Tuesday, March 13, 2012

20 minutes – moments of form and bliss

Most of us living in Cyprus would probably agree that any development in the arts on the island is a great thing, as we are continuing to ‘culturally position’ ourselves between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. But after the 12th Contemporary Dance Platform which took place at Limassol’s Rialto Theatre from March 9th to 11th, some twitchy gestures, and long and deep sighs heaving from the audience, suggest that some would have wished away a bit of dance and theatricality. And this wish isn’t necessarily an ill-intended one; it’s a charged change from an unreceptive Cyprus audience to a brave one equipped to raise its critical voice.

There’s a certain magical challenge that comes with having a dense amount of time in which to present and perform. And there’s also an equal challenge for a lively audience to remain intrigued in the present time for 20 minutes each time.

Time, at all times, in whatever space created, can be experienced as a drag to our feet through a painfully slow sense of moments approaching their ‘end’. But time can also suspend our own expectations by placing us in another experience of a time escaped. Lia Haraki’s fresh piece, Tune In, worked powerfully on the level of zoning us out of our sense of time. Like a devoted dervish ecstatic at the point of a spiritual pinnacle, Lia Haraki’s concentrated and liberating performance whirled us into an airy space and engrossing timelessness.

In a very different tone, the collaborative initiative of Noema Dance Work’s, Haze, recreated another form of space on stage, and off, altering our perception of where the dancer’s body and its movement, between fragile screens, appeared each moment in relation to its blurred audience. I, myself, was tuned in the spectacular Weather Project (2003) of visual artist, Olafur Eliasson, where artificial mist permeating the air and a yolk sun rising out of the haze to illuminate the refigured ceilings of the Turbine Hall, altered the room’s temperature and the viewer’s perception. Refined and consistent in its concept and visual imagery, Alexandra Waierstall’s study of haze has whet our appetite for her following full evening piece.

In hindsight, a new wish foresees more thorough collaborations in the emerging arts scene of Cyprus, and an all the more involved and growing audience.

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