By Ilaria Cutolo
Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels presents TakeMeHome created by choreographer, dancer, and artist director Dimitri Chamblas in collaboration with musician/singer-songwriter Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and performed by nine dancers was a sensual feast for the eyes, ears, and soul. The piece starts before the show even begins. After taking my seat, I noticed a person, head shaved and dressed in casual yet not exactly weather-appropriate attire, move stealthily between the aisles and whispering something into random audience members’ ears. It was clear after a few minutes that people were being asked if they wished to join the stage. As I watched this pan out, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily people agreed to be led by the hand onto the stage, where they each took a reclined position on the floor. Above them was a large, white, and ominous zeppelin. Its presence confused and intrigued me. As the theatre darkened, the zeppelin lit up red, and dancers began to move in what I can only describe as indescribable a-rhythmic and rhythmic, chaotic and languid movements weaving in and around our audience members lying still about the stage.
Viewing a piece like this is not so much about what is happening, as it is about how it makes you feel. As I watched dancers move with erratic fluidity, I felt the isolation, the hesitation, the aloneness, and sometimes the impossibility of being human and bound in this corporeal realm. At one point when the throbbing din of sound came to a sudden quiet, a performer with blue paint smudged on his face began to make an unsettling gurgling sound while moving from dancer to dancer. At first, I wasn’t sure where it was coming from but soon I could feel the tension in the audience as we all realized the sound was coming from him. Meanwhile, Kim Gordon’s droning guitars and otherworldly pulses brought me to a dizzy and hypnotic state. The most mesmerizing of all was watching 5 dancers each dragging an amp mid-stage along with an electric guitar and one by one blasting a repeating chord. A sonic drone and pulsating wall of sound enveloped the theater. Five loud guitars droning the same chords starting slow, then deliberately and without rush, crescendoing in an all-out controlled frenzy. It was thrilling is all I can say. The merging of dance and live experimental sound coupled with audience participation was dream-like and strange. This wasn’t a performance as much as an experience that stretched my senses to the extreme. Did the piece make immediate sense to me? No, but that wasn’t the point. The experience was the point. The tingle of the spine was the point. Chamblas, Gordon, and the 9 extremely talented dancers delivered just that and more. I do hope there are more chances for audiences to experience this live performance.
TAKEMEHOME Choreography by DIMITRI CHAMBLAS; Music by KIM GORDON. Cast: MARION BARBEAU, MARISSA BROWN, ELI COHEN, BRYANA FRITZ, PIERRICK JACQUART, FRANÇOIS MALBRANQUE, JOBEL MEDINA, SALIA SANOU, KENSAKU SHINOHARA. Lighting YVES GODIN in collaboration with VIRGINIE MIRA; Production and touring STUDIO DIMITRI CHAMBLAS.
Dates: Appeared at NYU Skirball on Friday, November 17 & Saturday, November 18th at 7:30 pm. Running time 55 minutes.