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Urban Fighting – Urban Loving

Iulia Popovici

It’s so entertaining. So unbelievably funny. So physically challenging. So powerful. Even if there isn’t much to think about in this revelation of what the human body can do.

Still Standing You by and with Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido is, in fact, a follow-up – in this piece, the Belgian graduated student of P.A.R.T.S. and the Portuguese performer he met in danceWeb get together in the same formula they did three years ago, with Still Difficult Duet: a one-to-one struggle for power and love in the world of Alpha-males, with no other weapon but their own bodies. With no story and hardly any metaphors.

The performers and their audience share the same lighting – during the whole one-hour performance, the duty light is turned on, and the four lamps on the stage floor have no compositional roles, they are only emphasizing the presence of the bodies.

Both Ampe and Garrido are playing with the audience, for the very beginning (when Garrido asks them to greet Ampe), establishing a sort of personal connection. Actually, the performer asks the audience to greet his partner with a royal gesture – maybe what is to be won in this one-to-one fight is the love and attention of the spectators themselves.

The two men harshly confront each other. They roar like bears or gorillas in heat, rediscovering the violence of male primates. They get naked – ordinary bodies, not in the best physical shape. They beat up each other, they whip each other with their own belts, they throw their shoes at each other. It’s humorous, in an almost sadomasochist way. Their own penises become fighting tools, only to finally get to a unexpected tenderness: two naked males finding themselves in the pose of the famous Pietà, Garrido carrying in his arms Ampe’s dismantled body.

The Pietà moment is one of the few occasions (all in the second part of the piece, all body sculptures) when the two choreographers/ performers visit the rich realm of reflection on movement and embodiment.

Otherwise, it looks more and more like acrobatics for the sake of it, the dancers falling into repeated movements. So amusing, but so nothing more than that.

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