The Quiet Dance
Abendzeitung, Munich, August 8th 2005
Slapstick – the power of destiny
Europa Dance Workshop: the first night of Burrows’ and Fargion’s The Quiet Dance in the Muffat Hall
The Quiet Dance is the title of the new choreography with which Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion are delighting their fans. Even before the first night in the Muffat Hall, there was a presentiment that the proceedings would not be quiet. It was better than that: the human voice ruled the piece.
What the intellect plans, nature knocks into shape – we know that from Laurel and Hardy, whose piano never toppled over as planned. It is the same with Burrows and Fargion: they plan movement sequences, which they perform like zealous officials but are then thwarted by intuition, which is expressed through their voices. As one performs the five prescribed steps with a turn, the other lets
out an 'Aaaaah' which somehow interferes. Only after repeated practice does the kinetic masterpiece hit home.
Unfortunately the aim of the two of them is to manage the whole thing in a synchronised style and, as in true slapstick manner, this simply does not work. An 'Hmm' continually changes the step arrangement, an 'Ha' produces new movements that do not fit into the concept at all.
The audience draws a great deal of pleasure from this. Like detectives, they try first of all to work out the connection between sounds and steps, yet unexpected turns surprise them, until they realise that Burrows and Fargion are doing the same thing: they are exploring the relationship between step and sound, between plan and intuition. The absurd ending thus appears full of life affirming humour, just like the endearing, clumsy movements of the men. If only all dance workshops could be so entertaining and clever!