• Feb 26,2013
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Vollmond (Full Moon) Pina Bausch,Tanztheater Wuppertale Sadler’s Wells

Vollmond is part water play, part sculpture but more than that, a testament to water as a metaphor! Dancers cavort with water with carefree abandon drenching themselves in the process. Water is the ultimate fluid motif which their bodies aspire to attain! During the course of the show, water rains down, flows around or cascades down on stage, is poured, sprayed around and splashed about while the dancers create wonderful shapes. It’s both a counterpoint to as well as a prop for the choreography!

The stage design is stunning, featuring a moat down stage with a huge rock feature over it, against a pitch black cyclorama creating an imposing imagery. Sitting in the auditorium looking into this deep space  brings a very close image of gazing into a starless night standing on the shore of a calm sea. With moonlight beaming down on the water making the fringes of the shore glisten at times. When water showers down on stage it is rain shimmering in the moonlight breaking with all its might on the huge rock boulder dancing its way down on stage. The dancers  use the dry front half of the stage and then gradually recede back into the water, soaking themselves up while continuing with their movements.

In Pina Bausch’s choreography one gets to see a lot of strong arm movements right from the shoulder down to the fingers. The flicking of arms keeping the torso strong create the brand. The lower half of the body being there as a support for the strong top half of each dancer. The women with their hair down add to the effect. Hair is immersed in water and flicked all the way up in different directions spraying water creating interesting patterns. Men use plastic bottles to pour water into wine glasses held by the ladies, filling up to the brim and then overflowing till they almost empty the bottle on to their partners sitting on chairs. Then there are points when both men and women use white buckets to collect water from the filled moat and throw it in every direction, with force but with control and dexterity. At this point the dancers take the whole experience to a level where the audience feel the urge to join in to this play of water.

The male dancers are controlled by their female counterparts in the piece. Their urge to make love make the men give in and be led. There is also some use of dialogue with a tinge of humour. One of the female dancers teaches her counterpart how to unclip a bra readily and when he takes 8 seconds she tells her off by saying ‘women cant wait that long’. She makes him practise three times by actually getting him to unclip her bra till he does it swiftly to her satisfaction. The second man who tries the same thing on her takes longer and is dismissed by the lady and sent off to practise it on someone else and return once good speed is achieved. For all this, sparse but witty dialogue is used much to the audience’s amusement. There are several small encounters like this that bring in humour and change in the piece.

Towards the end, the piece gathers momentum. The whole cast is on the floor at the same time. All completely drenched, repeating the same movement and the light is gradually dimmed. A complete contrast to the start where just two male dancers had entered the stage with two large empty bottles flicking in the air creating the sound made by empty bottles. They are joined in by a third who beats a long stick in the air making a sound in sync to the sound of the bottles.

At the end, the audience leaves with memorable but stark images of a shadowy world. Emotions interplay as freely as water, dancers ebb and flow like the water running around them.

                                                                                                Protima Chatterjee

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