Danish Dance Theatre ‘Enigma’, ‘CoDance’, and ‘Kridt’

I have been introduced to the world of dance (since Strictly Come Dancing is not a valid first meeting,) through a performance given by the Danish Dance Theatre. Enigma, CoDance and Kridt – a blend of contemporary and ballet – were not performances governed by colour, elaborate scenery or costumes (the male dancers appeared to be wearing pyjamas); but of dance in its purest, utterly unequivocal form – no ornamentation, no flourishes, just crisp, fast-pace, unconceivable flexibility, and creative movement.

Enigma, the first of the three twenty minute sets, was a routine with the same imagination as Dali’s vivid dream. In places it was simply surreal, with costumes and movement like spiders or ants scurrying across the stage.With a dramatic narrative, and frequent surprises – as does the enigmatic – it was perhaps the most tense-making of the three. This intensity was echoed in the tightly held positions and severe stares – the women often appeared like a creature somewhere between a machine and a porcelain dolls. Despite such incongruence, a strong motif unified the complex choreography made of four intertwining couples. These reoccurring patterning was to represent a code produced by an encryption device called ‘Engima’, utilised by the German army in World War II. Appropriately then, this was a highly rhythmic, and fast-pace dance.

CoDance was in stark contrast to Engima. This narrative of testosterone from a prison playground, came to shift the atmosphere dramatically, and immediately after the introduction of a tribal drumbeat. Instead of the music simply supported the dance, this beat became the rhythm for the male dancers to imitate with their bodies. The couples (two drummers, two dancers) represented steep competition, and so were aptly presented as though in an army line-up. As the drummers interweaved more and more complex rhythms, building energy to its solid foundation, so two more dancers, and then another, joined to mimic the dancers before, much like a round and as the one drummer had done to the other. This was music and dance applauding each other to a maximum effect.

Kridt was perhaps the most impressive, with further on stage delights to enhance its imaginative choreography – chalk, and a blackboard the width of the stage that formed its backdrop. All elements of the dance’s design served to emphasise contours. The opening riff was created by a lyrically performed writing of an incomprehensible sequence of letters on the blackboard – as each one was written it bore a different pitch and rhythm. It was ingenious. There was a certainly to this dance exemplified by the writing on the wall that was to illustrate the permanency of the past. This story looked back on past events, replaying memories that were inseparable from emotions of intimacy and shame. New lines and marks such as outlines of once present people were added across the course of the dance. And so we were reminded of death’s imminence. It is no surprise, further reinforced by soaring strings, that love and loss are the persisting themes from the text of Ecclesiastes, of which it was based upon. In terms of the original narrative, and the routine’s depiction of it, this was the most powerful of all the dances.

One further point on the last dance is that Art has a profound ability to reach to our heart and soul, and so dance is no exception. Kridt was compellingly worshipful at the nature of its dance. (This is separate from the fact that its subject matter was taken from the Bible) I sensed the spirituality in it, before I read about it. This was a matter of experiential knowledge – the practice of which is a whole spiritual necessity in itself.


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