B Motion festival – day 1

(part of OPERAESTATE Festival Veneto)

Performances from Wednesday 26th August from the diary of Lara Platman B Motion Blog

Everything that happens here, happens here today: Day one –Today we are ourselves,


In a delightfully grand room,but rather small for a dance theatre, of the Palazzon Agostinelli off the Piazza de Garibaldi, Tibia Martin and Lucy Cash perform part improvised part rehearsed recollections of their earlier  lives, their family and grandparents, sharing thoughts and photographs.

Tabia, the louder or rather more prominent of the two, comes from Switzerland and has a cheeky essence to her piece.  Always consistent with understanding the needs of her partner, she travels across the stage well, relating to two audiences, one on the left and one on then right, whilst Lucy, the quieter of the two likewise travels well, but you have to listen hard for Lucy and then you receive the thump. her take on life is slightly more… not jaded, but less whimsical and perhaps slightly more realistic compared to Tabea’s dreamy thoughts and remembrances.

There was only a small essence of movement in this, but I don’t think that it called for more. The two girls were animated and utilised the international audience. A small amount of Graham technique was explained and shown, through Tabea’s recollection of her first dance class and a handstand emphasised by Lucy’s father in a photograph, prompted Lucy to do some handstands and cartwheels… just spots of remembering.

The piece was timed by an audience member for 20 minutes and then at the end of the twenty minutes, where the piece is at the audience member had to shout ‘Fini’ and she did and it ended at the perfect spot, just after a recollection with a song by Elvis Costello.

A lovely beginning to this aperitif piece.


Following a short evening gap, the second of this evenings performances began with Giuliana Urciuoli from Italy, with a piece called ‘Ex’. A compelling organism slowly moves in the distance, with powerful lighting and intriguing sound, we are transfixed on how this creature moves. Her transformation into a spider/insect/beast allows us to really look at the muscle structure of the human body. At one point, this creature moved backwards upstage as a spider like form, along with the use of lighting, it became completely as if it had always been that creature.

Intense and compelling, Giuliana’s performance was a thorough utility of the body’s investigation through muscle structure and adaptability. Her final extract coming downstage towards the audience we see that she is in fact a human. Clothing was not part of her performance however neither was nudity  however Giuliana got round this issue (with neutral coloured pants and perhaps taped breasts) she did it brilliantly.


The final piece of the evening’s performances was from ‘White Horse’, a troupe from Olanda. Lea Martini, Xavier Fontaine, Chris Leuenberger. ‘Trip’ explores the conscience through experiences of repetitiveness, addiction, group agitation for example. This piece began with slow motion increasing to rapid repeated movements and returned to the slow motion.  Perhaps confusing for the audience as the slow motion did seem to return us to the beginning and therefore some in this Bassano audience had concluded, it was to be the end. however, ‘Trip’ began once again and led us on another journey of agitation and repetition.

Throughout the ‘Trip’ the three performers had their mouths wide open. As wide as humanly possible, without closing them, without gasping for breath and without relaxing at all. not only were their bodies put through the paces, their mouths were too.

For me, I didn’t quite understand the ‘gap’ in the middle nor the quite 5 minutes at the end where they asked the audience if there was anything that anyone wanted to say. It made me feel uncomfortable and edgy. That was however, until this morning, when on a closer reflection and a short chat with Chris and Xavier, I began to understand the philosophy behind their reasoning for their quiet-time.

They told me that the slow motion in the middle was to enhance the rapid movements either side, to aid the knowledge of addiction, to appreciate the movements that were just resolved, the timings of the piece are very important, and the 5 minutes of quiet time, of warm down, of calm, was to pronounce that they are not really making a statement as such, that their actions are just that.

Some heard slightly fascist shouting in the soundtrack, and others remarks from football matches. All in all the soundtrack Was filled with all of things and more. It relates to a trip, of a feeling of high, of ecstasy. We discussed this morning that the audience bring their own history and social conscience to this piece, that the it is very much part of their plan to ensure the audience has some participation in the piece, not necessarily with the obvious verbal or physical actions, but it is their wish to make the audience feel something. To not be passive and perhaps to even make the audience work rather hard.

Sometimes it does take a night’s sleep to begin to understand a dance performance – especially if it is something that you are not used to seeing, or something that you think you may have seen the concept before but the interpretation on different way of presenting it may indeed throw you. Dance is a fabulous tool for searching inside your own soul and for asking questions. I don’t think dance  and dancers begin to say that they have all the answers, but they do at least provide a superb platform for raising the questions.

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