Over the last decade, choreographer Xavier Le Roy has opened up new perspectives in the production and presentation of dance. His work experiments with everyday bodily movements to highlight the idiosyncrasies of the human body, modes of audience address and the incorporation of the visual arts into performance.
His fascinating Retrospective at the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona presented a history of his choreography as interpreted through its performers. As visitors entered the space, six dancers announced the visitors’ presence by making a buzzing noise, turning to look at the visitor, and then running away, only to return again to begin solo choreographies in separate areas of the space. During these one of the dancers would approach the visitors saying, “Welcome to my retrospective. ” The dancer then explained, while dancing, how the dance connects to their own history and experience of dancing.
These semi-staged conversational performances about their personal and physical connections to Le Roy’s choreography were developed during the run of the exhibition into personal retrospectives by each dancer. Shared with the audience, these engaged the viewer to question static divisions between theater, dance, and art; individual and community; and past and present knowledge.
Further attempting to engage the audience, visitors were invited to a lower floor where they could talk to a dancer or watch an archive of Le Roy’s dances. Another work on view was a figure in the dark that further raises issues of representation, and how to construct alternative ways of experiencing performance.
Tricia Van Eck is an independent curator and Artistic Director of 6018NORTH in Chicago.