Monument 0: Haunted by the War (1913-2013)
A grand choreography by Eszter Salamon at the FTA
By Luc Archambault
Born out of a preoccupation regarding the history of western colonialism, Hungarian choreographer Eszter Salamon has drawn from tribalistic sources, most notably African and Asian, a choreography full of warrior-like gestures that paints a portrait of all the wars and conflicts that have marked the past century, stating in 1913. This point of view of an Eastern European is notably original and displays a certain outlook on the wall of shame built upon atrocities and violence committed in the name of an obscure ideal. And this choreography aptly serves as a witness to this sad reality.
Six dancers, two women and four men, share the stage. In solos, duos, and in various formations, they all dance as if they were under a magical spell. It is fairly easy to identify tribal dances of an African or Asiatic origin; it is a bit unfortunate that Salamon hasn’t drawn some inspiration from the Americas’ experience. Some movements are indeed close to native gestural language.
A portrait of all the wars and conflicts that have marked the past century, stating in 1913
To conclude her magnificent choreography, a majestic African dancer, wearing a white frock and large hat, and holding a tall cane with which he knocks off all the sign posts evoking the years of colonial conflicts, calls to mind Baron Samedi of voodoo fame. Some digging in this direction would be a rich discovery for the show’s continuing existence.This show, once again a magnificent discovery by the FTA team, is a North American premiere. It stems from years of research, both of body movements and of visual archives of tribal dances. In her choreographic quest, Eszter Salamon seeks to push the boundaries of a horizon that closes too easily on preconceptions, both at the corporeal and gestural level.
I cannot recommend this show strongly enough. It unfortunately ends tonight, May 31 (like most shows scheduled at the FTA that are presented for only two consecutive nights). If you are a fan of contemporary dance, it is a must.
More information at FTA – Festival TransAmériques
Images: FTA – Festival TransAmériques
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Writer and journalist, globe-trotter at heart, passionate about movies, music, literature and contemporary dance, came back to Montreal to pursue his unrelenting quest for artistic meaning.