Scottish Ballet: Dance Odysseys

Festival Theatre

Mary Brennan

Im (Goldenen) Schnitt I


A man stands, all in black, at the back of the stage. Behind him, a tall, slender pillar made of wood and plexiglass seems at once ancient and modern. It glows golden. Eight more pillars - also the work of artist Vera Rohm - march across the front of the stage.

A place surely of rituals, of portals into meditations - and that, across an exquisite hour, is what lone dancer Cesc Gelabert presents. At first, his musings - in dialogue with Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Book I - measure out the geometric patternings on the stage, as if his elegant pacing and occasional stillness is a search for mankind's place in the cosmos. The second part brings him downstage, where thoughts and movements turn to a contemplation of the body.

With Gelabert framing each sequence within a different pair of pillars, the dance becomes like a book of the body, where chapter by chapter a different part of the anatomy reveals not just the intricacies of what it can do but how the shrugging of a shoulder or the thrust of a hip speaks of mindset, emotion, even ageing and death.

Every nuanced inflection of Gelabert's frame has an eloquent purity, even as he honours the original maker of the work, the later Gerhard Bohner. The film strand of Dance Odysseys had referenced the work and influences of Kurt Jooss and Mary Wigman - Bohner's choreography reflected their innovations, but Gelabert's performance is the living legacy.