Nude of a dark haired woman, with humorous rebellion. And a touch of sadness.
by Roxana Gramada
A faceless body came out of pitch blackness and lay down on the floor. As it slowly came into movement, it made me think of Lucas Cranach’s Venus. Only now she was moving to electronic beats or Judas Priest’s Breaking the law. It looked so exposed, translucent almost, and moving as if to study the possibility of each bodily hinge. What can my neck do? And what story does it carry? From shaking off the mind into numbness, to shaking into submission, to rebellion, to puppy heads in a store window, to sexual mechanics, the jerky neck summoned them all, while looking entirely captivating. The performer’s flowing, chestnut mane of hair helped.
A convulsed, neurotic body can look aesthetically pleasing and provoke thought, even humour. Although the audience breathed rather melancholy and serious last night. Did anyone pick on the communist childhood references from the potato piles David painstakingly clad? No, or maybe, but they rang true on the daily toil and trouble we all fall prey to.
The show alternated scenes laden with symbols. A faceless, paradisiac David brings an apple, then an entire colourful veggie market bounty - it’s veggie market prime time in Bucharest, too - only then to replace them with monotonous potatoes. After narcissistically looking into the floor mirror, the body glides fluidly into itself and collapses only to pose statuesque seconds later. Then the potatoes are replaced with a decomposed fall scene: brown leaves, wind from a fan and piano tunes. It could look terribly melancholy, had David not brought in some understated humour. Her groins move in perfect tune with the fan. Going with the audience’s serious vibe though, it punctuates the existential spleen.
“It troubled me, I liked it very much, this idea of nude beauty that doesn’t need a face, or accessories. It felt like all her attempts to escape were punished. It was a dance of the body, of the hair, a reenactment of inner struggle. I think it’s wonderful there is a dance centre,” said Alexandra Arnautu. To Raluca Admonicai, a choreography student, the show was about the body’s beauty and unaffectedness. “I saw her wishing to be somebody’s muse, searching for a setup. The painter or the photographer were perhaps missing. It was so interesting her face was not showing.”
Susanne Grau, a dancer herself who travelled from Germany to see the dancing season “was moved even physically, I was bending with the performance, some moments I felt like in an animation movie. I tried to follow some logic, and sometimes I managed and sometimes not, which was fun, the gaps of not grasping the logic made me stay with it. I was reminded of the carwash, of these brushes that also looked like hair when they were not in motion. I liked to stay in the car at the carwash as a child, these not human things became really alive and almost like monsters and here it felt the opposite. The body was so fragile and human, and became a machine trying to pick up things and not managing, or stubbornly following a certain task, broken and machine like but really alive. These moments I enjoyed a lot.”
After the show, a relaxed David confesses over a smoke and a beer the audience’s reaction influences her. She loves the conversation with the audience. The elements in the show are picked because of their meaning to her, but “my interest is to create a space for the audience’s interpretation.”
*Text written with the occasion of the Contemporary dance season CNDB - Bucharest in movement, 2017.
The Contemporary dance season CNDB - Bucharest in movement, 2017 cultural project is supported within the cultural program Bucharest participatory city, by the Bucharest Mayor's Office through the Bucharest Cultural Centre ARCUB.