Some Choreographies

Jacopo Jenna

Exploring the interface between live performance and screen dance must be an aesthetic turn-on for Jacopo Jenna. Dancer Ramona Caia’s role in this ambitious collaborative project is, he says, ‘a sensitive kinetic reflection’ of the staggering array of archival dance footage Jenna himself assembled.

Elegant in satiny white top and loose black trousers, Caia both replicates and responds to the swift stream of moving images projected onto the huge screen looming behind her. Footage ranges from contemporary or Hollywood dance icons to self-made video, global cultural ritual and glimpses of sport. Caia is impeccable, if overshadowed. There is respite whenever palate-cleansing saturated colour briefly replaces human endeavour, but Jenna’s clever, captivating dance collage ends in death.

Except it doesn’t end: an (overextended) coda finds Caia mostly prone as we watch, above her, Roberto Fassone’s series of wittily entitled nature clips.

Jenna’s work might wear out its welcome, but it has a pretty profound reach.

Donald Hutera

Some Choreographies is a series of reoccurring encounters between high art and pop culture, past and present, human and post-human existence. For Jacopo Jenna, the choreography unfolds as a series of movement-based films which dancer Ramona Caia mimics or interprets. The material ranges from archive recordings of classical ballet to universally recognizable images from television and the internet.

This is a work of impressive magnitude, rifting into and reflecting on our collective visual and kinetic memory. Traces of past series of movement are captured in a spacious and artificial media reality, and continually relived and revised on stage by the single live body of the performer.

In the second part of the piece the very same now more static body finds itself looking for points of reference to non-human choreographies of various scales – mountains, animals, blood cells. This captivating performance allowed me to wander throughout times, spaces and physicalities all made once again inhabitable, even if only for 40 minutes.

Plamen Harmandjiev

The humorous understatement of Jenna’s title is apparent within a minute. A large screen above an empty stage serves as the cinematic backdrop for a continuous, decades-spanning sequence of gestures and danced movement from TV documentaries, films, shows, the daily news, the internet. Yvonne Rainer is back to back with Masai warriors, soldiers practising martial arts, and ants carrying away a dead spider scored to a pop song. Dancer Ramona Caia picks up the imagery with soft yet precise gestures and earnest commitment, stringing them into a choreography that travels across the stage all the while shifting focus from one body part to the next – until eventually she lies flat on her back.

The cut-up technique, the wilful plundering of movement fixed on celluloid, discloses a deep passion for dance which, however, ends up exhausting the eye. Our battle with the hypnotic effect of a huge screen packed with quickly changing colours is fought all the way through, and never fully won. We’re caught up in a game of distraction, challenged like a toddler on a sugar rush.

Lea Pischke

Dancer Ramona Caia is already absorbed in movement as we enter, palms open and moving her upper torso slowly like a camera-ready fashion model. It is almost as mesmerising as the piece’s format which is structured as a snapshot-like series of videos – a love letter to all forms of dance. The work is stitched together by a myriad of mutual patterns and themes: modern dance pioneers, dance rituals, pop-cultural phenomena such as wrestling or tutorials and much more. The plethora of archival footage, no matter how grainy, awakes an almost nostalgic recognition of how deeply movement connects us. Sadly, the massive screen images swallow Caia whole. Her journey of dance karaoke soon develops into an expansion of the notion of choreography itself. A worm in soil dances as much as Martha Graham. Roberto Fassone’s high-resolution videos in the piece’s second half have the aesthetic of computer and smart-tv screensavers, displaying nature in all its glorious splendour and set to the coolest of tunes.

Some Choreographies is a brilliant comment on the attention economy of our times. I was as transfixed as when I endlessly tap through social media stories – only this is a story of movement filtered through the unique sensibility of three artists.

Berit Einemo Frøysland