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WITH A WIM THERE'S A WAY.

WITH A WIM THERE'S A WAY

LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL 2000

WlM VANDEKEYBUS/ULTIMA VEZ LAGUARDIA CONCERT HALL NEW YORK, NEW YORK JULY 11, 13, 14, 2000

REVIEWED BY GUS SOLOMONS JR

Wim Vandekeybus, whose work hasn't been seen in New York since 1993, made his highly anticipated return to Lincoln Center with his Brussels-based company Ultima Vez in the 110-minute, intermissionless In Spite of Wishing and Wanting. Vandekeybus's choreography is notorious for risk-taking and bruising physicality. Here, Vandekeybus has added the theatricality of text and film to the powerful dancing of eleven fierce male performers and collaborated with Talking Heads head David Byme, who has composed a richly dimensional score.

The stage is stripped of drapery, and lighting battens at various heights form a sloped canopy overhead. More lights along both sides, front to back, hang just above head height. In the opening scene the performers gallop, snorting like wild horses, leaping high and screeching to a halt, inches from the front edge of the stage. Big, imposing Said Gharbi, a blind actor who is integrated seamlessly into the cast, recounts childhood fantasies of being a sponge, a fish, a bird; the piece deals abstractly with humankind's attempts to reconcile who we are with what we want.

Taped noise augments the live performers' vocal ejaculations and footfalls. German Jauregui Allue slumbers on a large pillow, which explodes, flooding the stage with a blizzard of white feathers. He strips naked and scampers around the stage, shrieking like a wounded beast, eventually being subdued by several men.

But the purely dance sections, driven by the powerful rock pulse of Byrne's electronic guitar music, are the meat of the work. The men dressed in sarongs (costumes by Lies Van Assche) bounce off each other and carom into barrel turns that spin into the ground. In mock battle, they intertwine arms and roughly hoist each other into the air. Then, dreamily, they foxtrot in pairs, each pair clutching half a grapefruit, searching for their soulmates with the matching half.

The down-covered stage, lit dramatically by Richard Joukovsky and Vandekeybus, is an ocean for hip-hop-inspired flip-flopping like beached fish; it's also a cloud carpet, as the men flock in tight groups like birds. The movement is relentlessly energetic, and the dancers' commitment is total.

Like many international imports--works made with the time that governmental support can buy--it is too expansive to comprehend fully in one viewing. The inclusion of two short films directed by Vandekeybus merely dilutes its physical immediacy. Perhaps the creators had too much tinkering time, or conversely, not enough time to edit. Nonetheless, the audience's thunderous reception affirmed that In Spite of Wishing and Wanting is an absorbing creation and a welcome return for this engaging Belgian dancemaker and his American collaborator.
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Title Annotation:Review; Wim Vandekeybus troupe at Lincoln Center
Author:SOLOMONS, GUS JR
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Words:460
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