Magazine article Dance Magazine

Compagnie Maguy Marin

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Compagnie Maguy Marin

Article excerpt

SEPTEMBER 19-30, 1995 JOYCE THEATER REVIEWED BY CAMILLE HARDY

Maguy Marin's Gallic concern for the human condition--with liberal inspiration from such thinkers as Descartes, Rousseau and Spinoza--can cause viewers to miss much of the playfulness inherent in her choreography. While the indifference of fate and the rigor of the human condition are very much at the core of Waterzooi (given its New York premiere during this season), whimsy, innocence and pure flights of fantasy are integral to the dance, which takes its title from the name of a Belgian dish "halfway between a soup and a stew."

Blending text, movement and music, Waterzooi is structured around a catalogue of emotions. With academic detachment, Christiane Glik recites excerpts from Descartes's philosophical treatise The Passions of the Soul. At the opposite extreme intellectually is Denis Mariotte's charming score, much of which is played live by the dancers on such instruments as vibraphones, harmonicas, xylophones, and toy pianos, in a powerful metaphor for the serious, sometimes sinister application of innocent pursuits.

Marin explores this image most potently in a sequence where the dancers wear papier miche masks: The soloist sports a sweet, moonfaced grin, like the heroine of Bertolt Brecht's play The Good Person of Szechuan while her cohorts wear the generic guises of animals. Gamboling through a sequence dappled by Eloi Garcia's beautiful lighting, the dancers transport us to the dawn of time, when worship and play, hunger and satiety, life and death, were experienced as a seamless whole. Chairs placed visibly in the wings, where performers sit while waiting for their cues, extend this concept, so that both off- and onstage also appear as one.

Far less chaste are other sections. Preciosa Gil and Thierry Partaud have a thrashingly ambivalent, yet totally erotic, duet. Cathy Polo personifies guilt and confesses to murder as demanded by Isabelle Missal. The subsequent repetition of phrases by a group of men tramping in rigid patterns leaves the implication of genocide. Marin's brutality has a cartoonish ferocity that can be darkly humorous, painful or transcendent. …

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