Cover Image: Fractus V (c) Filip Van Roe
In Fractus several different music and dance traditions were weaved together that inevitably fabricated a very diverse performance. We witnessed Fabian Thome Duten’s flamenco dancing to African musician Kaspy N’dia, and Patrick Seebacher’s break-dancing to Japanese percussionist Shogo Yoshii. The integrity and authenticity of these musical and dance traditions were preserved by their performance ownership by artists who define themselves with the same traditions. Yet, the integration of these different traditions was a symbol of our globalized world that reflect one of the meanings of Fractus put forth by Sidi Larbi: “certain taboos are often broken these days and certain truths are undeniable, but we still miss the capacity to digest them or place them in the right context. Because of that we are often pushed into an “us versus them” mentality.”
Fractus V (c) Filip Van Roe
Overall, the music served as the force to forward motion the scenes, the transitions between one action or scene to the other, it’s not so much led by the movements but by the sounds. So often, the music provided an atmosphere and mood appropriate for a particular scene, rather than containing melodies or rhythms that the dancers danced to in direct relation. For example: the scenes were one of the dancers was saying a monologue with gestural arm and hand motions, the music was not exaggerated to leave space for the text to be highlighted.
Fractus V (c) Filip Van Roe
Besides music being a strong factor to make transitions, the set design was an architectural construction that defined the space and in consequence moved the dancers. In one scene, all the triangular pieces were being lifted from the ground one by one, limiting a solo dancer’s space, leaving him stranded on one piece. This was another metaphorical creation embodying “the fracture between the individual and society”. Another scene that seems very vivid in my memory is when some of the triangular pieces were placed vertically in a semi-circle. A dancer falls on one end, causing the architecture to collapse in a domino effect, every board making a loud sound hitting the next, all the while the music building up, until the very end when BOOM it hit a dancer sitting in a chair reading a news magazine. This was a strong visual embodying the shocking effect of experiencing propaganda and mass information.
Fractus V (c) Bettina Strenske
Fractus V (c) Tristram Kenton
I would not be the only one to argue that there were many sections of movements that were danced in unison. Although on one hand it reflected societal movements in a sense of togetherness, artistically it disengaged the audience at times, specifically due to its unnecessary long duration. One of the moments were all dancers came together was when they were sculpting themselves in tableau like style. They climbed and hung from one dancer, composing him into a greedy king with nasty facial expression, giving a physical meaning to the ways in which political leaders misuse, abuse, and manipulate common people.
*This essay was written for a class assignment as a reflection on Eastman’s performance on Novemeber 15th at the Davidson Theatre, Columbus OH.