Under the direction of choreographer and dramaturg duo, Banse & Ouwens, four performers – three dancers and a musician – put forth an off-kilter, imagined, fragile world in which the performers take turns testing their faith in each other, physics, and nature. The deeper I go commences with the dancers in a huddle, shaking uncontrollably, an act that appears more menacing than usual somatic dance practices on account of psychedelic, hybrid animal masks concealing their identities. Various constellations are experimented with, for example, a dancer bumps about apathetically like a pin ball, or violently tugs at their neighbour’s arm. Stefan Kirchhoff’s pounding electronic soundscape reflects the frustration and exasperation expressed through the choreographic element of these opening moments. As the sound subdues the performers are left breathless and croaking, only to be resurrected without their animal masks, thus revealing a perplexed, enquiring gaze, and a movement quality transposed from a vertigo patient.
The Ballett Dortmund continues to raise its artistic profile by riding on the coattails of international dance personalities. Whether playing host to international ballet galas or engaging choreographer Benjamin Millepied – whose market value has rocketed since he met Natalie Portman – the company is keen to shake off any hint of its provincial roots. Alas, as I overheard one guest remark with regard to the French choreographer, “What’s in a name? I wouldn’t necessarily look any better if I threw on a Dior suit!” And indeed, a public profile is no guarantee of quality, despite facilitating a successful marketing campaign. It’s a clever strategy, although on this occasion it didn’t result in a presentation representative of the world’s cultural centres. Continue reading Der Nussknacker – Benjamin Millepied (Ballett Dortmund)