De Keersmaeker’s Partita 2

Charmatz and De Keersmaeker in Partita 2, Beyer partly hidden, photo by Herman Sorgeloos

Charmatz and De Keersmaeker in Partita 2, Beyer partly hidden, photo by Herman Sorgeloos

A violinist plays Bach’s second Partita on a stage that’s completely dark except for a crack of light. She leaves the stage. Silence. Two dancers break open the crack of light and start running in an arc; they are the mature Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and the youngish Boris Charmatz. Wearing athletic shoes, they dash, jump, drag each other down, or allow a moment of playfulness. Sometimes their dancing looks like a game of tag; other times they are tethered to each other, feeling each other’s weight and age, as one circumscribes a big wheel shape on the floor. There’s a driving energy, a determination to get through all their cycles of the movement material, and yet there’s plenty of air too. To watch the shifts from restraint to arduousness becomes engaging. Catching the echoes of past movement phrases is another pleasure. The difference in age and gender serves as a point of contemplation.

When violinist Amandine Beyer returns, seeing/hearing all three interact suddenly fills one’s senses. We’ve witnessed something spare and near-nothing grow to something incredibly satisfying.

De Keersmaeker and Charmatz, photo by Anne Van Aerschot

De Keersmaeker and Charmatz, photo by Anne Van Aerschot

This is non-narrative dance at its best. It’s where the radiance of pure dance and pure Bach intersect. Partita 2 (which I saw at Sadler’s Wells in London last spring), is part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, Oct. 29–30. Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College. Click here for tickets.

 

 

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