Katerina Andreou: BSTRD/Christian Rizzo: une maison review – a feat of endurance and desultory dramatics | Dance

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Minimalism has many guises. If the opening of the Dance Reflections season had featured the cleanest of compositions in Lucinda Childs’ 1979 Dance, Katerina Andreou’s BSTRD (2018) is a down-and-dirty feat of endurance, throbbing with a force at once vital and oppressive. Lights flare aggressively behind a raised platform. Andreou, determinedly casual in T-shirt, trousers and trainers, places a record on a turntable. It plays a hammering pulse, nail-like beats and a skull-drilling drone, all on a primordial four-count rhythm that keeps its stranglehold on the piece throughout.

Part clubber, part folk dancer, always a slave to the rhythm, Andreou jogs, bops, bounces, jiggles and sidesteps, first straight-on, then side-on, then round the edges, each rudimentary step combo repeated right, then left, then right, then left.

Sameness highlights moments of difference. She takes off her T-shirt. There’s an identical one beneath. She escapes from the platform, then returns to it. She flips the record. The B-side plays the same rhythm. There’s one big, nonreversible change: the end. Andreou exits, leaving chalky clouds and soothing piano chords hanging in the air. The physical and mental relief is palpable. Worth it?

Dispersed in billowing spadefuls … Christian Rizzo’s une maison.
Dispersed in billowing spadefuls … Christian Rizzo’s une maison. Photograph: Marc Domage

Still, it’s clear that Andreou is in pursuit of a path and a purpose. Christian Rizzo’s une maison (2019) follows a far more desultory, dreamlike dramaturgy. A mysterious white-masked man opens the set and mythic apparitions emerge several times: totemic celebrants in animal-head masks, figures towering in long conical hats, a ghost draped in white. Above the stage hangs an irregular lattice of strip lights, which flicker and glow like neurons in some artificial brain. Below, a pyramid of earth is dispersed in billowing spadefuls, and pairs of people ritually upend buckets of soil, raked over by the cone-heads.

As the soundtrack veers from squeaks and crackles to booming beats, and back again, the 14-strong cast draw from a common repertoire of moves: low lunge, seated pike, shoulder stand, hand-holds, head-pushes. This imparts a loose coherence to the disparate group, which tightens at the end into a chain dance, in those animal masks, like a unified tribe. A dreamworld may need no sense of direction, but this journey has been, and felt like, a very rambling trip.

Dance Reflections festival continues until 23 March.



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