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Nothing lasts for ever, ashes slips through your fingers and life goes with them. Impermanence is a constant in our own lives and we are constantly challenged with a permanent problem: how do we deal with this?

Ashes is a metaphor with biblical and mythical resonances, for something you can't hold on to. Like a phoenix that burns in order to rise again, this apparent negative perspective can hold a positive reverse in which disappearence realises a renewed appearence.

Ashes, the new creation of Les Ballets C de la B coreographed by Koen Augustijnen, is 'about the things people do, or indeed don't do, in order not to loose what they have'; it is 'about the constant duality in everyone's lives, between holding on to something and the necessity or difficulty of letting go'. It is around these tensions that our own body, at a microscale, survives and, at a macro and social scale, our relationships with others and ourselves evolve.

Performed to the sound of Wim Selles' arrangements of the music of the Baroque master Handel and against a grey urban environment conceived by visual artist Jean Bernard Koeman, Ashes survives theatrically through the energy and openness of the melody, in the rythm and harmony of the music (of the baroque instruments involved with the sounds of the more intimate and carnal sound of the marimba and the acordeon). Against the pale shades of grey tones and the cold atmosphere of the street lamp, the dancers leave strokes of colour, with their vivid clothes, the blue of the sky shaking inside a body, the fire of the soul, flaming through the voice off a soprano that invades the room.

Ashes is full of this not-yet moments, when everything seems to become right, when things seem to find their own space and time, they vanish, and the moment and the place are lost again. Full of indecisions, of small miscommunications, little obstacles, the performers are alone in the middle of the crowd, and when alone for real, crowded with all this overload of social patterns that withdraw life from actual life.

It is this game enacted by two of the dancers, a kind of matting ritual, where the female switches between the vien (come) and pas (stop), and the male just ends up in the same place, exhausted, lying on the floor, after swtiching incessantlly between going and staying, between what he really wants and the thing that stops him from getting it. A scene that becomes larger then life, when the female performer leaves the exhausted body behind, and faces the audience, starting the same game with the social mass, that does not respond anymore to the calling, and just sits there looking, as it was really a show what they were seeing.

Ashes is full of these beautiful abstract images, sequences, sounds and feelings, which we can easily materialise in our own minds, moments of our own lifes, desires of our own souls. The dancers from different nationalities and cultures and with distinct approaches to dance and to their own bodies, just enlarged the scope and exponentiated the possibility of reception by the audience. What units them all in this unique performance was their lived appearence, the experience of life that their bodies already entail, the mature performance that could not be found on the everlasting energy of a young body, but rests in the loaded quality of the movement of a body, that is struggling to live, that is struggling to stretch out in order to touch something that we can not name properly. It is the body in the end of the day looking for its lost object.

In the end, we lay together, in the same pace, breathing together, waking up at different times, most of the times not realizing that someone else is falling a sleep at that precise moment, not realizing that in some complex space-time framework, there is someone reflecting our own fear of dying, or better, our fear of living.

Ashes is about all this and it is about blablabla, like one of the dancers almost falling away said when energy seemed to void is body in the air.

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  1. # Blogger mariazinha

    Deve ter sido um espectaculo e peras. Estas coisas elevam sp a tua inspiração, e de facto a impermanência das coisas e as múltiplas escolhas da vida são uma constante!  

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Emanuel de Sousa, arq