Ballet C de la B, Import-Export

Review in Issue 19-3 | Autumn 2007

Powerlessness. Without defence. Injustice. Cruelty. Threat. Power over others. Unfairness. Meanness. Passivity. Resilience. Powerlessness in relation to world issues and economics. Powerlessness to overcome personal problems.

What an emotional performance for the audience, who are left gasping with laughter, with tears, with anxiety, with discomfort. Yet the space, is used beautifully, the action expressing violence evoked by powerlessness skilfully and subtly offset by a stillness elsewhere. There are gruelling scenes of bullying, yet sparse cherished moments of humour. Passive bodies are flung around like cadavers. There are inexplicable scenes, where bodies move in response to who-knows-what, and tensions mount. There is an extraordinary section where a man has a roaring motorboat engine strapped onto his back.

Import/Export is performed by six international dancer-performers and acrobats (the cast including the choreographer of the piece Koen Augustijnen) who are joined onstage by the co-creator of the piece, countertenor Steve Dugardin and by the all-female Kirk String Quartet, whose French Baroque music is contrasted sharply with the contemporary electronica of Guy Van Neuten. Augustijnen has a stated interest in investigating the morphology that takes place within all these different modes of performance when they are brought together – so the quartet join in a dance, and the opera singer is there amongst the dancers too… I was stunned – this is the most powerful and absorbing work I’ve seen for a long, long time.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-3
p. 28