photo by Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soloists and Moving Masses

Being involved in two separate creative projects simultaneously is good. TOXIC and Things are in many ways each others opposites, doubles.

TOXIC is an ensemble piece in the meaning that there are no soloists. There is a continuous movement between a choir and a group of dancers. Performers keep switching and swapping roles. Things, on the other hand, is performed by a bunch of soloists that sometimes involve themselves in duets and group scenes. Considering the basic concepts in these two pieces it makes sense.

I'm wondering if the choice in its egalitarianism - in both cases - is very Finnish. And then again, maybe it is more symptomatic of the arts in our time. Contemporary performing arts rarely contain large supporting troupes anymore. A soloist doesn't need them when they have the audience to relate to. A group of people forming a backdrop for the individual artist would be redundant. (Obviously I'm sidestepping possible practical reasons, like physical resources, here.)

At this point the idea of a large 'corps de ballet' behind soloists becomes fascinating again. Class and narcissism are seen very differently from 100 years ago - or are they?

I hear that locally Catherine Galasso is experimenting with a big supporting group. I haven't seen that work yet, and don't know about the underlying ideas, but I suspect it will be interesting.

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