Chairs painted in matte black. Dancers dressed in black too. Probably it is not pure black as it reflects blue light, the recognizable kind from Papaioannou’s palette. Men are still in suits, but their pleated pants become slim now. Gowns get shorter with a variety of designs. Is it a Pina’s new piece or Papaioannou’s?
In the next 90 minutes, you will find out that it is THEIRS. One by one, dancers try to cross the stage walking on chairs. It is a river, an adventure, for all of them. Chairs are their heritage, from her.
The news about this creation was announced before the Avignon Festival last year. In Avignon, with some other passionate spectators, we asked him about this project. Dimitris would like to create new roles for the young dancers who could only interpret existing roles till then. Oh, he/she is the new He/She. Now she is she, he is he. Scott, Breanna, Oleg, to name a few. If you know Pina’s pieces from the early stage, do you remember the remarkable moments of Jo, Dominique, Nazareth? That’s how I feel. Nine years after, the transition is finally taking shape.
Dimitris must have watched a lot of Pina’s pieces; he manages to develop a common language representing both Pina and himself. It is more than a simple tribute. And this is NEW. As long as the company wears her name, it is irrational to create new works completely distinguished from her universe. This is the challenge: how to maintain the connection without repeating her?
The most memorable scene of tribute for me is when Michael carries all chairs on him, Ruth is flowing on a river made of cardboard tube. I think of Papaioannou, and chairs represent Pina’s works. Ruth is eventually Pina. Dimitris exposed his « maladroit » process of creation to Pina. At that moment, I felt so emotional.
At the end, dancers touched the sequin panel revealing shiny traces. The reflection reminds me of glistening waves of the small stream in front of Pina’s grave. I was there on that morning. I have been to Wuppertal in the last few years but this was my first visit to her grave. A coincidence. A solemn moment. When I walked out the theater, I saw a lot of faces with tearful eyes. They tasted joyful, I imagine.