May 25, 2015 21:00
Rayon X arose from a shared interest in the field of danced expression, a field usually neglected by official culture and connected to those forms of “light” repertory where desire and eros are at the heart of the vision, and these are presented again today with the new season of Burlesque.
In Paris in 2009 Karine Saporta was working in her space, Le Dansoir, opposite the Bibliothèque Mitterand on the banks of the Seine, in a space alluding to the world of music hall even in its architecture. There she set her name to La Maison Chéri-Chérie: “In her own way, determinedly contemporary, Karine Saporta here borrows the codes of erotic entertainment in order to confuse them… Far from the outdated feathers and spangles of the Music Hall, at times the choreography does however delightfully evoke the heritage of the “effeuilleuses” (strip-teasers) of the early twentieth century, and it intelligently multiplies the innuendoes that used to send pleasure-loving Paris into ecstasy. However, the show is not entirely based on playful recollections of erotic dancing; it works ceaselessly on subversion, moving from the unlikelihood of the show to human, too human, likelihood.”
In a shop selling erotic articles, a lady keeps obsessively retracing her steps to relate to a salesman who wants to sell her items to make her feel better, or even to reveal her to herself. An ironical reflection on eros and gender, on tiptoe in a choreography presented in separate scenes.
Right from the start the title announces a dimension that will be both ironical and exact.
The most precise meaning of the phrase is in fact the department for adults, a place where they can buy all the most incredible fantasies of the imagination. The setting alludes to a sexy shop and the relation created between a customer in a dreamlike state of anxiety and a salesman, who play at selling and re-selling their own visions of the body, in a blaze of rich prizes and surprise gifts.
Twelve situations connected to dreams, visions, representations and stereotypes, all cheerfully called into question. The material used in the creation is mainly from the music hall, the review and the cabaret: forms of stage art, short and sometimes very short, based on the structure of the “number”. This is a theatrical moment which apparently terminates with its own end, yet connects to what has gone before and what will come after, therefore setting up a tension between the different moments of creation in which we hear echoes of Josephine Baker, Mistinguett and Tempest Storm.
If on the one hand the sparkle of spangles has accompanied light entertainment from the beginning of the last century until today and turned its protagonists into shimmering symbols of vanity and splendour, on the other it has established its own popular essence of simple entertainment, thus taking the female figure to the height of vulgarisation. In this sense, a reference point in stage thought is Valerie Solanas’s famously extreme text, SCUM, in which the American writer, best known for the notorious attempted murder of Andy Warhol, gave a totally lucid analysis of the man-woman relationship after ’68 in terms of terrible clairvoyance. A work, therefore, halfway between the fun of ancient entertainment situations and the gap of an acute reflection on the representation of the body today.
Exposed, eroticised femininity is always subject to outrage and indecency, as in the Parisian salons of the early twentieth century, in any case in tune with the official culture of that time.
If seduction arouses desire, seduction is an individual, inner force moving on a razor’s edge, on the precipice of nature, among the pleats of a blouse, in the dawn of a smile, in the movement of a foot, in the flashed hollow of an armpit.