3ird5@w9rk was specially made for the garden of Brussels’ Maison des Arts, where we are sat around a decorative pond, its water replaced by a silver, blue and gold striped bottom. Birds are chirping and expectations are high. High up in adjacent windows of the Maison des Arts, we notice two dancers, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Radouan Mriziga; on strains of The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’, they swoop, arms outstretched, but don’t touch.
Focus shifts to Belgian rap artist Ashley Morgan, reading a text about how we respond more to the molecular geometry of the scent of a rose than to the scent itself. It’s a clue to what happens next. Having descended, De Keersmaeker and Mriziga measure and sketch lines within and around the pond. These ritualised workings-out have become hallmarks in both choreographers’ productions and, whether you find them poetic or pedantic, reveal their shared reverence for the innate geometry of the natural world.
Again barely touching, they begin a series of movement signatures: twists reminiscent of her first choreography, Fase, propel De Keersmaeker around the inner circle, while Mriziga’s moves follow his own internal compass. Only when the two connect their circles, Mriziga on the outside and De Keersmaeker holding the centre, do my audience molecules begin to stir: something about entrustment and transmission seems to be occurring between them.
But there’s more. Mriziga looks on as De Keersmaeker, head shrouded with a scarf, half dances, half stumbles around the pond, and among us. Muffled, she recites the lyrics of Grandmaster Flash’s 1982 rap hit ‘The Message’. It’s an extraordinary moment, comfortable for no one: ‘close to the edge’, as the rapper wrote, is where the choreographers go. De Keersmaeker, risking incredible vulnerability, following Mriziga into new territory, is compelling.
It wasn’t the sumptuous celebration I was craving for my first live dance experience in six months, but I decided to view 3ird5@w9rk as a choreographic etching of what our wounded world’s been about of late, because, on a molecular level, that’s what I needed it to be.