Violin Phase: Portrait Opening

A long queue keeps growing along the city hall building. BHV windows whisper that winter is coming. 15th, September. Sunny. Autumn. Today start European Heritage Days. So does the portrait of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker within Festival d’Automne à Paris.

Rue des Archives. Then Rue du plâtre. My first time in Lafayette Anticipations. I didn’t realise the stage location until I arrive on the first floor following the direction. Exceptionnally white, the stage occupies the courtyard and spectators the balconies. Yuika walks a few steps on stage and music starts. Actually the white is not painted but a layer of white sands. Her movement paints the stage in black, first a star, then a circle. Two equal parts, four equal parts, and so on. Music amplifies, repeats, varies. Created in 1981, this piece already sketches Keersmaeker’s signature movement. 15 minutes of beauty: tangible, precise, dynamic.

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« Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, you are not patient but impatient. » Injured last may, she is not allowed to perform as planned for this opening. And the recovery needs patience. After the applause, Keersmaeker come on stage starting with this anecdote. She fell from a horse and broke the right arm. « They cut my wings. » She said with such strong emotions. Memory of her works starts flashing in my head. Indeed, they are her wings.

She was in New York, aiming at expressing simple pleasure of dance with Steve Reich’s music. She found her inspiration from kids: spin, jump, wave the arms. I start navigating memory of Hashimoto’s dance. Keersmaeker keeps moving on stage as well, tracing Hashimoto’s footprint. When Rosas’s staff finishes sweeping the floor, Keersmaeker starts creating her own circle on a darker stage while continuing the explanation.

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The momentum cumulates in this structured geometry of continuity. The courtyard seems to become her private space. She misses the stage, and the circle may also make her continue to spin around. Like a Saturday afternoon, we, the spectators, are no more than her neighbours moving to our balconies, intrigued by the sound of her movement, her murmur and the music. When she notices our presence, she asks if we have questions. A brainless question from the second floor ends the conversation.

I walk out the foundation, still feeling emotional. Walking randomly in the district, I enter a cloister. On the wall I think that I find the feather dropping from Keersmaeker’s wings.

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Artwork by Marjolaine Degremont

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