In his new work Opus, Christos Papadopoulos has taken his experiments in movement a step further by using familiar motifs such as repetition and the elemental positioning of an individual within a group, and by gradually amplifying and intensifying his choreography through the prism of Bach’s music. Indeed, for this particular choreographer, rhythm is not only a structural unit upon which movement is based, but is essential to the unfolding of time, rendering sound spatially constituted.
Papadopoulos, in quest of the dialectic between duration and movement, essentially offers an insight into the significance of discontinuity in the articulation of time. Four musicians (violin, cello, flute, bass clarinet), and four dancers embodying the role of each instrument, pursue a live dialogue on stage. The imprinting of the rhythm on the dancers’ bodies – made visible through sharp movements, focused primarily on the upper torso, the pelvis and the arms – demonstrates the formation of melody through single elements of sound, or correspondingly, illustrates how fragments of movement are shaped into choreography. But this process doesn’t evolve instantaneously; the ‘hesitating’ of time, resulting from the gaps in music and the halts in motion, invites the viewer into an experience of deep listening, into a vacuum where time becomes the centre of creation.
As if they were strings, the dancers’ bodies begin to pulsate, imitating the production of sound; each member suspends to a halt after moving, reaching a lifeless equilibrium until the next stimulus. Our ears pick up the sound vibrations, but our eyes – through the movement of the dancers – turn them into moving material. Sound does not disappear into itself or dissolve into immaterial abstractness; it becomes tangible by being embodied, it is visually carved as multiple trajectories in space, confirmed through the body’s muscular reactions. Each dancer becomes the equivalent of a musical instrument, the visible memory of music in space, thus making apparent the dialectic between time and duration. It is a peculiar transcription – that of the embodied sound – which becomes not only visible but also unmasks our often muted vision, echoing deeper in our souls.