Dance Inn Festival, Zagreb: Dance in Autumn; ’Double Portrait’ by Isabelle Schad

The opening of the first Autumn session of ’Dance Inn Festival’, organized by ’DeFacto Theatre Company, took place in ’Zagreb Dance Center’ with a very interesting double bill, the performance ’Double Portrait’ by Isabelle Schad, followed by ’Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Petra Hrašćanec and Saša Božić. The theme of the festival is ’Portrait in Dance’.

The bodies of two dancers with accentuated lanky limbs perform Double Portrait, a dance performance of a very uniform character, almost closer to a live visual mobile or bodily installation.
Temporal rhythmic gradations in it are almost absent whilst the narration of the bodies follows visually subtle, but yet progressive the quasi-psychological narrative of the body, and becomes through its mechanics a new body of a new legitimacy. It is a duet that is transformed into a solo by a mere physical approach, playing with the prolongation of the dancer’s body into the other. Such a newly-created body, marked with their stitched and simultaneously extended bodies, recalls Schiele’s portraits.

The movements -neither rough nor sensual- appear in the same time organic and mechanic. Something like a creature in symbiosis, bodies without limbs, pulsating movements that use the contraction and expansion of the bodies for creating further motions. The system of such type of motion reminds of special geometric movements, e.g. of train wheels. What happens is that the spines of the dancers are constantly linked either to the floor of the scene or to one another, creating a body following new laws that acts like an alien and fluidly talks a new language, similar to invertebrates or to a mono-cellular organism.

Through choreographic patterns, the joint body develops, extends and spreads around its hollow center. The dance acts like an intimate chess game, where the tokens are ’not eaten’ but it plays the limits between body and space. The sound, although organic, sounds rather unnatural and works like a gentle amplifier of noise. The stage, partially made of a light velvet-like peach-coloured patch, emphasizes the texture of the dancers’ naked limbs and their tactility. Although there are recognizable, almost narrative moments in motion, such as imitation, rejection or intercourse, the overall performance is completely deprived of intimacy, mutual concern or violence of the two performing characters.
The fluctuating variations that the dancers perform and their unique united body recalls the movement of some astonishing prehistoric organism.

© Maja Ležaić, PLESNA, October 18, 2017.
Double Portrait
concept and choreography Isabelle Schad
co-choreography and performance: Przemek Kaminski, Nir Vidan dramaturge Saša Božić, sound engineer Damir Šimunović, light engineer Bruno Pocheron, costumes Charlotte Pistorius

Published 5 November 2017