From the programme:
(Christos Papadopoulos / Leon & the Wolf )
Upon birth, life is set into motion. We become part of a world of constant change, as infinite as time and as unstoppable as the ocean. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves, the concept of eternal flow is at the core of Elvedon by Greek choreographer Christos Papadopoulos.
Six bodies move together to an incessant thrumming beat. Driven forward by a vital, rhythmic pulse, they share a common path. Using repetition and vibrating micro-movements the dancers form subtle, ever-shifting patterns. Gradually they build towards a solid but fluid collective motion of hypnotic beauty.
Papadopoulos’ work embraces simplicity and minimalism, allowing the audience the freedom to draw their own conclusions. Set to an immersive soundtrack, Elvedon is an essential and absorbing meditation on the passing of time.
Choreographer: Christos Papadopoulos
Performers: Maria Bregianni, Epaminondas Damopoulos, Konstantina Gogoulou, Chara Kotsali, Charalampos Kousios, Ioanna Paraskevopoulou
The Waves is a 1931 novel by Virginia Woolf. It is considered her most experimental work, and consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis. Also important is Percival, the seventh character, though readers never hear him speak in his own voice. The soliloquies that span the characters' lives are broken up by nine brief third-person interludes detailing a coastal scene at varying stages in a day from sunrise to sunset.
As the six characters or "voices" speak Woolf explores concepts of individuality, self and community. Each character is distinct, yet together they compose (as Ida Klitgård has put it) a gestalt about a silent central consciousness.
All the preceding information is redundant.
The stories are supposedly translated into dance. But unless you read the programme the connection to the narrative would not be intelligible. No, even without knowing the backstory the stories are not intelligible, which is why they are redundant. I didn’t need an explanation that reminded me that I had the freedom to draw my own conclusions. I got bogged down with this artsplaining…
John Cage said ‘there is no such thing as repetition’.
He also said if something is boring for 2 minutes, do it for 4 minutes, if it is still boring then do it for 8 minutes… eventually it will become interesting. This piece proved the truth of that equation. It wasn’t boring. Yet it wasn’t fascinating either. There was an oppressive sense of predetermination. It seemed as if the weight of The Waves and an omnipotent soundtrack forced the movement into submission. The relief was in noticing what you didn’t notice. The dancers performed small minute actions and gradually spread out in multiple directions. If you followed one dancer you would miss another and the accretion of imperceptible changes offered some drawn out surprise. And despite the artsplaining, I liked that the actions of the piece spoke independently of the preface. It was just a bit two-dimensional.
Maybe I am just discovering my own bias for movement to be about movement and not primarily the translation of narrative. ‘Elvedon is an essential and absorbing meditation on the passing of time’. Firstly I was grateful for the time out from the mundane and secondly I was grateful that the show was 50 minutes long.
Martin for DRAFF