Taking a well known story and recreating it is a daring move, but is it a recreation? During the symposium after the show Jasmin referenced the fact she had been very much influenced and inspired by the original story (before Disney) and wanted to focus on the theme of manipulation. The power to manipulate the audiences minds to making them believe what they see. manipulating the story to include elements it hasn't had before (like having a female playing Pinocchio).
One element in particular that fascinated me was the staging and set design. How everything was managed and manipulated by all of the performers. No prop support or people running in during blackouts to move staging around, just the performers. Jasmin spoke about how the dancers weren't just dancers, but were manipulators of the stage and the environment that they were performing on. Again, the theme of manipulation through another aspect of the piece.
With regards to movement content, of course it was very physical and creative. The smallest movements were clearly thought about a lot down to the smallest breath. One moment that really stayed with me after the performance was when Pinocchio was first starting to walk independently, but of course that element of manipulation as Geppetto assisted the action was seen clearly from the audiences perspective.
The sheer strength from the lead performer was incredible, and the endurance she had was breathtaking. With continuous use of her knees, bending, kneeling, spinning and jumping she really did show her perfected stamina and ability and why she had been cast as the lead. Staying with the point of Pinocchio being casted as a women, I couldn't help but think whether or no this had anything to do with the quality of the movement, to just contradict the traditional story, or was it purely through the audition process and casting process that she was chosen? Whatever the specific intention of this casting, it was debatable as to whether or not you really noticed or whether it made any difference. But in my opinion, this performer really stole the show.
Without going too far and turn this review and informative post into a full blown A Level analysis, I will sum up. If you manage to catch this performance by Jasmin you will be in for a creative, imaginative and enchanting take on an old story loved by many and whisked to a place where nothing is impossible. You'll see a young Pinocchio share the story of growing up and learning what it is to be human. There'll be tough sections (where things get a little dark), and sections where you'll feel joy and your heart will ache for the beauty that you see. The movement will inspire you, make you laugh and set your imagination on overdrive until you see the flying boat that's completely and utterly moving and in control by the performer and only the performer.
I'll always have a soft spot for the Jasmin Vardimon company, and I'll support whatever they do as I fully appreciate and love her intention behind the creations. You'll never go to just see a dance or s performance, but a show and an experience.
Tell me, have you seen this piece or anything else by her company? What did you like? What catches your eye in these stunning pictures by Tristam Kenton.