Francisco Meirino                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Anthems For Unsuccessful Winners

HELDER with Cindy Van Acker & Stéphanie Bayle 

Helder (2013)

Choreography Cindy Van Acker

Performer Stéphanie Bayle

Live music Francisco Meirino

Intervention Cindy Van Acker

Duration 27 minutes

Administration Aude Seigne

Tour manager Véronique Maréchal/ Tutu Production

Photos copyright Isabelle Meister

Lines on lines

There is a taste for the body’s mechanical forces inside Cindy Van Acker’s dance. She works on the synchronicity of beatings, the precision of angles, the evidence of alignments, giving a very authentic attention to parallel lines generated by the head, torso, arms and legs. So the body becomes a semaphore giving very precise signals, involving the perfomer in such a pervaded, focused way, that it indubitably makes sense. Even if the latter remains enigmatic, one can envision some runic alphabet carved in the flesh, some morse code left on stage. Then the slow exactitude of this nearly elusive encryption, induces the pleasure of discovering those lines, pistons, needles, levers, sticks, activated off the regular articulations of the human organism.

During the remarkable exhibition by Victor Roy and Cindy Van Acker, Score Conductor (2012), in which dance-scores where materialized into different visual installations, an automaton performed the solo Fractie by activating the motion of four iron bars. We see this machine when watching the dancer Stéphanie Bayle performing Helder so flawlessly : 30 minutes backed by Francisco Meirino’s crackling soundtrack, minimalistic although haunting. Impossible to say whether his musical composition explores the infinitesimally small or the infinitely great and if the sound plays the micro-frictions of a plastic sheet or the cracks of a glacier. Impossible to understand if what squeals is the steel of a huge turbine, the vinyl of a 12-inch record, the static from an electronic device at low voltage or the drone of a ventilation. Constantly on the edge of abstraction, the Swiss musician surrounds the dancer’s evolution with subtle delicateness, and never overtakes her. Sound and movement yet freeze twice, strikingly, just as a freeze frame, and a woman enters to paint some lines on the dancer’s body. The corporal story stops.

A sign is placed dramatically on stage, a sign that bursts of red first, then blue, to finally cancels in black. Dance starts again after the strokes of a large brush have just marked the outline of an arm, a leg, a cheek. Strangely, it is this act of painting that brings the body back to its human reality. This new outfit painted on the skin, quite brutally, completely changes the quality of movement by pulling the choreography towards imperfection, litteraly crossing it out, with drips of colour. The evidence lies in the slobbery coloured stains left on the floor by this choreography of very straight lines. And this is definitely where you find the grace of Helder, this brush dragging an ultra controlled body writing into an uncontrollable range, less mechanical, shifting the identity of the body on stage by a simple operation : some paint lines hastily layered on top of the lines of dance.

Michèle Pralong, translated by Anne-Lise Brevers