sabato 27 dicembre 2008

come on over

Come On Over (2007) is the first piece of lamb|da, “an outlet for the dance/poetry performance work of Clare Thurman and Nathan Thomas” (lamb|da website). Clare is a dancer and choreographer, while Nathan is a poet. They worked together at this piece for about ten weeks. Nathan would bring his poems and they would talk about them. Then Clare would bring other material and this would inspire Nathan. The piece has no music, the rhythm is given by the sound of Nathan’s voice while he utters his poems and by silence. There are five sections, each represented by one of Nathan’s poems. The stage is initially characterised by a square made of pages, Clare walks on them throughout the perimeter of the square, then Nathan comes in with a chair that he places in a corner. He sits there and starts reading aloud while Clare starts dancing.

According to Edward Nye poetry and dance are connected by their shared focus on dynamism: “poetry is understood necessarily to be in motion, or else it ceases to be poetry” (Nye, 2005: 108). Nathan and Clare worked on the idea of boundaries and on their need to cross them. They talked about the word ‘boundary’ itself, its emotional and physical resonance. Come On Over, in this respect, is a stimulating result.

In several bits Clare’s movements recall the idea of boundaries, for example in the first section when she places her arms in second position and stands in releve for a few seconds. She looks as if she were about to lose her balance (clik here to see a photo and here to see a video extract). Or, in the third section, when she stands on the chair centre-stage and then slowly rotates with one leg bent and the other straight out in the space. During these second set of movements, Nathan says:

stuck in this circle

called self, this circle

called home

why does she feel


and outside of this circle

is another circle

and beyond that, another

and another and another

planes of orbit

round a star starved of hydrogen

As these lines show, his poems also reflect the dynamism given by the idea of boundaries with the repetition of the significant word ‘another’ and with a lay-out which seems to be contributing to the choreographic process. Furthermore, after each section the stage is silently altered as Nathan and Clare take turns in removing the pages that marked the square, another boundary to be erased and dissolved. Nathan also tears to pieces some of these pages. In the end, Clare once again opens her arms in second position, a welcoming gesture, a gesture that, in a way, embody the title of the piece. Nathan walks towards her and lets the torn pages fall on her.

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