The solo holds a unique place in the western dance tradition, as it exemplifies personal signature, movement style and self-expression – the three core elements of authorship in dance. However, many choreographers have attempted and managed to undo the logic of authenticity bound to self-expressiveness and liberate the performing body from the fundamentals of the modernist tradition.
Katerina Andreou is a rare case of dancer/performer who, despite only recently venturing into the field of choreography, has managed to create a distinct movement vocabulary which isn’t merely seeking originality for originality’s sake. Her solo BSTRD – an acronym for the word ‘bastard’ – not only debunks the dogmas of authenticity in dance by appropriating freestyle movements from the nightclub scene, but also manages to create a stage presence affirmative to feminine empowerment. Alone on a wooden platform that looks like a ring, Andreou seems to fight against the stereotypes of ‘being’ rather than ‘becoming’ on stage.
As soon as music kicks in – a beat that forces itself on both performer and audience, who nod repeatedly to the pounding of the rhythm – Andreou assumes the tempo of a fiercesome dancer; she is charged rhythmically and her body is now electrified. However, face and body are somehow desynchronised; her facial expressions seem confusing, reluctant to investigate any emotional state; or more accurately, they resist acquiring any emotional significance. Her manic elation erupts into short pauses – one might think that she’s catching her breath – but everything is neatly calculated, even when she takes her falsely sweated t-shirt off only to reveal that several layers of t-shirts are hidden underneath. Her presence is purely staged, an echoing question to all emotional precepts of her movements.
For Andreou the stage is a zone of possibilities rather than a temple to worship one’s true identity, an in-between space where she can enter or exit at will, without making any existential statement, other than that one should exercise the freedom to render perceptible the body’s endless transformations and appropriations.