Ballerina Traverses Piano Wearing Sharp Kitchen Knives

perezperformance2 Ballerina

perezperformance4 Ballerina

EN PUNTAS (extracts) from Javier Pérez on Vimeo.

Javier Pérez’s video, En Puntosfeatures a ballerina who puts on a pair of pointe shoes that are extended by a pair of sharp kitchen knives. Once she has the shoes on, she begins to balance herself on top of a grand piano, the tips of the knives scratching, scraping, and cutting the surface of the piano. At times, she finds herself on the edge of the piano, and she yelps as she struggles to keep her balance and maintain her strength. At the end of the video, the curtains close on her “performance” in an empty theater. Meant to resonate with the idea of a music box, Pérez’s video captures the fragility and discipline embodied in ballet, while also demonstrating the vulnerability and despair brought to stage performance in general. Also apparent is a delicate violence that makes you wince as the ballerina traverses the piano’s surface.

“Through this work, Javier Perez investigates and reflects once again upon the human condition. Using a strongly metaphorical language rich in powerful symbolism, he reveals the weaknesses that become the boundaries between seemingly irreconcilable concepts such as: beauty and cruelty, fragility and violence, culture and nature or life and death.” (via)

Michael Clark

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about dance, especially when it comes to ballet. I am, however, a huge Fall fan, which led me to these videos of choreography by Michael Clark, a British dancer who famously shook up the modern dance world by staging avant-garde productions often set to experimental or post-punk music. These clips come from a 1988 ballet called “I Am Curious, Orange” which was scored entirely by The Fall. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been much proper documentation done of this work, but these YouTube clips, taken from Charles Atlas’ long out of print film Hail the New Puritan will have to suffice.

 

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