Culture & Conversation

Walking Distance

For choreographer Sharon Eyal, walking is the new dancing. Corps de Walk, performed here by the Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance, Carte Blanche, redefines the mundane act with sharp, rigid lunges and robotic arms. Dancers wear flesh coloured body stockings and ice-blue contact lenses, marching in unison like an army of goose stepping zombies.

Corps de Walk eradicates the naturalness of walking, replacing it with something all together inhuman. With marching legs, stiff torsos, nervous head twitches, and sweeping arms, Carte Blanche’s dancers are highly trained automatons: a new race to be reckoned with. Forming two orderly lines, they move with military precision and authority, propelled forward by blaring techno beats. Costumes emphasise their power and athleticism; dancers are walking flesh but reveal little sensuality.

The structure of Corps de Walk is impressive, to be sure, with humorous subtleties to be found. A spirited jump from Simbarashe Norman Fulukia sent him up and out of the huddled group, breaking momentarily with the heavy militant rhythm; Caroline Eckly, pressing her finger suggestively to her mouth, seemed to beckon with a secret. Clearly certain expressions were cued to steps. At one point, the cast all bit their lips in unison, at another they smiled, stiffly, as if for the first time. Some dancers played up the zombie act more than others, and those that did were more intriguing. Such touches gave personality to an otherwise mechanical and faceless group – touches reminiscent of the Batsheva Dane Company, from which Eyal hails.

For the most part, however, Corps de Walk feels loud and flashy, with little substance. After a certain point the pounding music became oppressive and the steps monotonous enough that it felt there was little left to say.

 

Corps de Walk, Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, Carte Blanche

Danse Danse, 28 February, 1, 2 March @ 8 pm


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