De Standaard - 08/04/2011
Ugo Dehaes/Kwaad Bloed
on tour until dec 16
There is relieved breathing, gasping, sighing, frightful breathing, there is the militant sniffing. In other words, there are dozens of ways to breathe, to speak with nothing but air.
That knows the choreographer Ugo Dehaes. In his new piece WOMEN, he brings a choreography for eight women and their breath. Dehaes worked a year and a half on this performance. And yet the result looks simple: the familiar black box as a stage, eight dancers between thirty and sixty in a black dress, eight light bulbs as an inverted tree in the sky, no music. Together good for fifty minutes of dance.
But these minutes are damn good thought through. Dehaes brings a choreography to watch at and to listen to. He plays with the bodies of the women to catch their breath. He lets them fight against windmills and pant in unison, he lets them cry and laugh. Dehaes doesn't reveal whether in WOMEN it's the pace of the steps that determines the rhythm of the breath, or just the opposite.
The eight bodies are tightly choreographed: how they sometimes swarm, then stand on a straight line and finally to run after each other on stage again... it resembles a flock of birds that doubts between moving and being moved. It's clear: the fluid motion of a breath is the undercurrent of the show.
WOMEN looks clean and simple, and is yet intelligently put together. One who listens carefully will hear a thousand and one nuances. One who looks closely, sees as many winks. Like when Dehaes undermines his choreographic plan by letting his dancers  get lost in a patchwork of numbered phrases with lots of humor. Or when traces of a seductive flamenco dance and cancan are being mixed into it: It finally is all about the sensuous breath of eight women. Even if 'sensual' would rather be an insult to the dancers in WOMEN: the fact that on the stage is shared by different nationalities and ages next to each other, makes that in this black box beneath their black dresses strong personalities take shape.
WOMEN is an absolute must for anyone who can be touched by something as subtle as a nuance in a breath. Ugo Dehaes translates that essence in a choreography that keeps a perfect balance between melancholy and humor.
- Sarah Vankersschaever in De Standaard on april 8, 2011 (