Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker & Pavel Kolesnikov/Rosas/the Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Sadlers Wells 6-7 September


Belgian choreographer Teresa De Keersmaeker has created a challenging solo evening with a triangular form.  She shares the bare stage with a grand piano and Siberian-born pianist Pavel Kolesnikov.  if there is a central concept it is certainly that less is more.

Upstage left is a bright oblong window of silver: downstage right is a heap of golden aluminium threads.  De Keersmaker changes costumes from back to white and ends in salmon pink.  Her dance vocabulary travels from an internalised, isolationist language to a playful, sometimes vaudevillian encounter with the audience.

De Keersmaeker delights in presenting angular, and sometimes self-mocking, images as she plays with balance, speed, silence, space and stage geometry.  The overall effect is a visual purity punctuated by the recurring motif of the raised arm and the hand lifting to the sky.

As for Bach, she is in conversation with the composer in such a fresh way that there is a continual probing of musical composition and its relationship to her dance.  The cumulative effect over two hours is both rigorous and ascetic.

If the stage visuals are monochromatic the effect of the long solo dance, and the symbiosis with Kolesnikov’s delicate performance, stimulates a multitude of responses: intellectual, philosophical, and aesthetic.

Or perhaps the work needs no reading at all: it can be experienced just as pure pleasure.

Julia Pascal © 2022.