BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House. Friday October 27th, 2023.
Welcome back friends!
Welcome this week, to the dazzling world of dance, performed at BAM’ (the Brooklyn Academy of Music) “Next wave 2023”, as part of “Dance Reflections”, a wonderfully eclectic dance festival, sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels.
And welcome to an “out of the box”, truly incredible, unique, super athletic, almost magical, poetic, joyful, optimistic, beautiful, connected, and thrilling “aerial dance” multimedia work, choreographed by acclaimed French-Moroccan dancer and choreographer, Rachid Ouramdane, also, since 2021, director of “Chaillot”, Théâtre National de la Danse, a major dance theater in Paris, France.
So welcome to Ouramdane’s wonderful “Corps Extrêmes”, an “aerial dance” work, blending “on stage” rope walking, dance, acrobatics, rock climbing, to “projected” film footage, (including voice overs), from “extreme” sports artists, set to a gorgeous, meditative, guitar score by Jean-Baptiste Julien.
And who are these “extreme” sports artists ?
There is one who was particularly outstanding, truly awesome, and an almost, “extra-terrestrial like” artist. Meet Nathan Paulin (wearing a red t-shirt), a “high liner”/ “rope”/”wire walker”.
Extra-terrestrial like, because of his (Paulin) incredible, supra-human, capacity for hyper focused attention, his unique relationship to nature, especially towards the “wind”, which he views, not strictly as an element, but rather as a friend or a foe.
Extra-terrestrial like as well, because of his (Paulin) almost supernatural/ “out of this world” confidence, while facing huge and incredibly dangerous “void filled”, and yet gorgeous natural mountain sites.
Wow! And yay!
And finally, interestingly, Paulin as a “high liner”/ “rope/wire walker”, holds the record for the longest high line walk, and explains (in one of the voice overs) of one of the projected films, that his outdoor “line/wire walking” allows him to get in touch with emotions and consciousness states that are incredible, and difficult to articulate or formulate with words, and which seem (these emotions and consciousness states), to profoundly fill him with incredible happiness.
Wow! And yay!
We also got to see perform on stage, two wonderfully talented rock climbers, and we got at one point, to admire another film projection, of one of the rock climbers, explaining in a voice over, how she gets in touch with incredible feelings of freedom and serenity, which help her tackle everyday life “challenges”.
Wow! And yay!
And finally, we also got to “meet” on stage, in addition to these aforementioned and formidable “extreme” sports athletes, seven astounding acrobats. All amazing, all beautiful, and all incredibly concentrated, yet relaxed, super aware of their space, and visibly incredibly supportive of each other.
Wow and yay!
Each with their own “flair”, and unique and incredible feats of weightlessness.
Wow and Yay!
What a treat to admire all of these “extreme” sports artists, who were visibly all, incredibly happy, strong as “oxen”, and yet, light on their feet, hugely agile, hyper focused, and especially, and in a very visceral way, and at all times, hyper attentive to one another, to allow each other to create, sometimes as soloists, sometimes in small or large group, awesome, jaw dropping, superb, weightless, gravity defying, dangerous looking, and always, always, always, incredibly uplifting, truly connected, and wonderfully seamless “aerial dancing”.
Wow and yay!
Let’s now, finally take a look at a short and thrilling trailer of “Corps Extrêmes”, performed at BAM’s “Next Wave 2023”:
So incredibly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and always poetic.
What to say of the production?
That the simple, frill-free, “in your face”, staging of “Corps Extrêmes”, was literally breathtaking and highly energizing. Whether the audience was watching projected footage (on a rock climbing wall), of awesomely beautiful and dangerous outdoors “rope walking”, with comments from the “walker” himself, Nathan Paulin, as mentioned above, either “walking” and sometimes “bouncing” in incredible landscapes above huge amounts of void, or whether watching him, do it again on stage, on a “wire”, above the rock climbing wall; first alone, and then alongside acrobats creating at times, giant human moving “creatures”, built gracefully and almost magically, once he settled on his “wire”, like a bird.
Everybody in the audience, was barely breathing, super focused (in less athletic ways but truly present), and of course, totally blown away.
And what especially struck me, in addition to the hugely graceful movements from all these terrific, happy athletes/dancers, as mentioned, was the visible, almost palpable, and joyful attentiveness throughout the entire show, of the performers to each other, not only to ensure each other’s safety, but also to allow each and everyone, to shine as brightly as possible, for the audience’s huge pleasure.
Wow! and yay!
So, to sum up my feelings, about “Corps Extrêmes”, performed beautifully by a few incredibly gifted and sunny “extreme” sports artists, to an incredibly original, intimate, joyful, happy, poetic and moving choreography, by Ouramdane, and discovered a week ago, in great company: what extraordinary, truly “out of the box”, optimistic, gorgeous, breathtaking, out of this world, and especially uplifting, almost fraternal, and incredibly connected “aerial dancing”, set to a stunning and meditative guitar score.
Not to be missed, when I hope they will soon, tour again!
Until next time friends, after Thanksgiving!
Eternal butterflies 😊