It was not only about Story Water. Let’s put it in this way: a story of water.
Summer breeze accelerated circling in Avignon, weather forecast seemed to be accurate. a rain in the middle of a performance is not exceptional in the history of the festival according to the tour guide of Avignon. Finally, the rain didn’t pour before the giant LED timer was shut. When I spoke to one of the dancers afterwards, indeed they were informed in advance but it was their first time performing at the Cour d’Honneur. So experience of performing in the rain didn’t exist. I wish the weather forecast were even more accurate though.
After the applause, when I walked out of the Palais des papes, unlike in 2017, I felt enchanted. Let me just be clear: I am not a loyal fan of Emanuel Gat Dance. I loved Sacre but hated Sunny. That was my feeling before watching Story Water which I loved.
Once friends regrouped outside the Palais, we kept arguing about some music and the projection. When we met Emanuel the next day, he was fully aware of those possible criticisms. What I perceive in this piece is the gradual transformation of dance from the status of sophisticated improvisation to that of universal tradition. In addition, physical movements interact with musical movements. Vice vera. Dancers and musicians form a river flowing in each and every spectator. This river moved me profoundly but it can have different effects on another person.
When to the projection, Gat admitted that it was added quite late in the creation process. He referred to the interchange of realities between the rehearsal studio and the touchscreen. The projection did succeed in replicate this effect. Some spectators criticised the naivety of the information projected. Well, if you are a smartphone user, you cannot deny this simplistic and violent way of communication currently dominating our daily life. Again, the job of art is to question ourselves but is not obliged to answer. The choreographer just shared his personal experience in an artistic way and we can interpret it differently but over-interpretation is misleading. Although I understand his reference, I see it in a different angle. I feel the importance of dance, or the power of life whatever is the circumstance. From chapter to chapter, the dance becomes warmer and warmer, the music less and less abstract. The contemporary jamming evolves to the diverse, colourful and universal humanity and that’s where my enchantement was born.
As the rain didn’t arrive on time, we decided to have a beer at the place du Palais. We were not alone but the square was no more crowded and the Palais turned off the lights. Thunders followed lightning. Then the rain poured. We decided to run back to the apartment. The water was familiarily warm and I found the joy of running in the summer rain when I was a kid. I screamed, sang and could not stop smiling. Story Water ended in water, wasn’t it a good story of water?
Note: Special thanks to Catherine from Danseaujourd’hui who organised the trip to Avignon as well as the encounter with Emanuel Gat