Sunday, November 29, 2009

One out of four is good

Firsts is an amazingly versatile festival for young and emerging artists that takes place annually at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Beautiful place, smart initiative and last but not least, great prices for poor students. It is a tough job choosing what to see in London: no doubt there is always the embarassment of choice, but you know there is also a high risk of ending up in a naff show, with a touch of obvious, unvoluntary amateurism and bad taste. Well the risk is worth taking anyhow.

On Tuesday night there were four performances presented, and for me one of them definitely stood out by far from the rest for professionally carried out work and attention to detail.

Finnish Ilona J√§ntti, aerialist, presented Elsewhere, a short performance that combined aerial dance with video animation. Although simple in structure, the piece was visually very interesting and complete, the body language of the dancer and the video became the protagonists of the story. It showed that the animator (Tuula Jeker) had closely worked with Ilona during the creation of the work, so that the two elements fused perfectly together. Probably this is very often taken for granted in performance, but it's seldom that you see a performance where elements of different nature (for example 3D and 2D) are combined in a smart way, where they make sense together, even though different media is used in different ways.

The attention of the relationship between video and body reminded me of the work I did with Collettivo Almagesto in the past year, and it's definitely something to continue researching on.

Firsts was on for several nights, and each one offered a few short performances. Quarter to half hour really seems the best duration for a performance. You are sure to have the audiences' attention. If you go over that you really need to have something extraordinary to show to keep spectators satisfied (if you wish).

I would love to participate in Firsts 2010 and as this year we are embarking on a number of different projects at Wimbledon, who knows, maybe the VLP group could be on stage at the Royal Opera House next year...

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