new-york

Jérôme Bel

Dance Theater Workshop

“No to spectacle no to virtuosity . . . no to seduction of spectator”—Jérôme Bel takes as a given the commandments of radical dance in America laid down by Yvonne Rainer in her notes for the 1965 Parts of Some Sextets. He is part of a tide of French choreography built on such refutation and which has been assessing and reassessing the meaning of these dictates over the past decade—a period that has seen spectacle, virtuosity, and seduction reinforced as aesthetic norms.

At the Dance Theater Workshop, Bel responded in the only way he could to such superficial gloss; he had us sit in the dark for the opening, song-length sequence of his New York debut The Show Must Go On, 2001. Even with the lights up, he kept the stage bare for the duration of the next track as though determined to confound the audience’s expectations. Confronted by so much emptiness, the mind took over to fill the void,

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