Phenomenology is the new black

LUCKY – Fucking Burn it Festival 2015 Stockholm

October 13th 2015

LUCKY

Dancer/choreography/concept: Charlotta Öfverholm

Collaborator/co-director: Dwight Rhoden

Lighting: Tobias Hallgren

Music: Alvina Lanselle

Music arrangements: Lauri Antila

Piano arrangement: Helen Olofsson

Video: Anders J. Larsson

Rope Choreography: Linnea Backgåd

Program notes:

In Charlotta Öfverholm’s one woman show LUCKY she is longing for happiness, to die young, live-forever, or maybe just in the moment. Dancing and laughing in a tragicomical landscape and letting the audience shine in the spotlights. Dance, circus, text and music is creating a performance that questions, accepts and celebrates life and what might follow. In collaboration with Dwight Rhoden, NY.

LUCKY Charlotta Ofverholm  Hakan Larsson

The performance begins in darkness, then Anders J Larsson’s film  begins, revealing a long bitumen road with white lines running down the centre and there are trees bordering this seemingly endless black line as the camera pans – it is a road to nowhere or somewhere, depending upon your state of mind. We, the audience feel we are traveling along this infinite moving pathway accompanied by anticipation; of what, we are not sure. The stage appears blank but for the moving image. There is an hypnotic nervousness attached to the imagery and it is further accentuated as we hear but cannot see, Öfverholm speak:

White Stripes in the road.

Then she commences counting down from 10 to 1 questioning:

What is important in your life?  What is happening to you? You really want to live?

Suddenly, Öfverholm is visible high up on the ceiling of the theatre dangling in a tantalising way on a trapeze, from which she then transfers to a rope, coiling herself around it like a snake capturing its prey. With each sentence she utters she weaves and then unwraps the rope which embraces her legs and torso. The lighting here accentuates her sinewy arms as they hold her body firmly and tightly as she pirouettes high in the air. She is completely in the moment, breathing in and out, exhibiting power with precision. She appears to be both controlled and out of control in the same instance with her booming voice addressing the room. One is not completely sure if the rope will hold her tiny form which heightens the anxiety. The soundtrack also adds to the tension. Her body and the music move as one, her musicality is incredible.

Then from her bird’s eye view she glides down the vertical line to the ground and begins her motif that is her signature, a collection of movements that signify her dance language, that like a skin, fit her body tightly and demonstrate so poignantly, her individuality. She darts between the squares of light on the floor dancing with force that fluctuates from jagged and spiky to beautiful lyrical movements. There is humour too, as she asks the audience to concentrate as she dons a long beige cardigan.

I can help you. I am a Doctor! Meditation!

Here she glides into a beautiful segment of languid movements displaying her control and transitions; it is a stream of continuous emotive movements, spinning, flowing, extending, falling to the floor all with speed and grace.

Canned applause starts – Öfverholm comically bows as if it is the end of the performance, then playfully thanking and gesturing and then total indifference. Slowly, she peels back her clothing to reveal flesh, first her shoulder, then thigh, then her arm. She is pensive. She removes her black waistcoat and then dives onto the floor and under a chair into the audience, like a child looking for a lost toy, only to reveal a pen. Öfverholm then handpicks an audience member to recall the happiest moment of their life and to express it by writing something on her body, an intimate act at the best of times but again she tests the bravery of the crowd.

From this tender moment she screams numerous times:

Are there any lucky people here tonight? 

Surprisingly, there are several who fit this description. The rest of us feel guilty that we have not responded.

She jests: “take off my skin and dance!

Anders J Larsson footage continues with the ocean, its waves crashing with the endless to-ing and fro-ing, acknowledging the passing of time. Once again we are in Öfverholm territory, where her performance is more than an experience, if you are here to watch be prepared to be included in the process. Each movement she makes speaks volumes, a tirade of tumbling, leaping dance sentences that seem to defy gravity. We are privy to watching a unique dancer exhibit her lifetime of technique wrapped up into one single performance and the ride is never going to be straightforward.  There is tension and fluidity juxtaposed within her body absorbing the soundtrack with every move she transitions.

The ocean footage turns red whilst her demeanour turns cocky as she struts around the floor.  She is a commanding figure, one minute the dancer, the next singing en francais like a music hall figure from the early 20th century, chiding her audience with calls of “lucky, death, life”. She removes her black trousers and proceeds to gallop around the floor like a crazy horse, one minute the rider, the next the beast snorting and head thrusting. Who is in control? Drama then comedy, she gives us commedia dell’arte in a truckload, soft steps then moving to the crescendo:

prepare to die!

In a second she is back up on the dangling rope scampering high above us chiding, stretching, spinning and demonstrating how comfortable she is either above ground or on terra firma. How can this be?

Whilst 2 black and white films shown split screen of an indeterminate  man and woman who repeat incessently:

we want to know how to live

But the theme changes – she no longer wishes to be wrapped by the rope or dangle from above, she requests and then demands:

Is there someone in the audience that could get me down?

I am serious! 

Of course the audience is confused, she seemed so comfortable in her aerial world, why would she want to be released? Her infantile pleading makes it plain, she wants out and now! Someone kindly releases her from the coils and she hardly takes a breath. Öfverholm grabs someone else from the audience whilst holding a long black piece of rope in her hand. Now what? She wraps its blackness around her torso whilst the young man holding the other end pulls the rope hard and tight anchoring her to the spot, it is now taut, still she moves with such strength and vitality. Now it is around her neck, the game is getting serious. Now she is questioning the unfortunate individual:

What are you trying to do? Are you trying to kill me?

The relief is palpable.

She moves on accompanied by the Johnny Cash song:

Ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

She circles the black lariat in her right hand with the force of a cowboy about to lasso a bull.  Again, her tremendous control and core strength are exemplified in this segment of the performance, she is daring, taunting and naturally dangerous. She dances with attitude moving at full stretch filling the stage with her presence and her gravity defying choreography .  Another change as she races with speed to find a pair of red stilettos managing to thrust one on her foot as she moves fleetingly around the stage hobbling with gusto accompanied by Frank Sinatra blasting out Lady Luck. Her musicality and humour are superb here. She seems inexhaustible and unstoppable. She is unstoppable!

Suddenly a man enters carrying a huge ladder whilst Öfverholm grabs yet another audience member to assist with the finale. She now hurls, no gentle passing, handfuls of sweets into the audience to peels of laughter and possible black eyes! She then duly climbs onto the steel structure like a sylph, stepping higher and higher to the very top only to transfer and sit with effortless ease onto the trapeze, where she is handed, somewhat cautiously, a sign displaying the word, LUCKY.

How lucky are we to see this incredible performer – lucky indeed!

The audience is rapturous with its applause – we want more!

There will be more tomorrow when she will perform ANTITHESIS with Dragon Mihalcea.

http://www.new.jusdelavie.org

http://www.dwightrhoden.com

https://vimeo.com/64492661

 

 

 

 

 

 

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