>conjunto di nero by emio greco / pc

>reviewed by ma shaoling

>date: 6 jun 2004
>time: 8pm
>venue: university cultural centre theatre
>rating: ***1/2

>tired already? go home then
>review junkie? whitney, give them this click to sniff

>look, we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous. ****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied. * : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt, and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content, intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now? Look, at least we tried.


CONJUNTO DI NERO is a dance about dance, the subject of which strikes at the conception of time. If time is understood as movements in space, and a moving object can only be seen in light, the concentration of a dancer's visibility can shape our very perception of time itself. Under Pieter C. Scholten's direction and Emio Greco's choreography, CONJUNTO DI NERO has neither beginning nor end. The repetition of distinctively-enunicated phrases - sharp, long-held poses, bending into sudden drops to the floor; sounds of techno collage muting into silence and then arias; soft, mellow lighting that unexpectedly blow up to illuminate the stage - these are all memorable not so much in their contrasts but in their continuation and assimilation into one another.

>>'The stage lighting may be concealing some unknown presence while revealing some other presumed absence.'

Audiences enter the theatre to a background of techno stuttering and a stage cast in prism-shaped lights. A figure stands already moving her limbs with clockwork precision. Her body then unfolds through a bolder vocabulary across the stage, and while some steps are executed en pointe, the real nuances come from moves such as a simple back-arch, an arm sweep-over and deep elongations. As we keep pace with this enigmatic introduction, another timeframe seems to exist separately for the shadowy figure who emerges to mimic the soloist. But this replacement does not last long before she too drops down, and four other dancers appear to take over the dim space, which by now is made more intense with the accelerating techno beats.

Whether as a solo, pas de trois or more, it is the bodies coming in and out of Emio Greco | PC's world that form the origin and culmination of our perceptions. The stage lighting may be concealing some unknown presence while revealing some other presumed absence. But all this time, something is going on.

"The dance is not used as a medium to convey a message in a physical form," instead, "Greco and Scholten show that movement is self-sufficient and capable of creating time and space" (programme notes). Hence, when Greco appears towards the latter part of the performance in a white woven dress instead of the previous black shade, or when the lighting switches from a top-down overcast to a row of red bulbs lit from the edges of the stage, we may free ourselves from the need to dwell on the symbolic significance of colour differentiations. One critical sequence features all the dancers, who after a phrase of neat synchronisation, move freely in random positions on stage. We concentrate solely on the interplay between their individual shadows that sometimes coincide with another, between the uneven tones of darkness and lightness that are created by the frenzy of arms and limbs. Time seems to be passing incidentally as each dancer fuses his or her energy with space. In that duration, we are returned to the beginning of CONJUNTO DI NERO, which with or without us has never been hesitant to dance.