Dance in spite of everything is the device of Mathilde Monnier, the head of the Choreographic Centre of Montpellier since 1994, but at her latest creation at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris recently, the audience waited in vain  for dance to start.

Twin Paradox began with 5 couples on stage, tightly wrapped around each other, moving in very slow motion. The background score, devised by Luc Ferrari, started with the roar of a departing heavy truck and was succeeded by chirping crickets and rippling water. The voices off stage, in American-accented English were irritating, but, so far so good.  If the piece had ended then, after 20 minutes, it could have passed as an introduction to the evening. But it didn’t, dragging on for an interminable 1 hour 25 minutes, and tired of watching these couples gyrating in the penumbra, many people lost patience and left. From where I was sitting, I counted up to 39 leaving before losing track.

When some lights came on and the dancers changed costumes, hope was born to see some dance, particularly as, at this point, attractive fountains of pink paper petals, confetti-like, jettisoned up from under the false flooring of the stage. But no, the couples, now firmly joined at the wrist continued their repetitive contortions, struggling, fighting, and in some cases beating each other up before trudging wearily around in the gloom for the remainder of the piece.

No matter what the intellectual argument, (should one have to spend time peering at one’s programme to appreciate the action on stage?), can this kind of event be called choreography? After the recent series of excellent companies and productions at the Théâtre de la Ville, this was not only unfair to the spectators, but to the dancers as well.

Based in Paris,  Patricia Boccadoro is the dance editor for Culturekiosque.



Bruno Barbey (b.1941, Morocco/France)

"Most of the time I take photographs to document for posterity, traditions and cultures rapidly vanishing as a result of changing consumer attitudes." Born in Morocco, Bruno Barbey studied photography and graphic arts at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers in Vevey, Switzerland. Over four decades, Bruno Barbey has journeyed across five continents and numerous world conflicts, though he does not consider himself a war photographer, he nevertheless covered the civil war in Nigeria, Vietnam, the Middle East, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ireland, Iraq and Kuwait. His work has appeared in most major magazines in the world. A prolific author who often exposes and expresses himself in book form, Barbey is especially known for his free and harmonious use of color and has frequently worked in Morocco, the country of his childhood. He has been exhibited internationally and his photographs are in the collection of numerous museums.

© All images courtesy the artist; src. Magnum Photos

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