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Frankfurt Ballet.

June 19-July 3,1995 Reviewed by Roslyn Sulcas

Divided into three parts, Eidos: Telos, William Forsythe's most recent evening-length work, takes the spectator into a strange landscape of the mind, a terrain of the unconscious that is evoked as much by the dance as by the spoken texts that permeate the work.

The first section is based on Self Meant to Govern [see Reviews/ International, November 1994, page 94] and retains its denuded environment inhabited by six leotard-clad dancers and an onstage violinist (the talented Maxim Franke), who plays Thom Willems's computerized treatment of Stravinsky's Apollo. In contrast to the black-and-white tones of part one, the middle section comes up in the vivid colors of a dream--or a nightmare. Long cords are strung diagonally across a stage that contains a low table. A bare-breasted woman wearing a long, glowing orange skirt speaks of spiders, voices and women's eyes, furiously crumples cellophane in a cacophonous frenzy, and dramatically traces arcs in space with her upper body as she waltzes through webbed lighting that keeps dividing the stage into new lands.

The tiny, blond Dana Caspersen, who wrote her own script, is truly extraordinary in this role, dominating the stage alone for at least fifteen minutes through sheer presence and provoking the strange logic of poetry by her myth-haunted presence. Is she perhaps Persephone, stolen by Hades? Perhaps Demeter, rnaddened by grief at the loss of her daughter?

As quiet and a low gray light settle upon the stage after the sound and fury of Caspersen's monologue, a long line of dancers weaves through in silky, jewel-colored, bustle-embellished dresses (by Naoki Takizawa and Stephen Galloway). Waltzing in formal lines to Willems's low, melodious tones, shoulders turning in epaulement, dancers continually detach themselves from and rejoin the group, demonstrating Forsythe's ability to counterpoint formal construction against its dissolution.

In the final section, a miked cord suspended across the stage gradually comes to act as a magnet for the dancers, who approach and retreat from each side, while an ever-changing series of solos, duos, and trios proliferates on the margins. Drawing squiggles and angles in the air with their bodies, the dancers mesh in and out of complex arrangements, like individual atoms creating fleeting forms of new matter. Three trombonists create an astonishing conflagration of sounds. Caspersen reappears, nude, squirming center stage as, one by one, the others leave the stage.

This final, haunting image of human frailty in a world that is larger, richer, more mysterious, and more frightening than we allow ourselves to imagine points to the two poles of the title. If eidos is the essential, necessary form of something, and telos is its end or purpose, one of Forsythe's achievements in this work is to show how fragile are the boundaries between contingency and completion, and how both elements can coexist in every moment of the dance.

A second program was comprised of Firstext, choreographed by Forsythe, Caspersen, and Antony Rizzi in April for Great Britain's Royal Ballet, and two new Forsythe works, Invisible Film and Of Any If And.

Created around Sylvie Guillem (whose role was admirably danced in Paris by Jone San Martin), Firstext continues Forsythe's implacable exploration of how movement is generated through compositional systems, which occasionally yield ballet movements as a result of chance configurations of the body. Invisible Film offers Bach (the Goldberg Variations), a narrator who claims alternately to be Francis Bacon and Glenn Gould, and dazzling dance, some of which is on pointe, even as it easily integrates the dissolving, boneless movements of Forsythe's more recent work. It ends quietly, with a pas de deux in this vein performed sublimely by Christine Burkle and Marc Spradling.

In Of Any If And, beautiful long lines of sound, again by Willems, exquisite gray-gold lighting, and the low-toned voices of two onstage speakers frame a series of encounters between Caspersen and Thomas McManus that speak of utter intimacy and the confrontation of duplicitous spirits: a pas de deux that takes us beyond the telos of performance to the eidos of human relationships.
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Title Annotation:Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, France
Author:Sulcas, Roslyn
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Oct 1, 1995
Previous Article:Slovak National Theater Ballet.
Next Article:Fornicon.

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