30.04.04

Tove Ellefsen Lysander

DANCE HEAVEN ABOVE BERGEN


A human chain wriggles along the white floor of Moderna Dansteatern. The members of Baktruppen cling to eachother with arms and feet. The last one is the only one whith his legs free to push forward. When the chain has wriggled out through the door, he returns to put the lights off.

Bergen is often considered to be the home town of Norwegian modernism, and Baktruppen to be one of Scandinavia's leading performance groups. Yesterday they got the honour of opening the celebration of the Day of Dance at Moderna Dansteatern. The etude they presented has no name yet, but follows up their previous success Do&Undo, where the members helped eachother out of knots, and keeping together at all costs was the issue.

What the issue is this time, I would not say, but simply report that I have never seen anything like it. The seven performers are not dancers, but they sure do move, in a lively, absoloutly off-beat way and still strangly rhythmic, with somersaults, sprawling arms and movements which for certain end somewhere else than one would expect.

It is easy to admire a playfulness that with anarchist precision manages to steer clear of any approach to dicipline or demands for completion.
Still, with such a conscious impulsiveness, the risk of ending in manierism is obvious.
 
Baktruppen also get away with it by their physical presence being so conspicuious. To moan out of breath, have a gulp of water or make the audience whistle The Girl from Ipanema doesn't quite belong to the everyday world of dance.

The long, meditative last sequence where the group sit as on a bed of white smoke to the scattered sound of bow and arrows instruments is very beautiful. Suddenly they and we are resting together in a Bergenian version of heaven.