CompagnieXY at Lincoln Center
French Acrobats Create Dance
By: Susan Hall - Jul 21, 2017
Lincoln Center Festival
New York, New York
When you take as the artistic thread of a choreographed piece the essence of who you are as a group, it can sometimes seem contrived and over-intellectualized. Not so at all N'est Pas Le Minuit by Compagnie XY. Here are a group of acrobats whose physical feats demand cooperation and trust. They take that spirit and make it into a global miniature.
As the dance opens, two, then four, then more dancing acrobats fight with each other, pushing, tripping and hitting.
The work progresses and performers will stand on each other, sometimes three humans tall. They will dive into each other's outstretched arms, counting on their safety and having their safety delivered.
Do they continue to quarrel? Occasionally. But at the end of the program, we are given the motto. "Alone you can go fast, but together you can go further."
What's interesting about using people trained in the circus is their light-hearted cooperation, their openness and spirited engagement. No black swans here.
Body types are as various as the movement vocabulary they use. Some of the women are built like the inarguably greatest female athlete of all time, Serena Williams. The thighs are big and steady and supportive. You can count on them to deliver. More balletic women have a role to play too.
Funny visuals abound. A very short girl is paired for a moment with a very tall male. His back is offered as a slide and she uses it easily, as he bends to horizontal position. Boards are used to hit the ground with their special musical sound and beat.
Matters get really loosey goosey when we appear to be in a chicken pen, clucking and flapping wing-like arms.
Partnering is most like ballet, particularly when a man and woman dance together. Yet the idea of flying, of aerial movement and high wire balance is always there.
It's hard to imagine a more successful merger of choreography, acrobatics and gymnastics. The evening at the Rose Theater was entrancing.