We’re closing project ROOM FOR Festival TSEKH’14 by Natalia Skulakova’s review of the last performance presented at the festival, “Tarab” by 7273 Company (Switzerland).
Vigor, power, and audacity. A frenzy of colors, daring fantasies, equilibrium, and elasticity. Kitsch. That’s not what “Tarab” is about. No meniscus torn in ecstasy, no rotations of the left eye’s pupil, not even a third-rate video installation has been slapped together by the Swiss company 7273. No conversation with the audience? Not even a confetti toss? What a bore! A rush of stark honesty. Towards movement and the audience.
Purity. There’s just a ray of light and a sound. And a girl in the centre of this sound is moving with every cell of her body, from fingertips to… fingertips. And gradually everybody gets sucked into this funnel. There’s no violence, the audience willfully steps into the abyss with the words: “Here I come!” A meditation. The language and aesthetics of Arab music in the context of contemporary dance.
The description of the piece mentioned special effects such as: coffee and cardamom aroma, sounds of Oriental bazaar and physical sensations of a summer day in Cairo. That’s quite a claim considering the fact that there’re no backdrops or air fresheners, and the door to the snack bar was tightly closed, for the experiment to be fair. With a stroke of a hip in the air the piece acquired taste, smell, and color. And the perfume the girl next to me was wearing seemed to be giving off a heavier, more pungent scent. Even the most thick-skinned were drawn into the game “Spend an hour in Cairo”.
There’s a belief that to be on trend today one has to continuously invent a new dance vocabulary, patching up flaws in one’s imperfect choreographic language. Turns out you might leave alone the patent office and figure out how your current “wheel” works. And finally get a thrill out of movement, without trying to drill your philosophy into your audience’ brain that’s already overloaded with rubbish. The ensemble of contemporary dance and Arab song did “get a thrill”. Without losing touch with proportion or collapsing into monotony and humdrum. Soothing the audience on the waves of soft motions, making it feel “just good” because of this swing, instead of perplexed or seasick. And as this “spontaneous speaking” went on, the festival headliners did come up with “the vocabulary of their own” and its active (expressive?) part.
Interacting with the audience occurred, too. It’s been a gentle exchange using energy-saving technologies. No firing in the air, no buzz or fuss. “The Orient is subtle” sort of thing. No need for scathing glares at the audience, petrifying everything that’s alive. No need for “working actively” with the audience’s perception to shake up these lazybones sitting back in soft chairs. With your eyelids closed, you can dance, turning inside yourself. And that’s also got a peculiar allure. Probably that’s why after having seen “Tarab” the audience members descended the stairs of Meyerhold Centre quietly, not to spill out the “just good” feeling they had got.