It seems wrong to single out a highlight among so many in The Rolex Arts Weekend in Mexico City a couple of weeks ago, which included inspiring talks by Oscar winner, Alejandro G. Iñarritu and his protégé Tom Shoval and between visual artists, Olafur Eliasson and Sammy Baloji, extraordinary music by composers Kaija Saariaho and Vasco Mendonça, and lovely readings presented by the Literature pair Michael Ondaatje, Miroslav Penkov and the actress/ex mentor Kate Valk.
But one performance blew our collective Proudfoot minds. Interestingly it was a collaboration between the dancer / choreographer Myles Thatcher and his fellow Rolex Protégés; architect Gloria Cabral (Mentor was Peter Zumthor) and lighting designer, Sebastiàn Solorzano Rodriguez (Mentor was Jennifer Tipton). Myles actually presented five of his dance pieces – all of them were terrific. Anyone who thought they might not enjoy ballet would have been entertained and transported into their multi linear narratives by Myles’ wonderful choreography.
The piece that really rocked was Thatcher’s latest, Body of Your Dreams,
which was so new, Myles and his troop had only just finished it in rehearsals leading up to the performance.
Body Of Your Dreams begins with Gloria Cabral’s intriguing set flat against the backdrop with no clues that it will soon fold out to create multiple landscapes, psychological interiors and dimly realised mirrors for Thatcher’s body obsessed dancer/characters to check out their silhouettes. The soundtrack (by Andrew Russo) is an amphetamine paced, modern classical piece, combining madcap piano arpeggios and mashed up spoken word snippets, that sound as though they have been nicked from fitness videos. Myles’ stellar dancers, colleagues from the San Francisco Ballet, perform multiple roles, telling mini stories of the highs and lows of the exercise obsessed – the piece has an underlying erotic charge but it is one that appears to be driving us toward a tragedy, one that will repeat itself over and over. I think I saw references to anorexia, body dysmorphia and the fear of rejection. Body of Your Dreams has been created by someone who has been up-close-and-personal with its main themes, and is not entirely happy with what he sees. The piece is an expression of the modern urban landscape, how we are seen in it and how important it is for us to look the way we are told to look. And if we look a certain way, don’t we need to move in a certain way too?
Long after Body of Your Dreams has finished you are left with its multi layered ideas, we saw it three times and were still spotting new things – but the piece is carried on an incredibly entertaining wave, it’s ballet but in places it has the cues and pace of a Bob Fosse musical routine.
At the conclusion of Body of Your Dreams we are left to rest, to breathe, as a dancer makes her way to the top of a slow motion giant created by the supporting bodies of the ensemble – has she achieved the “Body of Her Dreams”? For the time being maybe but there is a sense that we are in a continuum and soon the piece will loop and start again and again, as in life.
Myles Thatcher is only in his mid-twenties, so look out for him, as surely he will go far.
We soon hope to have a clip of Body of Your Dreams which we will also share.
In the meantime Seasons Greetings to all our loyal readers.
Michael P, 18th December 2015