Review: Gintersdorfer/Klaben in Logobi 05 at Gate Theatre

Performance: 24 & 25 October 2011
Reviewed by Sam Gauntlett - Thursday 27 October 2011

'Logobi 05'
Photo: Knut Klaban

Reviewed: 24 October

Franck Edmond Yao and Richard Siegal are stretching on the floor of a small studio theatre above a pub in Notting Hill and Siegal is chatting casually with us as though we are well acquainted, while we look on, unsure whether the performance has started yet. It feels as though we are sharing the studio floor with them, such is the intimacy of the modest space, which helps to set the tone for the interactive nature of the piece.

More a presentation or musing on the differences between African and European dance and culture than a dance performance, _*Logobi 05* _was created by Monika Gintersdorfer and Knut Klaben, although this is hard to believe, as the performance feels like an improvisation, or even just a conversation. Siegal does most of the talking and translates Yao’s French as they engage in a philosophical debate about the nature of dance and what it represents, demonstrating with their bodies. Themes explored include symmetry – how it is central to European dance, yet non-existent in African, repetition and the need for or pointlessness of it and direction – where we go and why.

The most compelling discussion, though, hinges on European culture – London is used as an example – and how life centres on rushing from one place to another, without us being conscious of what we are doing or why. In illustration of the points he is making, Yao represents a series of actions in the form of the Ivory Coast street dance form, Logobi. He lifts his leg to the front, then the side, over and over, he mimes brushing his teeth, combing his hair and sitting in front of a computer, typing and repeats the movements in a pattern that always ends with him throwing himself to the floor to sleep, before getting up to do it all over again. The observation is perhaps a simple and obvious one, but the execution is compelling and funny, with Yao not once breaking into a smile, so earnest in his descriptions.

For the majority of the piece, Siegal appears to be watching Yao and attempting to learn from him, but he also encourages him to point his toes and elongate his movements in the European style and tries to explain the benefits of repeating small movements over and over so that “you feel things that you didn’t know were there.” The piece finishes in a similar way to the way it begun – with no obvious signifier, so that we only realise we can applaud when they take a bow and I go away feeling more like I had just an interesting discussion with a friend than had seen a performance. In a good way.

Part of Dance Umbrella 2011
1 – 29 October **”“:

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