When a dance work is replete with repetition and it feels more like a second chance to see what we may have missed, the choreographer must be commended. Also, when the dancer delivering said movement presents it in a selfless way, we should take notice. The choreographer and the dancer here is Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker who recently premiered Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind/Bach6Cellosuiten (In the Midst of Life/Bach’s Cello Suites) at NYU Skirball (February 13-15). The title translated from the opening words of a Martin Luther chorale means “In the midst of life, we are in death.” Continuing to bridge the marriage between music and dance, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras’ joined De Keersmaeker and her company Rosas in a memorable live performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Cello Suites” in Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind/Bach6Cellosuiten, but the treat was De Keersmaeker’s dancing the entire evening. There were six suites in all, and before each one, De Keersmaeker held up fingers to show where we were (one, two, three, etc.) A series of duets that morphed to solos followed, and De Keersmaeker danced a distinctively beautifully solo in all. For the most part, Queyras is positioned in different facings center stage, his sole cello very much a part of the tenor of the evening, and got each dance. Also before each suite, the dancers tape geometric patterns on the stage which they follow, or not. In sneakers and regular clothes, they energize the space, confound gravity and play with time through emotionally freeing movement filled with lush circles and unending patterns. It’s simply the magic of pure movement. Even more magical is watching De Keersmaeker’s with each dancer, finishing her part of the duet, then dashing off so that her partner would continue. Lit divisively as a way to listen more that see, in suite five we see De Keersmaeker through slits of light as Queyras plays. In the suite six the entire company, Boštjan Antončič, Marie Goudot, Julien Monty and Michaël Pomero return with De Keersmaeker and Queyras. Altogether, they are even more wonderful.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member at The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."