The Quiet Dance
Frankfurter Rundschau, August 12th 2005
Shouting and squatting according to the rules
Vienna has its 'Impulstanz', Berlin the 'Tanz im August'. In Munich, the corresponding Summer Festival is called the 'Europa Dance Workshop'. They are very different in scope, but they all follow the same principle: semi-professional courses and training workshops by prominent teachers and artistes are on offer to ambitious students; in the evenings there are performances of important aesthetic positions. This year, the enterprising Munich-based organiser Walter Heun was able, by using a skilful co-production policy, to stage two distinguished first performances within the framework of the Munich Dance Workshop: The installation-like kaleidoscope Woman and Memory by the British veteran of post-modern dance creation, Rosemary Butcher, and two days later the enigmatically playful The Quiet Dance by the duo Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion.
Previously with their Both Sitting Duet the duo, which is composed of a former classical dancer and sought-after stage composer, had radically minimised dance to a rhythmic cadence, produced while sitting and using the
possibilities of their bodies’ resonance space. The sequel, The Quiet Dance, now launches both of them into
movement. Fargion, the musician, follows the step sequences, Burrows backs this up with vocal contributions.
Their 'quiet dance' consists principally of a serial eclipsing of three themes: a shouted glissando sound, a fragmentary, heavily mechanised striding dance with a downwards movement, and finally a rather ridiculous squatting
position. From time to time taped bird sounds are added. From this material the two performers produce a kind of choreographic comedy: slight changes, violations of the rules and improvisations break through the structures, which have their own logic just like in a game invented by children. One believes them in all seriousness, unconditionally, yet at the same time one constantly thinks one can hear their faint giggling.
At the same time the whole piece is extremely tightly woven. The Quiet Dance is at once about playing and rejecting, about disclosing and thwarting of what is presented. One is supposed to, and is able, to understand the nature of the composition and its rules, but nonetheless one can never predict what is going to happen. The game remains spontaneous. This successful laconism demonstrates skill, and out of it emerges the confused aesthetic appeal of this quiet dance.
Franz Anton Cramer