Reflex - Marek Douša 6. dubna 2018 - 15:50
I don't know anything about Taoism, yet the performance, which was inspired by Taoism, absorbed me, devoured me and at the end spat me out into the northern Czech town of Liberec, completely broken into its individual parts and left me thinking about life and the world differently. Perhaps better.
(S)creation, as this work is called, was created for the (international) ballet company of the F.X. Shalda, but it is not a ballet, although we do see ballet jumps and lifts and all sorts of other dancers' and dancers' instruments. What we have here is a complex stage form, the framework of which is the aforementioned Taoism, its principles and the elements on which it is based. That is: water, wood, fire, earth and metal. And the five human emotions with which they are associated: fear, anger, joy, gloom and sorrow. When it comes to the elements, it's pretty innocent and non-specific, but with emotions it's much more pointed; one joy to outnumber four other unjoyful emotions is a lot of weight to carry.
Choreographer, director and head of the ballet company Alena Pešková has created a strong team to work on (S)creation. Gabriela Vermelho took care of the music, drummers from the Aries ensemble from Liberec are present on stage, the set was designed by Richard Pešek Jr.
The story we are told in Liberec may stick as chapters to the emotions that have already been discussed, the details are up to the imagination and experience of each viewer, but it is certainly a clear narrative that doesn't confuse us with unnecessary digressions and that doesn't confuse us on the way to the end where we have a chance to breathe a little.
Life is not a mess, it tells (S)creation, the end is in sight and it is there. If you don't want to live like this, that's your business. Try it.
The dancers' performances are impressive, they certainly don't just dance, but also play (and we can hear them singing!), they are precise in their expression and uncompromising in their commitment, all underlined by the music, which cannot be spoken of as a mere accompaniment. The rhythm is set by the drummers from Aries and they don't let us breathe a sigh of relief, the composition also includes all sorts of Japanese musical instruments that are supposed to evoke the atmosphere of the Orient, but, to tell the truth, I didn't quite perceive exactly what was playing. I didn't have the capacity for it; the action on stage rushes forward at a sharp pace and doesn't let you breathe.
The setting is purposeful and variable, we don't know where we are (the filmmakers talk about several possibilities: an abandoned factory, an abandoned theatre, a refugee camp...), but we know that things are happening here as they do anywhere else. Only they are illuminated in a harsh light, and they affect everyone. Wherever they live.
All in all, we are privileged to see a real theatre that urgently attacks the audience with its rawness and truth, a performance that is not dominated by an isolated component, which is compact but woven together from many strings into a tight rope.
For fans of the genre, a visit to Liberec is a clear must, for those who think that ballet is still happening among the swans on the pond, a chance to see that it really isn't anymore.