Uplifted and leveraged
Guy Nader’s and Maria Campos‘ „Set of Sets“ meets the audience with complaisance at the schrit_tmacher festival in Kerkrade.
review by Rico Stehfest
translated by Karoline Strys
The soft lighting, the color-reduced, really simple costumes in black, gray and a broken blue-green, plus the quiet stage with a white semicircle in the background as a conclusion, all this is already a neat cuddly atmosphere, quite cozy. In this relaxedness it is going well, you could say: In a circular movement, one performer measures the space, more and more performers join in until they all go their own ways again at once. In the process, such delightful patterns and repeated encounters emerge that one could almost forget that everyone is just walking in a circle. There is no need for background music. The sound of the feet on the floor creates its own rhythm.
This silent walk soon undergoes variations in which the circles change in dimensions. There is something physical about this, a demonstration of relating. Miguel Marín acts in the background on a set of electronic sound tools and an actual drum set. Is his the „set of sets“? He first makes the atmosphere crackle, in which the centrifugal forces on stage make the performers circle around each other ever faster and ever tighter, like elementary particles. And everything in a pointed out upright mode. Until the complexity emerges from the rigidity of the vertical – the work of the Lebanese-Spanish choreographer duo takes its time.
Gehoben und gehebelt
Guy Nader und Maria Campos‘ „Set of Sets“
Elements from Breaking then quickly emerge, appearing again and again. The seven performers are repeatedly broken down into smaller units with expressive creativity; there are sensitive duos in which women are very up-to-date also allowed to lift figures. These, however, seem to be a copy paste from figure skating lifts. Thus, there is a special emphasis on the effect and the exhibition of the images. There is no lack of creativity, yet in artistic expression. There is no trace of complexity. Complaisance is not forbidden, yet it is not very pleasing when the necessary body tension is missing. During rotations around one’s own axis, the outstretched arms do not even reach shoulder height. Nobody seems to have hands in such moments. After individual sequences, the performers fall out of character again and again. This seems unprofessional and untypical for dancers. The freezing in body assemblages provides nothing more than optical entertainment, mere effect with no discernible purpose. Conceptually, there seems to be something behind the work that the choreography itself cannot redeem. The creativity remains arbitrary and turns the work into pure elevator choreography, no matter how acrobatic the approach.
The audience in Kerkrade could not remain on their seats for the final applause. Target group reached, job done?