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Biannual dance festival
For a quarter of a century, Lyon has hosted one of the major dance festivals in the world. This time, though, no Israeli group was among the 42 invited companies; the 1998 edition hosted five.
For this year's festival, founder and artistic director Guy Darmet focused on an intriguing motif - "Return and Advance" - highlighting how the dance world is busy with challenging and breaking previous conventions, promoting cutting-edge styles and praising artists who best portray the current, fleeting times.
Almost 20 shows in 10 days convinced me that some of the most exciting performances were reconstructions of productions from the '60s and '70, such as American octogenarian Anna Halprin's Parades & Changes (1965), which was as relevant and sassy as ever, after being banned for 20 years for its matter-of-fact frontal nudity.
Susanne Linke, a disciple of pre-war modernism emblem Mary Wigman, performed in her own reconstructed, very well-made piece from 1985 - ancient in dance terms.
Different choreographers offered different interpretations of the announced subject matter; Taiwan's Legend Lin supplied a spectacular work, rich in choreographic textures and textiles, deploying myths and rituals in a highly esthetic context. Finnish artist of great powers Tero Saarinen, in his Next of Kin, tried to revive silent horror films to heal contemporary ailments by confronting fears and haunting images which have turned clichÃ©.
A company from Burkina Faso attempted to urge young Africans to draw inspiration from leaders such as Lumumba and Nelson Mandela, while all-male Brazilian company Sociedade Masculina promoted sunshine and virility, along with a nostalgic outlook on the artistic movement known as Tropicalia, which affected Brazilian arts during the military revolution in the '70s.
And the military coup that brought to power the cruel regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge was not forgotten, either. Dance documentary Beyond the Killing Fields follows an old dancer, a rare survivor of prison camps of Cambodia's darker days.
French contemporary choreographer Angelin Preljocaj was expected to supply the wow effect with a fresh twist: a romantic ballet rendition of Snow White - Blanche Neige. Instead of seven dwarves, we got seven mountaineers and a great aerial scene.
The media was represented in Lyon in large numbers; some came for the dance, but most for the unveiling of production outfits by fashion icon Jean-Paul Gaultier. He supplied over-ambitious, outlandish costumes, but also the festival's boisterous buzz.
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