Excerpts from Religare, by Contraband. 1989 version of the Eddy St Project. Directed & choreographed by Sara Shelton Mann, visual design by Lauren Elder, soundscore and musical direction by Norman Rutherford, Richard Klein, and Gwen Jones . Performed by Sara Shelton Mann, Lauren Elder, Keith Hennessy, Jess Curtis, Kim Epifano, Jules Beckman, & Julie Kane at the Plaza West housing projects, San Francisco. A previous version of Religare occurred in 1986, staged in the Gartland Pit at 16th and Mission, San Francisco.
If you get a certain amount of deja vue while watching this video feature of Ultima Vez then fret not because not only is Spiegel a retrospective on some of the company's work from the last two decades but a lot of the movement style you see here has found its way into hundreds of works by many companies over the years.
Ultima Vez and its founder, Wim Vandekeybus, pioneered the movement style rather simplistically entitled 'Eurocrash' back in the day. The term 'crash' does no justice to the obvious skills of the dancers though. Yes they do hurl themselves around with an incredible amount of energy but their relationship with the floor and how they get down there is precisely controlled, crashing has nothing to do with it.
If ever there was a work to emphasise the difference between classical and contemporary then this is it.
'Spiegel', which means 'mirror', is a composite work with sections taken from 'What the Body Does Not Remember', 'Immer Das Selbe Gelogen', 'Bereft of a Blissful Union', '7 For a Secret never to be told', 'In Spite of Wishing and Wanting' and 'Inasmuch as Life is Borrowed'.
The company speaks of the work thus;
"Twenty years after the première of What the Body Does Not Remember - and almost as many creations with changing international casts later - Wim Vandekeybus composes Spiegel, an evening with some remarkable scenes from his work. With nine dancers - performers who have already worked with the company as well as some newcomers - Wim Vandekeybus looks in the mirror. No simple collage, but a journey in search of the essence of his movement idiom. A retrospective of the energy and emotions at the base of his creations. Together with the performers, Wim Vandekeybus explores his early works as well as more recent productions."
Our seven minute clip includes the infamous brick throwing sequence from 'What the Body Does Not Remember'. Although the blocks appear to be made from some form of chalk-limestone composite, make no mistake, if one of the dancers gets hit then they are going home in an ambulance.
'Spiegel' is performed by Laura Aris, Elena Fokina, Robert M. Hayden, German Jauregui Allue, Jorge Jauregui Allue, Mala Kline, Thi-Mai Nguyen, Manuel Ronda and Helder Seabra. Choreography by Wim Vandekeybus and Music by Arno & Ad Cominotto, David Byrne, Thierry De May, Pierre Martins, Marc Ribbot and Peter Vermeersch.