Under the unmoved faces of mother and God

Under the unmoved faces of mother and God

This IMPURE company production has been staged in Albuquerque, Brussels, Antwerp, Rakvere and Paris.

A hand tentatively pushes a white piece of paper under a light. The paper has been scissored out by hand. It sits on a rough black surface scuffed with footprints, the dancefloor. As the patches of words (selections from Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, Roland Barthes and Peter Handke) appear, the audience silently reads. The words speak about power and violence, the violence of one over all, the power of all over one. Four dancers, two men and two women, stand facing the chairs. They wear all black except for the electric-hued soles of their shoes. Individually they back towards the scrim of the back wall and open their mouths in silent screams. Unvoiced sobs wrack their bodies in extreme pantomime. Then they shout (always, silently) and stamp and menace. With avid athleticism they circle each other running, push out, roll in. One of the men clutches a crumpled up sheet. He mimics from under the sheet the movements of the other male dancer. He stands and stretches his arms out. He holds the exact posture of the hooded figure at Abu Ghraib, reproduced endlessly in photographs shot at first as amusements for the folks back home.

Choreographer Hooman Sharifi created this dance for the Oslo-based company IMPURE , with the dancers Rikke Baewert, Loan Ha, Matthew William Smith and Peder Horgen. The show was produced at Albuquerques North Fourth Arts Center March 13 and 14. Part of Global DanceFest 2009 it marked week three of a five-week run that continues on March 19 and 20, 21 and 22, and again on March 27 and 28, with one new Scandinavian dance troupe appearing in each two-day period. Radical political dance is hardly seen in this country, and so for Albuquerque to invite a program like this is to be heralded.

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