BOB'Art and Pop art, Béjart and Béchard. Just how far can the word game go? Here is a rather refined and rebellious show with a fiery dynamic saving energy to laugh. Stepping outside of the box: Imagine bodies cascading over mirrors, masterpieces on the walls that come alive, the pretense of a cocktail event, a satire of Ravel's Bolero to cappella, and four men and a bob-like woman with a bob haircut in the same boat.
They are all motivated by an inner artistic drive having known each other since they left school. Up and down, they dance on the water! This is their fourth completely sold out show playing at the Marni Theatre. The 5 dancers come from the world-famous company that the late French choreographer, Maurice Béjart founded in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1987. He started this dance company when he left Brussels and the Théâtre de la Monnaie bringing an end to the prestigious Ballet du XXe siècle. Young, brimming with talent and ideas, three years agao these dancers chose to set up their own company, Opinion Public.
A daring plunge into the unknown, they chose to develop their own style, in a setting where the dancers take charge of entire production including the music, text, choreography and lighting. In this latest show, these young artists, four male and one female, dissect the vanity and hypocrisies of society with a great deal of enthusiasm. We are confronted by the surrealist Portuguese story of a cat dancing on water - but the meaning hits the spot - and the production conveys with beautifully sensitive movement, the worries of our lives being manipulated. Don't we first want to know what jobs will be on offer to the younger generation in the future before sharing the importance of learning about our culture?
Bodies come together and then clash, rotating in dizzying spins across the floor coming back to be gathered up along the way. Bodies float and flow like a horse's main waivering and taking off. Crucial flexibility, hanging by a thread! Dodging, embracing, violent exchanges, improbable catches, ephemeral couples dance their battles to musical crescendos and hollows of silence. The costume changes are coated with confidence: "Happiness is buried at the end of the garden!" Groups of penguins, walruses and seals along with frogs, waddle across the black pack ice. Here they rotate the mirror and turn to become a chain of percussion and a parody of clowns playing musical chairs .... Posh grimaces are artistically stripped away with a poetic assertiveness that is distinct in the choreography and echoing movements. In the end it is the human body in all its glory that has the last word.
This Bolero will be remembered for a long time to come! A number of choreographers have been bewitched by Ravel's poignant score. Among them and most importantly, Maurice Béjart, who created an astonishingly powerful piece from this music, remaining forever engraved in our memories. So, not only have some of his followers, led by the young choreographer Etienne Béchard, tackled this masterpiece by Ravel, but they haven't taken quite the same direction as their predecessors. Indeed, some young people are challenging and a tad mocking - and we can't blame them, on the contrary. They wisely try to ridicule and make fun of certain concepts or delusions that our society has put in place or tries to impose.
This is the subject of BOB'Art, the latest production from the "Opinion Public" company which chooses a very clever way to shape and target certain contemporary fashion and art creations to highlight their trivial side and illustrate their underlying ridicule, which will probably be passed on to future generations ... The art of Terpsichore has of course not escaped their irony and the choice of Bolero on which they set their sights does not turn out to be quite so innocent.
All five performers met at Rudra, Maurice Béjart's school in Lausanne, and four of them were part of this dance master's company. But if they created a little humorous and trivial gem on this partition, moreover remarkably transposed by vocals, it's not so much to challenge this "sacred" music as to show that it could also be used in an entertaining and jubilant way. It could be inspired by Walt Disney characters or American cartoons such as the famous William Hannah and Joseph Barbera cartoons produced by MGM in the 1940s and ‘50s. And this is perfectly mastered while using a sophisticated classical ballet technique, mesmerizing the audience at the start of the show. The other glimpses and parodies such as the music as well as art and fashion proved to be hilarious, full of finesse and truly original. The main characters were not afraid to point out its absurd nature.
As such, their enthusiastic portrayal, mimed and danced against an immaculate white canvas wasn’t bad at all, according to traditional expression... To sum it up, a wonderful breath of fresh air in this depressing period of crisis…