FASE, FOUR MOVEMENTS TO THE MUSIC OF STEVE REICH
The Tanks Tate Modern Bankside SE1 9TG To 20 July 2012.
Runs 1hr No interval.
Review: Carole Woddis 19 July.
Patterns of precision and invention.
Bankside is a new world of giant totems of structured glass and metal, Tate Modern the pearl among them.
The building has just added a new dimension with this week’s opening of the `Tanks’ performing space, where crossovers between installation, learning, performance art and film will meet and intertwine.
Kicking off this new venture is Belgian modern dance giant, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, with her sharp features and piercing eyes a dead ringer for Pina Bausch. Dance aficionados will know De Keersmaeker has been making waves in Europe for over thirty years. To me, she is a revelation.
Giving free 15 minute tasters for two days, on her last two nights she gave a full performance of one of her most famous pieces, Fase premiered in 1982 and an overnight sensation.
Today’s young dance turks apparently regard De Keersmaeker’s `choreographic scoring of music’ old hat. Not that you would have known it from the hushed reverence of the audience sitting cross-legged around the dance square as though awaiting the arrival of a guru.
Keersmaeker’s hallmark is precision. With partner Tale Dolven, she cuts a totally disciplined ascetic figure as, to Steve Reich’s incessant, staccato beats, arms begin to swing, feet rise in little lilts; jumps, echoing the music, repeat over and over.
Imperceptibly standing behind Dolven, De Keersmaeker then breaks the pattern and whirling twice as fast brings her arms to a point of sync with Dolven’s. They touch, exchange a smile, and revert to the opening sequence.
Fase two, with performers now in smart trousers and shirts, sitting on stools, sees them repeating swinging but different arm movements to a verbal Reich score, `Come Out’.
Somewhere a small bird flutters high above in the iron struts. Trapped; like the performers below, human automatons in industrialised repetition.
Dancing on her own for Fase three – variations around a circle – with < i>Fase four, again with Dolven, (Baroness) De Keersmaker, now into her 50s, completes an extraordinary hour of concentrated stamina with a rhythmic sequence that sees them imperceptibly move across the square floor in a diagonal.
Precision engineering? I’ll say. Fantastic.
Dancers: Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Tale Dolven.
Choreographer: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
Created with: Michèle Anne De Mey
Music: Steve Reich: Piano Phase (1967), Come Out (1966), Violin Phase (1967), Clapping Music (1972).
Costume: Martine André/Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
World premiere of Fase, Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich 18 March 1982 at the Beursschouwburg (Brussels).