Reviews 1990’s to 2004

Reviews Katie Duck:

‘Duck’s sturdy purposefulness makes even her most arbitrary actions seem part of a life-and-death odyssey’ Judith Mackrell (England) 1980’s

‘Katie Duck, with her magnetic presence, draws all the attention on her dancing and performance. All eyes are fixed on her as she emanates a halo that provokes the vibration of the public’ Idoia de Lecumberri (Spain) 1990’s

Katie Duck from the USA followed after the break, giving a very varied and accomplished solo performance. If it was completely improvised, she certainly made it work in an extraordinarily elegant way. She had an amusing rapport with the audience and some wonderfully grand dance scenes where she took in the whole space accompanied by Bach or Spanish folk songs. It was a joy to see her move. Katie Duck created an atmosphere; she gave the audience something. Whilst with other improvisational artists one wonders every once in a while if their own obsession with the actual process sometimes obscures the fact that the reason for standing in public, on stage, is first and foremost about sending something to the audience. This evening the improvisation roundabout turns again with new artists and the chance of a prize. Take a shot!

Erk Aschengreen – Berlingske Tidende 18/1/02

On the other hand Katie Duck surprised by sometimes cruising around the foyer, sometimes throwing herself into a fluid dance on stage looking like a tough little faun, only then to jump up on the audience and tell them that her laundry gave her a kick because her husband hung it up with their cock. Tough cookie!

Monna Dithmer – Politiken 22/1/02

Talking Dancers” Festival, The Kitchen Theater

“A weave of text and dance achieved untraditionally”. (Caption to the side)

“The weave of text and dance was achieved less traditionally with words and text serving as both text and aural accompaniment in Katie Duck’s solo from “Love Poems”. Ms Duck’s voice and Alex Waterman’s score for cello and electronically produced sound had a murmuring quality that complimented Ms Duck’s desultory movement style in this meditation on love.”

-Jennifer Dunning, from the New York Times February 10th, 2001.

HIGH STAKES

A fair share of both prizes and blanks in Dansecenens Improvisations
lottery.

To use improvisation, not just as a working process and preparation for a
dance piece but also at that very moment a dancer stands on stage is to play
high stakes. This is clearly evident in the immensely well-organized
improvisation festival Meet the Parents that Dansecenen is presenting this
week. A festival that focuses on the concept of improvisation, which has
played such an important role in contemporary dance over the last 50 years.

In the afternoon events, presented by dance researcher, Karen Vedel and
Berlingske Tidendes Vibeke Wern who interviews the artists, we get an
insight into the method. In the evening we see how and if it functions.

The Italian, Alexander Certini who opened the evening’s first performance was
proof that some evenings are more successful than others. We saw him on one
of the others. Pierre Dørge was a worthy musical opponent. Inventive and fun
on all types of strange instruments. On occasion they met rhythmically and
Certini captured the magic of the space, but mostly the musical
accompaniment was too strong. The dancer could not keep the form, falling
back on talking nonsense into the microphone about his nose. It was not very
funny even though the patient audience willing clutched at any straw.

David Zambrano from Venezuela also had a brilliant accompanist in Wilbert de
Joode, who played, danced and conjured with his double bass. The dancer
played back with just as much energy, switching from a small Chaplin-like
figure, clowning around, to the macho Spaniard.

Katie Duck from the USA followed after the break, giving a very varied and
accomplished solo performance. If it was completely improvised, she
certainly made it work in an extraordinarily elegant way. She had an amusing
rapport with the audience and some wonderfully grand dance scenes where she
took in the whole space accompanied by Bach or Spanish folk songs. It was a
joy to see her move.

Katie Duck created an atmosphere; she gave the audience something. Whilst
with other improvisational artists one wonders every once in a while if
their own obsession with the actual process sometimes obscures the fact that
the reason for standing in public, on stage, is first and foremost about
sending something to the audience. This evening the improvisation roundabout
turns again with new artists and the chance of a prize. Take a shot!
 Erk Aschengreen – Berlingske Tidende 18/1/02

GREAT LADIES

The grand ladies were saved until the last programmed of Danscescenens
Improvisation festival. Deborah Hay and Simone Forti were both in New York
in the 1960s when dancers began to move in a new way and realized a new way
to create a performance than had been used to up to then.

In a little black dress and flat black shoes, Deborah Hay danced her solo,
somewhat slowly and searchingly, accompanied by a wave of sound that began
with a strike of drum and rebounded with a monotonous whistle. It was as if
the ageing woman was looking for something that was. Maybe the forgotten
grace of a ballet language that had now become a bit rigid.

Simone Forti closed the evening, accompanied by Pierre Dørge who conjured
forth the atmosphere of the jungle with all his wonderful instruments. In
this way he set the stage for Simone Forti who is renowned for her animal
imitations. There were birds, small beetles and the odd heavier animal.
There were soft movements in a dance that often took place either lying or
rolling on the floor, however it was as if Simone Forti lost her
concentration underway. Yet there were glimpses – beautiful glimpses- in a
sequence of movement.

In return concentration levels reached 200 per cent in the evening middle
piece. A dance for two virtuosos: Julyen Hamilton was sharp, original and
furiously energetic. With a fire in his body and yet totally in control, he
filled the space, accompanied by Christian Reiner who could grate his vocal
chords, play his lips and spit words and sounds from descant to bass at a
wild velocity. Their presence on stage was suspended between stillness and
wild desperation and they challenged each other more than they tried to go
together.

This festival has clearly demonstrated that for improvisation to work as a
scenic art it demands three things: an extraordinarily able body, a
psychological presence and a good portion of personality. All three dancers
had these three requirements in the second programmed of the festival and the
audience was wildly enthusiastic.
Erik Aschengreen – Berlingske Tidende 21/1/02

TRICKS UP THE SLEEVE

Life enhancing meeting with the masters of the moment at Dansescenens
assembly of pioneers within the art of improvisation.

Did you see the fox? Says the dancer to another man who stands and makes
sounds on an otherwise empty stage. The question is directed mostly to the
audience who have, to an overwhelming extent, thronged into Dansescenens
four-day Improvisation festival, Meet the Parents. Improvisation has rather
a reputation for being much more fun to partake in than to watch. The
challenge however- whether on stage or in the studio is to capture the
moment? To grab the sensory images that suddenly hang in the air – and the
fox is gone.

Dance is, on the whole an art of the moment, Quintessentially of the
fleeting now, fluctuating, intangible and liable to disappear without a
trace. Nowhere is this more pure and apparent than with these dancers who
have specialized in the art of improvisation. For here it is exactly about
capturing the instance as opposed to a complete choreography and here was
the chance to see six international leaders of the pack step forward as
masters of the moment.

It is about being able to smell with the body, says one of the younger
dancers, David Zambrano from Venezuela. Veteran of the 1960s, Deborah Hay,
who was among those who founded the famous trans-artistic dance stage,
Judson Church in New York, speaks in agreement about leaving oneself to
trust the intelligence of the cells. As one does not just negligently
improvise out of thin air but rather with two feet on the ground one must
act on what is happening in the body and the surrounding space within a more
or less predetermined structure. It was exciting to see how, in many
different ways, the dancers in alliance with a musician- tried to take the
now in hand.

Englishman, Julyen Hamilton- the one with the fox – threw himself into a
wonderfully pulsating duel with his German voice equilibrist, Christian
Reiner. It was like seeing a British Indian on feet as quick as lightning,
with a haughty, watchful calm in harmony with the surrounding nature. The
battle raged right to down to the line between this punk-like wolf from the
city and a mad arsenal of vocal sounds: from Australian didgeridoo to
Japanese small talk.  It was also amusing to see David Zambrano as a cross
between a crazy bullfighter and a Chaplin impersonator, ordering about
Wilbert de Joode on Double bass. Although as improvisation this seemed
rather too safe by virtue of the established figures and even the structure.

On the other hand Katie Duck surprised by sometimes cruising around the
foyer, sometimes throwing herself into a fluid dance on stage looking like a
tough little faun, only then to jump up on the audience and tell them that
her laundry gave her a kick because her husband hung it up with their cock.

Tough cookie!

The festivals two matriarchs crystallized each in their own way, the
improviser’s eternal question: dance as an attempt to articulate the language
of the body. Whilst the 66 yr old, Simone Forti with her tai chi-soft dance,
accompanied by Pierre Dørges drums and conch, induced small organisms to
creep forward, Deborah Hay edged around, demonstratively awkward and
speaking as though she was on rewind. A contrast of organic abundance as
healing power over disempowerment- and at the same time an indomitable
desire to find a language.

One can only hope that the Cultural Ministry can learn to improvise, as Meet
the Parents was sponsored among others, by the now abolished Development
fund. There should also be a place for cultural initiatives that remind us
that it is necessary to have a past in order to see the future.

 Monna Dithmer – Politiken 22/1/02