Last night I saw Bolero Variations by Raimund Hoghe. It was surprising and personal and grateful. I entered the performance not knowing what to expect but with hopes for something unique and special. What unraveled in the next two hours was unexpectedly stunning – extremely detailed simple often slow repeated movements would suddenly subvert my expectations and make me gasp. It was like Hoghe and his dancers drew out a continuous line that started before I came into the theater, periodically splintered off into me, then followed them off stage. This line probably has something to do with Hoghe’s artistic integrity – the piece was artistically “unified, unimpaired, and sound in construction” to quote the dictionary definition of integrity.
This morning, I can’t pin down the meaning of the piece but I know that in a year when I think back on it will mean something very important. Important to me as an artist, more importantly to meas a person. It’s not a performance to forget.
Leading up to the show a number of people have asked me what a dramaturge is. It is a flexible term generally referring to the individual in the theatrical creative process who does research into the history and context of a piece, often with an eye on interconnected themes and overarching quality of the production. It’s clear to me now that Raimund Hoghe is a choreographer who privileges overarching quality and interconnected meaning in his dance. He values the ritual of the moving body, “Dance is not to be wasted for it is a rare and precious gift.”
When you see it (and if you can please do) enjoy the themes. I couple of things I watched throughout the piece:
- Black on Black and White on Black and Colors in Black
- Folds in fabric and bodies
- Isolated personal journeys
- Circles and cycles
- Appearing and disappearing
The piece was also unexpectedly political. You’ll understand why if you see it.