Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Dance Review: Simply Amazing, In-I at BAM

Akram Khan & Juliete Binonche, Photo by Jorge Herrera/Getty Images There is no other way to put this….. Juliette Binoche and Akram Khan put together the most amazing contemporary duet I have ever seen.

End of review.

Friday night at the BAM Harvey Theatre…. and we know I don’t even like to go below 42nd st…. let alone Brooklyn, but sometimes you have to make an exception, and for the two of them I’ll travel anywhere! …I am left in my seat amazed.

In-I is a duet directed and performed by both Binoche and Khan.  The stunning music is Phillip Sheppard.  In-I premiered at the National Theatre in London on Sept 18 2008, and a year later it is making its way around the world taking on the contemporary dance world and showing what is possible in just one hour, with only 2 brilliant performers, 2 chairs, and a wall that moves.

There is no denying the accomplishments of both of these performers in their respective fields:  Binoche, for being the world’s most influential French actress for her stunning work in everything from Blue, to Chocolat, and Khan for his work with his own dance company and commissioned works with Slyvie Guillem, Kylie Minogue and so on.  For them to come together you may think…. Juliette Binoche dancing…. Akram Khan delivering monologues???  I mean, really?  Come on! When they come together, it is absolutely magic.

Are You A Dancer?  Join iDANZ.com Today! The evening starts with Binoche entering stage a 14 year old girl having a mad crush on her partner, she follows him and makes him fall in love her. The dancing begins with him trying to escape her until the two of them are moving through floor work and jumps with every inch of their body, sweating, leaving smears of sweat on the wall, dancing with such passion you wonder how they are going to go on, but they do.  The relationship develops into the everyday angst that grows into a frustrated tense affair that breaks, but after hearing Khan deliver a monologue that bounces back and forth between two characters you are left empty and scared for him and his partner who forgives him, takes him back, only for the relationship to evolve and dissolve again until it becomes beyond abusive and you are left with Binoche mysteriously suspended on the wall that slowly moves forward through her final monologue to the audience where she finishes with feeling strangled and being strangled.  She falls to the ground where the abuse between them continues, and they part and finally come together, leaving you with longing and wonder.  It is heart breaking, frighteningly real and they leave no stone unturned in examining what can happen between two lovers that need to to be needed but refuse to accept it.

Julliette Binoche The dancing throughout is flawlessly designed and executed with a disturbingly fierce energy. There is a section between the two of them when they are chasing each other as if they are lost and searching each other out, revolving around each other, lost and connected until she finally reaches across him and stops the two of them from moving.  She is stretched out in a gorgeous arabesque across the wall and the audience stops breathing, baited and waiting to see what will happen next.  It is startling and has you on the edge to the very last light cue where it closes on the two of them slowly dancing together. They are suspended in time and space; it could be their first dance together or their last. Totes Brill, Totes Genius!

I will never forget about how this hour is spent watching two of the strongest performers I have ever had the opportunity to see live. Dance and Theatre history has been made between this unexpected union.  The BAM Harvey Theatre is very lucky to host such a performance and I am very lucky to have had the chance to witness and experience it.

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iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Dante Puleio
Performance:  In-1
Venue:  BAM Harvey Theatre
Performance Date:  September 17, 2009

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