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Arts and Entertainment

Groundbreaking Dance 'What The Body Does Not Remember' Remounted At Royce Hall

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Given the ethereal nature of dance and the short, active lifespan of many movement artists, performances sometimes come and go, with only the memory of an image and a sound byte remaining. What may be fundamental to what goes on in the contemporary scene may, therefore, also be unfamiliar to its current practitioners. Happily, technology has reduced this misfortune. But nothing beats the live experience.

This weekend, one of the more significant works of the postmodern canon is being resurrected and returned to our consciousness. Brought to us by the Center for Art and Performance at UCLA, Belgium's Ultima Vez, under the choreographic direction of Wim Vandekeybus, re-mounts the evening-length, mind-blowing and influential "What the Body Does Not Remember" from 1987 in Royce Hall for only two performances.

With the NY Times describing it as "tough, brutal, playful, ironic and terrific," Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch's high-powered score propels what promotional materials underscore as "a feat of daring and tempestuous energy punctuated by instinctual, dangerous and precise movement." Fueled by what the choreographer claims are "moments when you don't have a choice [and] other things decide for you," this affecting physical investigation explores instances "like falling in love, or the second before an accident has to happen; suddenly they appear, with no introduction, important because of their extremeness rather than for the significance to be given to them."

Since its premiere, the company has become one of Europe's most highly acclaimed dance companies, earning many prestigious awards and touring the globe regularly. The dance piece received a NY Dance and Performance Bessie Award for what it called "a brutal confrontation of dance and music [in a] dangerous and combative landscape."

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