“Where is the substance, where is the form? This question is especially pertinent to dance. Does the decor create the substance? Is the presence of humans sufficient to produce the form? Or does the substance come from a neutral presence, where any gestures that occur become the form? Another hypothesis: if mundane gestures nurture the substance, does the form then reside in the only gesture that is intentionally choreographed? Holeulone, the dance piece that won Karine Ponties the performance of the year award from the French community in Belgium, could be analysed with these questions.
The action, led by two male dancers, develops on a compact apparatus installed at the heart of the stage. The space is condensed, cramped, and intense, along a sloping frontal plane that is terraced to its summit and pierced with trapdoors. The movement is sliding, twirling, falling, for the dancers – who are alternately fabricated, then dissected, then glued – are like the possessed, frenzied, and manipulated in an underground realm that escapes from view.
Moreover, this enchanted machine is licked, bathed, drowned by a set of moving images, beautifully orchestrated by Thierry Van Hasselt. The combination of these parameters creates illusory dilution, a moving map with blurry edges. Like Sisyphus, the dancers persevere in this enigmatic trap, like bottled insects under the gaze of entomologists.
A twin relationship (read schizophrenic) sees them clinging, intertwined, then demolished. Their duet of sensual confrontation, of ardour and loss, deepens the wrench, mischievously teases or challenges, in a constant play of transformation and deformation of appearances. Karine Ponties achieves the highest echelon of otherworldliness, without ever yielding to technological artifice.”