Drumming / Fragments
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La Fabrique

Parts © Anna Van Waeg
Parts © Anna Van Waeg


CN D Pantin

Drumming (1998) is one of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s most fascinating shows; it is a choreographic explosion coming from Steve Reich’s powerful percussion score. The music of this New York minimalist was already the leading light of her first show Fase (1982). Reich wrote Drumming in 1970-1971, shortly after a research trip to Africa. The score manipulates a single, obsessive rhythmic motif, which is multiplied and deployed in a rich variety of textures in which skins, woods, metals and subtly shadowy chants all contribute. Here, Reich pushed to a limit the techniques of Piano Phase (the music of Fase): the musicians separate their unisons via insensible accelerations, thus producing infinite glittering canons. In her choreography, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker takes the score even further, while respecting its spirit: the choreographic complexity germinates from a single danced phrase, submitted to a multitude of mutations in time and space. It is only after the percussions have fallen silent and the bodies become immobile that the spectators realise what they have just experienced: an astonishing journey, a wave of sounds and dance in a total purity, a whirlwind of life’s energies. For six weeks, the students of P.A.R.T.S. worked on Drumming. Divided into three groups, they learned different parts of the choreography and built up their own material based on the phrases and structures of the original piece. Marta Coronado, Ursula Robb, Taka Shamoto and Clinton Stringer, four former dancers of Rosas –Anne Teresa De Keersmaker’s company – guided them during this apprenticeship. Each group has dealt with a different aspect of Drumming; Steve Reich’s rhythmic motifs being the framework making possible an explosion of pleasure in dance and the appropriation of complex structures.