HERE WE LIVE AND NOW 2018 at The Korzo in The Hague

There is something really nice about the annual Here We Live and Now event at the Korzo. The house is full of people from the local dance scene and everybody seems to know everybody else. Subtitled The Hague Dances! this joint production between the Korzo and the Nederlands Dans Theater attracts colleagues, friends and family who all turn up to see brand new pieces created by local choreographers which are performed by new, young local talent.

First up was The Others by Antonin Rioche, danced by Rosanne Briens, Kim Ceyens  and Florinda Camilleri. Strange piece this, inspired by Rioche’s discovery that our bodies are 90% bacteria and only 10% human. Using this, and the principle that two’s company, three’s a crowd, he explores the relationship between the dancers. The three girls, dressed in drab grey trousers and tops, form a triangle within an arc of floor-level live microphones, stamping their feet to momentarily stop the incessant soundtrack before moving round one place. At one point one of the performers explains the bacteria/human relationship theory. There is a lot of stillness in the piece, played against what is billed as a live composition by Niels Plotard. I enjoyed The Others but to me it was not so much dance as performance art.

The second piece, Antonin Comestaz’s Brandon was, for me the high-spot of the evening. Exploring the beauty and complex facets of individuals, the action itself is multi-faceted. As the light comes up we discover the lone dancer, the excellent Parvaneh Scharafali, lying on her back with her feet on the Korzo Zaal’s vast concrete back wall. She gets up, but her shoes remain fixed to the wall. The whole of the first segment is played in a meter-wide strip along the omnipresent looming wall. Comestaz’s own soundscape was an important ingredient in the mix ranging from middle-of-the-road pop to total silence. In fact, one of the most impressive bits was danced with a simple chair and no sound at all. This was preceded by a projection onto the stage of the famous video of a deer on a beach.

The lighting by Albert Tulling was also an integral and vital ingredient of the piece. Oddly enough, it was the simplest set-up which I almost liked most – to a rather industrial soundtrack the stage was lit by six neon tubes, three high above the stage on each side. There was also a beautiful sequence starting with a microphone swinging up and down-stage, suspended from a long cable fixed to the grid. It was all very impressive and made compulsive viewing.

The final offering was 30 by Israeli, Den Haag-based choreographer Amos Ben-Tal. The three girl and two boy dancers, all wearing blue/grey shorts and tops, started proceedings in a line diagonally across the stage performing their own moves. The piece explores time which, although hours/minutes/seconds are a universal concept, time itself means something different to each individual. During the piece the five dancers gradually come closer together until they cannot move without touching before finally settling in a classic, dice-type, five-point configuration.

The use of a hazer created a permanent atmospheric mist on the stage and again the lighting, this time by Bas Vissers, made a significant contribution.

All in all a very satisfying evening which once again demonstrates that The Hague could justifiably call itself the world capital of contemporary dance.   Michael Hasted   17th November 2018