Representations of dance

by Melanie Fieldseth

Review of Opening, Bergen Internasjonale Teater, May 2006, Bergen.

Let go of your ideas on dance when Mette Edvardsen opens up the performance space and shows you what can lie before, after, behind, in between, inside and under the performing arts.

Imagine a traditional theatre room with a red curtain in front, a black curtain in the back of the stage and several openings along the sides made of black velvet, (legs). Imagine how it is to sit in the auditorium full of expectation before the show starts, perhaps while the orchestra is warming up. Imagine everything that could be going on behind the red front curtain, while you are sitting in the auditorium. Imagine that the curtain opens and the stage reveals itself.

Now imagine the same events in an opposite order.

“Opening” is a performance about the representations that are implicit and invisible in the empty theatre. To trace some glimpses of the many possibilities of the space, Mette Edvardsen sites conventions and traditional structures from the performing arts and dance, as well as methods and elements known from works by other choreographers. It sounds complex, yet it all happens in a seemingly random order of moments and events that are unpretentiously carried out with humour and irony.

Mette Edvardsen has long been interested in exploring space in her performances. Last time we saw her in Bergen was during the Meteor-festival in 2003 with “Private Collection”, where she used the relation between body, objects and surfaces as measurement of the capacities of the space, and therefore also the possibilities of the space.

The interest in space is present in a peculiar way in “Opening”, like with “Private Collection” drawing on similarities to the experimental dance of the 1960ís and 70ís which focused on the representational, formalistic possibilities of dance. At the same time this performance joins the line of dance performances that addresses the framework for dance and performing arts by making them an explicit part of the performance.

“Opening” partly implies the spectator to use their knowledge of performing arts to view the dance performance. But Edvardsen makes openings large enough for everyone to take part if they willingly let go of their preconceptions.

Appeared in Bergens Tidene May 2006. Translated from Norwegian by Anette Lundebye.