Dunas, Pagès and Cherkaoui Collaborate
Yet another memorable evening of contemporary dance at Sadler's Wells. Dunas is the recent choreography created by two exceptional dance artists: the Belgian-Moroccan Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the Andalusian Marìa Pagès. "Dunas", the Spanish word for "Dunes" is the universe that unite them and that evokes the Saharian desert, a place of freedom and danger which is in a permanent state of metamorphosis. Marìa Pagès is the diva of flamenco, which has Moorish roots close to Cherkaoui's own heritage. Their bodies, and in particular their arms speak a very different language: Cherkaoui's flexibility is now legendary, his body rolling on the floor contrasts with Pagès' elongated vertical movement. But their duets are reflecting their fusion through dance and music as well as their mutual admiration for each other.
One original part of the performance shows Cherkaoui drawing in real sand which is projected onto the screen behind Pagès extending her extraordinary arms and creating a dialogue full of poetry and creativity even if slightly too long.
Finally, we love the choice and quality of the music, composed by Polish musician Szymon Brzoska and Spanish guitarist Rubén Lebaniegos. It is a blend of flamenco, classical and Arabic music with all seven musicians performing live on stage, often mixing with Pagès's staccato footwork and the sound of wooden castanets.
Cherkaoui's works, previously created with artists like Akram Khan and Antony Gormley often have a sculptural quality which is also very present in Dunas through the frequent use of shadows, the choice of ochred draped fabrics, veils, translucent material, and amber lighting, highlighting the bodies' contours and movements.