Belgian choreographer’s vision is likely to make you ‘Blush’The musician and songwriter David Eugene Edwards once said about Wim Vandekeybus, “He does what he does, not stopping to think about what is proper or normal, or what people might think of him. Nothing is contrived. He is and does what he feels. Raw emotion.”
Vandekeybus, the founder of the dance troupe Ultima Vez, is presenting his latest piece, “Blush,” at LG Arts Center for a three-day engagement starting tonight. “Blush,” inspired by the classic tale “Orpheus and Eurydice,” examines temptation and the internal struggle between good and evil.
Under Vandekeybus’s direction, Ultima Vez, and some say Belgium, has become synonymous with modern dance. Vandekeybus gave up acting to establish Ultima Vez in 1985. Soon after, when he was 24, his “What the Body Does Not Remember,” called “a brutal confrontation of dance and music,” won the 1988 Bessie Award in New York. The international accolades surrounding his first choreographed piece encouraged his vision ― incredibly physical, restless and vulnerable. He collaborates with musicians to create scores particular to each piece. And he takes a cinematic view of dance. In “Dreams Are Not Your Own Dreams” (1999), he used a male-only dance team. In “Scratching the Inner Fields” (2001), he worked with a female cast.
After producing more than a dozen pieces, it seems it was time to take apart the old and come up with something new. For “Blush,” a collaboration between Ultima Vez and the Royal Flemish Theater, Vandekeybus auditioned 800 dancers to create a new team. Vandekeybus is dancing along with nine others.
“Blush” integrates video and dance. In the opening scene, dancers move across a lake depicted using multimedia. As they jump through the synthetic water, ripples spread, capturing Vandekeybus’ cinematic approach to presentation.
Supporting the movements are words spoken by Peter Verhelst, who gave “Blush” its text, and music by David Eugene Edwards, currently fronting the band 16 Horsepower. Edwards sometimes tours with “Blush,” but he will not be performing this time around.
In an interview in “Humo,” a Belgian magazine, Vandekeybus says, “I like to demolish everything and not be certain of anything, in my private life too. Of course, you have to be able to be in command of that a little ― I don’t advise unstable people to take this far.”
by Joe Yong-hee
LG Arts Center is in southern Seoul. For more information, visit www.lgart.com, www.ultimavez.com, or call (02) 2005-0114. Tickets are 30,000 won ($26) to 60,000 won.