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San (Beyond)/Stances II

Published Wednesday 26 October 2005 at 17:05 by Katie Phillips

Opening with a slow, stark and not particularly cheerful solo, Rita Quaglia is Catherine Diverres’ constructed creature of internal angst. Ticking the American post-modern box - think right angled limbs, floor-length lycra dress, severe contractions of the solar plexus - Quaglia’s movements are as sharp and staccato as the plinks and plonks of the modern piano score, hiccupping its way through the timing of the piece.

Drawing on the Butoh style and with her face in the shadows, she moves to an Italian reading of the poem La Terra di Lavoro by Pier Paolo Pasolini, dithering between an internal prayer and pretentious physical dialogue.

With her shoulders sagging, she tiptoes around, falling into deep plies like a sigh and hitting sudden gestures or opening her arms wide, as if to embrace the rain depicted in the poem. Hunching like a snail, she is tiny and fragile on the vast stage.

If Stances II was abstract, San (Beyond) is the pinnacle of surreal. Don your black beret and think Marcel Marceau on LSD before you attempt to read this piece for three black clad men and a lady in red. A huge silver sphere rolls around the centre point of the stage. Throughout the performance the sphere will lift, swing in circular motion and fall again, returning to small circles on the stage.

The three dancers perform random movements in “homage to German abstract artist Oskar Schlemmer, master of Bauhaus” - a German arts practice relying heavily on design. While it is easy to recognise the spherical and angular images of his paintings, this piece leaves me guessing as to the significance of the rest of the work.

Production information

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, October 18-19

Catherine Diverres
Centre Choreographique National de Rennes et Bretagne, Theatre Romain Rolland de Villejuif, Theatre National de Bretagne
Rita Quaglia
Running time:
1hr 20mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014