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Dancers bobbed on the spot to house music.
SIFA 2017

Club dancing distilled with style

Sep 1, 2017 5:50 AM

IF there's a dance to send you into a trance, it would be Christian Rizzo's Le Syndrome Ian. The set and the dancers create a "mood piece" which could ease you into la-la land, if it wasn't so stylishly beautiful to look at.

The last in a series of three dances investigating dance practices, Le Syndrome Ian harks back to Rizzo's own memories of clubbing in London in the late 1970s, his memories saturated with the music of British band Joy Division and its lead singer Ian Curtis. Rizzo, who is now the director of the International Choreographic Institute in Montpellier, France, was in his early teens at that time.

For most of the piece, the company of dancers do heel steps, swaying right and left, tapping their toes behind them, or bobbing on the spot to house music. Sometimes they avoid contact with one another, other times they pair or triple up.

Other portions of the dance feature sudden bursts of energy as dancers gather to create complex contact moves. Rizzo's discipline in keeping his choreography solely around clubbing moves is commendable as it is a joy to see the dancers' hypnotically graceful moves.

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The effect is multiplied in the dim-lit set, illuminated by three movable panels of starbursts. The star structures also spew out smoke, adding to the atmosphere.

It would have been interesting to see the first and second instalments of the trilogy, which focus on folk dances and partner dances respectively. Rizzo definitely has an eye for distilling their core movements and the confidence to let them take centrestage without necessarily deriving other movements from them.

The ending seems to reference singer Curtis who suffered from epilepsy and committed suicide at the age of 23. The blackouts and dread he experienced are personified by several dark, hairy creatures that slowly come onto the dance stage. From there, as most of the dancers leave the floor, a sole dancer's movements gets more and more frenetic before she finally collapses.

READ MORE: Why Van Cleef & Arpels loves dance