Choreographer Sasha Kleinplatz of Wants & Needs Danse explores masculinity with the juxtaposition of strength and vulnerability in an exhilarating performance of Chorus II at the MAI last week.
“It’s all about the quieter moments,” says Kleinplatz during the feedback session on Friday after the show. The performance opens with a sorrowful chant by musician Radwan Ghazi Moumneh before exploding into a drum-induced frenzy of masculine physicality. The piece features only men, seven in all, who engage in raw acts of athleticism.
The strength of the performance, however, comes from the softer moments of vulnerability and intimacy. The connections among the performers, the trust and communication that can only be genuine, bring an intensity to the piece that draws the crowd in – literally. They lean over the side rails surrounding the performance area to catch every moment.
“It’s about trusting that everyone is listening to you, and you’re listening to everyone else,” says dancer Benjamin Kamino about the relationship between dancers and how they depend on each other to be there when they fall, or to catch one another in mid-air as they throw themselves at each other.
Kleinplatz drew from her childhood experience of religion, which involved various traditions and rituals that had a lot to do with spaces and objects and their connections with the spiritual. With Chrous II, she transformed the performance space to be reminiscent of the Bain St-Michelle’s pool of Wants & Needs Danse’s ‘Piss in the Pool’, which holds significant meaning to her. With the pool like enclosure, she sought to create a contemplative space that amplifies the open relationships among the dancers and the dancers with the space. A spiritual space for the dancers to be express themselves, without being confined.
Amid all the emotional intensity and feats of astounding physical agility, lighthearted moments of playfulness reminiscent of cheeky boyish teasing at the school playground help the audience connect on a different level. The crowd’s silence is randomly and delightfully broken by chuckles and laughter.
With Chorus II, Kleinplatz and her group of interpreters truly lift the veil on the essence of masculinity and bring forward a performance that is explosive, explorative and introspective.
Benjamin Kamino, Milan Panet-Gigon, Simon Portigal, Lael Stellick, Frédéric Wiper, Nathan Yaffe, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh
Chorus II performed at the MAI from April 18th-21, 2013
- CHORUS II de/by Sasha Kleinplatz – Wants & Needs Danse – 8:00 PM Thursday 18th
- CHORUS II de/by Sasha Kleinplatz – Wants & Needs Danse – 8:00 PM Friday 19th
- CHORUS II de/by Sasha Kleinplatz – Wants & Needs Danse – 8:00 PM Saturday 20th
- CHORUS II de/by Sasha Kleinplatz – Wants & Needs Danse – 8:00 PM Sunday 21st