MELISSA PASUT / JOHN DUNCAN – The Seed At Zero

Anoikis

Italo-American Pasut is a choreographer and dancer who transcends strict definitions. In her bodily actions, she seems to have absorbed numberless influences and experiments, many of which touch on intimate issues of being. Through an unrepressed physicality – enhanced by a pronounced, if sinewy musculature – and a gamut of expressions that make the most of a constant alteration of the tension/release ratio, this woman denies the existence of corporeal limits while retaining a unique grace. This set – recorded at Bologna’s Spazio Sì in 2010 and coming on a modest DVD-R – consists of two separate creations, both deserving of wider attention and a richer production.

“Transfiguration Of A Shattered Mass” finds Pasut accompanied by Aleksander Gabrys on double bass and Andrew L. Hooker on electronics. We’re willing to believe that everybody improvises here, yet there are definitely pre-conceived designs in the terpsichorean performance, which is impressive. A bionic spider hybridized with an over-evolved athlete, the protagonist succeeds in depicting the passage of an entity from a shapeless state to a meaningful definition. In the semi-obscurity of a Spartan stage, oblique lights exalt her contours, giving life to a mesmerizing presence/absence seesaw. The music is, for the large part, uncompromisingly dissonant; the combination between Pasut’s intensity and certain piercing timbres is quite inspiring.

“An Open Area Inside The Mountain” is a moving duet by Pasut and husband John Duncan, dealing with reciprocal discovery, acceptance, physical and spiritual union and the way in which, sometimes, playing together and fighting are so very close. Duncan inserts elements of yoga and theatrical figurations in an act that also comprises dual interaction on instruments built by himself: a resonating long string and a wheel activating clattering sticks. I’m not an expert in the history of dance and theatre, but what’s sure is that an expression used by Keith and Julie Tippett – “couple in spirit” – is exactly what transpires from this striking moment of human art. That which, devoid of flash and self-aggrandizement, provides the sort of emotion which truly conscious men and women urgently seek throughout their lives.

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