In a swarming mass of bodies, each person lost in their internal zones, the step-touch and tiny-groove form rules for moving. Nobody misses a beat; everybody has their eyes half-closed in a state of pleasure. They are all individuals grooving because they want to. Their clothes all beautifully tailored, a white and navy uniform. Their white shoes provide perfect support for all-night dancing. It is merely a simulation of all-night dancing, of course – a formalist, perhaps academic, study of nightlife experience. Bodies sweating and sticking to each other, the dance floor sometimes crowded and sometimes empty.
In the opening scene, the atmosphere takes some time to warm up. Tiny dots of light appear on the backdrop. The individuals seem to have been there forever, dancing this dance for all time. Like stars, they may have already died. In a state of anonymity, individuals find partners to gyrate and grind on. They suggest sexuality without losing existential aloofness. Their arms reach out to touch each other, forming webs of connection and disconnection. Sometimes they hug and dance. It looks lovely, intimate, without emotional attachment. Without reason, individuals connect, leave, and observe.
In the joy of the step-touch, step-touch hovers Ian Curtis in the background. Something seems suggested about the human struggle with nothingness — much like the three structures on stage, starbursts of light emanating from an empty zero. High art meets rock concert meets zen philosophy.
Little shifts form wider patterns as the dancing grows with the music into punches and kicks and jumps. Lines form and almost clash but don’t. The dancers allow their faces to light up in smiles. They find each other through the chaos, sure-footed in complex pathways. They do something together. They leave each other. Energy bubbles up, the three starburst structures shift. A creature emerges, and at its third appearance, the mass finally sees it. Gradually turning to confront it, each person seems almost-ready to fight. But then they change their mind and dance.
More creatures appear, but one girl removes the black hairy shell, dressed ready for a rave. She walks to a position, places shoes neatly and ritualistically, and throws herself around, possessed like a teenager dancing in front of her mirror. The generations have shifted, the dance more violent, the costumes revolted against the past. The audience loves it.
Outside the theatre, the night festival is taking place. Huge masses of people stand around with their phones recording circus acts. Without reason, we stare at men and women shouting gibberish and shift around in space. Large objects, pyrotechnics, bright lights and dramatic music pull crowds. People come and go anonymously. What took place inside the theatre seems to have mapped the outside world. The dancing is missing outside.
At Christian Rizzo’s Le Syndrome Ian, you will experience tightly-controlled choreography, with plenty of symbolism and time for you to consider your interpretations. Meanwhile, the night lives on.