLOMES.
Emio Greco, Double Points: One Emio Greco, Double Points: One
photo courtesy Sydney Opera House
The medium-sized stage space of the Playhouse, with wings open, was modelled by light and finely articulated dance, the direct address of the performance fiercely established by the first solo. Greco appears upstage at the end of a corridor of light, like a straight stretch of highway connecting dancer and audience. The pathway is marked off with white lines so that the dancer’s movement outside this, when it inevitably comes, is somehow shocking as if he is moving into a void. Pools of light travel down the corridor to Greco who plays with the light, thrusting an arm to be seen.

The score, Ravel’s Bolero, doubles the visual thrust of the stage design. Greco’s slow build is hypnotic, the slithering and contained movement centring in the pelvis then with ballet arms and legs that can’t quite find the position, deep and somehow threatening second plies and rushes forward to the audience. I can’t help recalling Sylvie Guillem’s ridiculous performance to the same score at another Sydney festival with choreography by Maurice Bejart and the Australian Ballet male corps circling the ballerina high on a rostrum and thrusting their pelvises to the beat. The sexual intensity of Greco’s performance is both central and undermined; the end of the Bolero score is suspended as silence interrupts the climax and the sound of violent fireworks fills the space.

After the final, delayed notes of Bolero, Greco leaves the light to sit on a chair in a dark corner and Tunca enters at the back, loitering, facing upstage and off-centre. A sumptuous amber swimming pool of light forms, shifting and pulsing in dramatic contrast with the formal and ‘masculine’ lighting of the first state, the hard corridor rippling up and down the stage. The lighting prepares the space for a complete change in choreographic mood. Tunca balances on one leg, shifting the other around in the air. Greco cuts wildly across the stage, ‘upstaging’ her in the most blatant way, then leaves. Another male dancer, Colomes, enters and the duet begins.

The two dancers move together with the precision of birds in flight and this metaphor is cemented by bird-like gestures and calls in the score. The twitching, erratic, intimate movements shift into frenetic phrasing or mad spectacles—arms swinging around like synchronised motors. Then they seem suspended together downstage, as if the air has been sucked up and out of them. But there is constant movement in any of these states and the unison is breathtaking given the general fever pitch of their delivery and the physical differences between the two (Tunca towers over Colomes).

These works are some eight years old and yet seem so incredibly fresh, combining an intensely passionate delivery with wonderfully precise form. It has been a long time since I have seen a dance performance conjure such a rich world of invisible desires, forces and impulses, with so few exterior cues and such genuine physical bravado. Here’s hoping the Adventures in the Dark in dance continue.


Emio Greco | PC, Double Points: One & Two, choreography, direction, lighting, set and sound concept Emio Greco and Pieter C Scholten, dancers Emio Greco, Suzan Tunca, Vincent Colomes; Playhouse, Sydney Opera House Nov 21-Dec 2, 2006 www.emiogrecopc.nl/public

RealTime issue #77 Feb-March 2007 pg. 37

© Erin Brannigan; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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