Today is Friday and I am a duck. Is that a pod hotel?
I am not averse to an incredibly nice hotel. The Easy Hotel however is an incredibly horrible hotel but at an incredibly appealing price. The £5 a night opening offer was certainly impressive; the fact there was no window was not. I’ve never really gone in for horror films. I even walked out of The Others halfway though because I was so scared. Since crisps sandwiches and hammer house of horrors with my mum, I’ve not really done scary. That is until the hammer horror house of Easyjet / hotel. Plasticky pod n’ bright orange, it was if the inside of an Easyjet plane had morphed into a tupperware box just big enough to hold a human being. The nights have been a nightmare, literally.
So, in my dream last night, (yes here we go) there is a girl with whom I am in love (even though in waking life I’m not gay). Anyway, I kill her and chop her up into pieces, and then put her in plastic bags with the fourteen others. Then I try and stick them back together. This doesn’t work out so well, so I need to hide them, and as I am doing so, here is the girl I love again, who now looks fine actually, only now she has a different hair style. She appears to have forgiven me. Or has she? No she hasn’t, so here we go again with more endless running through blackened woods; a clever endlessly inches from my head – such is love. Throughout the whole night and and oddly through our whole lives (they say dreams last 2 minutes, they are wrong) – we keep meeting and every time we do so she has a new hairstyle which is nice – yet her spiritual disarray dismays and I set out to save her across time. Eventually some sort of addiction of unknown origin gets her, I think, and she stays too long in a the land of nothing from which she cannot escape.
Well thank God for the end of this particular night for both you and I 😉 I note with certain sigh that I am booked in for another six nights soon. All I can say is, be careful when you google pod hotels.
The reason I am writing this is that I had an idea for a different kind of hotel for anyone out there with a few million knocking about. How about you just buy a whole terrace of run down Georgian houses, the ones with lots of floors. Somewhere maybe out of London, unless you are a drugs lord, a lord or perhaps from abroad. And then, make a magic hotel. Each house can be a different era. Then you can hire actors as staff. (Only they have to be able to do the work as well). Each hotel can be from a different time. You can go to 1880, 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, 2000 with maybe an Easy Hotel as sponsor and a thus happy horror finale on the end.
Guests can hire clothes from each era on arrival and the staff can speak in Olde English etc and display the manners according to that time. And each house can have the games and parties of the era too. There could be croquet in the garden for the 1920s and Downton Abbey Dancing in the drawing room. It could even be all kinkily sexist with enforced knitting for the ladies circa 1900. And then of course, at the end, we can all return to 2014 and with the knowledge that it is indeed possible to be a female choreographer and live happily ever after.
A toast then: to dreaming nightmares back into dreams and making them come true.
Four people enter and undress, stand nude, face each other and begin. Each couple dance as close as fucking, their nakedness speaking frankly; pushing, pulling, arms, legs torsos no longer split up by words or society’s constructs. There’s a visceral joy in the leaping of bodies tumbling and falling into each other with such repetitive thrust; each movement living all variables before letting itself move on. There’s no artifice of finely constructed choreography here and it’s startlingly fresh. Finally the dancers break apart, dancing their half-remembered duets alone before lying down drenched in breath and sweat. At the end each one stands and dresses. They look at us as we look back. And we all know that something extraordinary has happened here.
Clement Danzin. Bruit de couloir
Clement Dazin’s Bruit de couloir is about near death – not the final darkness, but the heightened, crystalline moments people might experience just before. Dazin moves in liquid lines – slow-motion, scalpel-speed – all the while juggling. Small illuminated balls glow white within a cavernous darkness, while his extremities are picked out in splices by Freddy Bonneau’s lighting design; his performance is further enhanced by Gregory Adoir’s mysterious, multi-layered sound score. It’s a beautiful shock to see this much skill pushing what is possible within the form. By the end I wished that of all those I love/d were sitting all around me, sharing in this shadowy wonderland of melted time and moments so fully lived.
Ramona Nahabczynski, Poland. New (Dis)Order. Trio In this pumping homage to rock music and friendship one man and two women set out to share with us the music they love via an ever-pulsating sway of hips, torsos and heads, hair flying out horizontally to the beat until they themselves become it. Honest and strangely vulnerable, dancing out front,and unadorned by steps, their camaraderie is evident both in their play-fighting and in the dance’s last passage, where they hold onto each other by hands or fistfuls of clothes. Flailing, falling, running, never letting go,no matter what, no matter how dangerous. And it is dangerous. They’ve given everything. To each other and to us. To my surprise I notice that I’m crying.
Harry Koushos, Greece. Man 11 – duet One man stands almost naked in a small arena formed by four neon lights. He begins to move; sliding and shifting through different planes, negotiating the space and himself within it. HIs body almost waxy in the dimmed lights is unadorned, trying to find a sense of the self; of belonging; a place of clear conscience. Suddenly from behind, an almost identical man appears in a deep yellow national costume, crushing him like some spidery mythological force. The neon lights are being pulled into a path and the original dancer now wearing traditional costume too begins the slow walk of no choice. In this search for truth, both political and personal, there’s great integrity. it matters immensely to him and so to us as well.
Elle Sofe Improvisation
A woman enters dressed in modern black clothes and traditional molekskin shoes;lies down on fake grass and becomes the land. Wind, bells and voices fill the air. In her undulations, is a sense of the ancient; in her momentum, the mythological. With her hair hanging down around her and her breathing like a lost yeti, her eyes remain unafraid. She is joined by a another woman singing mesmerising Sami songs in this perfectly paced and considered short work. Accompanying them both by now are the audience tapping cushions. This circle all connected and transported within five short minutes. Some people do not get a cushion and look bereft. How simple the action to make us all feel as one. Loved it.
Umea: 2014 / Questions
What do we want from performance and why are we here?
What are our individual histories, and how do these affect our taste?
And what do we all want from dance?
Why are there so few actual steps nowadays, and is this a good thing?
Or is dance going the way of conceptual art?
Why do so few people use music now?
With so many techniques and styles being integrated, are we in the middle of a dance revolution?
Are rigour, precision and skill still important?
And why, within dance, is large-scale work given more gravitas than small?
How did nudity become such an innovation in Hodworks?
How did I know Dawn was my favourite piece already even though the festival had hardly started?
Was Nora Elberfeld’s triangular trio the only time I ever saw an audience so bored they started talking amongst themselves?
Are we the sum of what our minds allow us to be?
What do we ask of performance, and do we need answers?
Do we know enough to judge?
Is performance a conversation?
How affected are we by the opinions of others?
Why is the opposite opinion to one’s own so interesting?
Are we too scared to sit in circles and have open discussions of the work, or is that wrong in this context?
How do I listen to a performance?
Am I open to it and, if not, why not?
Must I be entertained to connect with what I’m watching?
What is the gap between understanding and innovation?
When, as I quite often thought, will this performance end?
To the artists, does your show matter?
If this were to be the last piece you ever made, would it really matter?
How can Aerowaves become as much for the general public as for programmers?
How can we, as dance writers, preview as well as review?
Can we have a zine attached to the festival with background on the companies and artists?
How can all theatres get a sound system as fabulous as the one at NorrlandsOperan?
Do ten shows in a day in some way become a ten-act work?
How did we survive watching almost 25 shows over a single weekend?
How did Aerowaves find so many of us such a fabulous hotel (Winn)?
How did this writing experience for Springback change me?
Have I leaned to temper my reactions to dance?
Is it possible to love a piece, but only in retrospect and not whilst there?
Dig my Jockey had a great title but did it do justice to S&M?
Did Skin Me show that not everything needs a reason?
How did Out of the Grey’s new cast member learn his role in just two days?
Will I ever get One Final Evolutionary Note out of my head?
Will I, in fact, end up being Aoife McAtamney’s dramaturg in Berlin?
Will my new friend Jochen Stechmann who made me laugh so much become, one day, an old friend?
I hope so.