Les Ballets C de la B, Ashes

Review in Issue 21-3 | Autumn 2009

Well, what’s going on here? Belgian ‘new build’ houses, a white beach hut, an orange parasol. A scattering of dancers, giving in to gravity, slithering; bodies broken, like angular fish out of water. A lady in blue with a very large and dynamically animated bottom. Beautiful live music (cello, violin, accordion) and two opera singers…

The main theme of Ashes is impermanence. Nothing is forever. How to deal with that? The beginning is chaos, disharmonic and apocalyptic – a cacophony of lost souls. Each dancer has a moment in the performance where they are tormented. The middle section is about relationships. The disenfranchised souls struggle. Attempts to make contact dissipate into frustration or fights. The two singers are the storytellers; songs of unresolved love, and death. The music brings hope and beauty.

Star of the piece is Gael Santisteva. My eyes kept going again and again to him. There is the surprise of a trampoline built into the balcony and an excellent acrobatic sequence. Ashes has so many performers, I question if some of them were superfluous to the piece – there’s rather too much flapping around! The music (Handel) is so beautiful that at times I want the dancers to quit so that the space is still. The last section shows the characters attempting something together. I felt moved by the final beautiful floor pattern of rolling side to side. A tide, waves of humanity. Sometimes in unison, one breaks out, to then recapture the unison of rhythm. Mortality and how to find a resolution; an acceptance that something or somebody is lost; a sea of souls.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-3
p. 30