19 June 2006

Chouinard's bODY_rEMIX

I meant to write this entry before Ms T came back from Hong Kong, but my temperamental computer (what the hell am I supposed to do about "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL"?), late-night retro champagne and their after-effects got the better of me this weekend. Sorry Ms T.

Courtesy of her Artsfest ticket, I spent this past Friday night at a surprisingly full-house Victoria Theatre featuring Marie Chouinard's bODY_rEMIX / gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS.

Chouinard's Body Remix

After I got comfortable in my seat, I realized that it was probably the first time I was watching a ballet. Whoa, almost 26 years old and first time watching a ballet. What happened over the years man?

Body Remix is one of those difficult-to-read books that you must read nonetheless. You may never read it again because it takes a lot of work to read it, but you must read it at least once. I found myself leaning forward and furrowing my brow at various points, but the sense of eureka that followed made it worthwhile. I have one major complaint though - what is with glossy nipple stickers?? If they are meant to conceal, then I'm sorry - they only serve to ACCENTUATE instead. All I see under the spotlights are shiny nipples. Please please please make them matt next time and save us some crossing and uncrossing of legs... As if concentrating on the dance wasn't hard enough.

Now, on a more serious note...

In bODY_rEMIX, Chouinard underook a recombination of the dancers' bodies through the use of various supports - crutches, canes, points, harness etc. Because of the frank and matter-of-fact way in which the dancers resembled paralegics and spastics, the first 10 minutes were rather discomforting - I couldn't figure whether it was supposed to be a tribute or a parody of the less abled. But as the dance progressed, you realize that it is neither. It is merely depiction of a reality, with no intention to glorify or horrify. As for the discomfort, you never fully it shake off, but you gain the nerves and interest to watch on.

I should say something about the music too, since it seems to constitute Ms T's greatest regret about not being able to attend. I must say that I didn't take to the music very much at all. Glenn Gloud's voice sounded terribly ghostly and the remix of Goldberg variations didn't sound Bach at all. Modern, atonal? I don't quite know how to describe it. Ms T might have liked it though - erm, some parts were quite soporific ;)

The dance portion of it I liked much better. I particularly enjoyed the different discourses the dance engaged through the use of crutches and harnesses as support: Does a cane support or restrain? Can the grace of ballet and the awkwardness of paralegics co-exist at the same instant? How does Eros live among the disabled?

(On this last point, I couldn't help but feel that Eros had cloned herself in a million pieces and was floating all around the Victoria Theatre, mostly surrounding me. All these rods that were stuck to the men's head, chest and hips look terribly phallic. And those ballerina pointe shoes that the dancers were wearing on each of their right hand (yes, they affixed one to their hand as well), they should look like cranes being strutted around the stage, but again they looked very phallic to me.* I swear it is the shiny nipple stickers that is causing all this.)

Puppets pairing, angels flying, Siamese twins... I never realized that harnesses and points could be so versatile. The harness there - is it a sinister noose or a freedom swing? One instant, it is a noose holding a lifeless body of a woman, being held at the hand by her husband, and walked as if she were alive in a park. It is the most tragic scene I have seen. At the next, it transforms into a swing. As the swing swings from side to side, the couple presses close at the pelvis, backs arched back in pleasure. Sex on the swing - oooo, the most liberating feeling in the world.

I thought the curtains should have fallen here, on a high note. But it ends a while later, on a note of installation art instead.

A slight lament there, but overall, a memorable first time.

*But ahh, I have just found out a few minutes ago while writing this that it is entirely natural to think of the ballerina shoe as phallic - cf historian Susan Foster's "The ballerina's phallic pointe". Pat pat on my back.


  1. And I thought that ballet was just tu tu's and slippers, this show sounds rather erotic to me ....right I'm off to buy a ticket... hee...hee!

    Thanks for saying my boys were nice looking (I will not tell them that though otherwise their heads will get so big that they will take off and probably fly over to you!)

    Thanks for popping by!!!

    Good night, sleep tight and watch the bed bugs don’t bite!

  2. They probably used shiny stickers for that exact purpose, to conceal yet distract.