The twin-title “Golden Hours” or “As You Like It” portrays a theatre play in dance. A meeting of a comedy by Shakespeare – one about an ideal world of the Forest of Arden into which lovers ran away from a corrupt court – and the 1975 album “Another Green World” by the musician Brian Eno. Right from the start we begin with two strong and powerful artistic references.
Lines by Shakespeare were projected in the background and the choreography was a negotiation of a concrete idea and its abstraction. Gestures and lyrical movement is quite a rare happening in De Keermaeker’s work. Along with the choice of this specific album from Eno, which is linked to pop music rather than with the minimalism one typically finds in De Keermaeker’s performances soundtracks.
The cast dance their complex entanglements thoroughly, containing disguised games of seduction, aversion, misunderstanding and foolishness. One is consumed by the depth and desire of a luminous but smoothly ironic world, whose language doesn’t need translation to be grasped, yet isn’t exactly mimed.
The song “Golden Hours” starts playing and eleven dancers walk in a hypnotic slow motion on Sadlers’ Wells main stage in an agglomerate facing the audience. The sportive outfit of the cast features within an absent setting with only a white spotlight above them. I found this scene to be one of the most absorbing images not only in this piece but also in the performance world.
The greatest part of the two hours performance was in complete silence. A call out for very intriguing issues from nowadays society emerged. And this issues could be, for instance, the concentration capacity of a person, the time spent observing artwork and performances lengths’ standards. On one hand, the choreographer offers the audience an opportunity for a meaningful reflection on Time. However, it might not been felt the same way by everyone, as some walk-outs from the audience would indicate. And so, perhaps, some also simply stayed from a sense obligation.
This work then brings up the question of Time and how people deal with it. It was not just a challenge for the audience but also a very ambitious attempt for the choreographer, abstracting a Shakespeare text into a silent score for dance.
Time passed very slowly in Golden Hours and title met De Keersmaeker’ intentions perfectly.