TheaterMaggezien - 23/04/2011
Strong women
Ugo Dehaes/Kwaadbloed, Women
Here they come onto the dance floor, eight women in black. Long hair, curls, shaved bald, most of them barefoot. One in a loose dress, the other in an open back dress, an evening gown, a dress of a mediterranean widow, a working dress. They breathe in, out, very powerful, and make martial gestures, hitting their arms, clenched their fists, their feet move in combative attitude, all on the rhythm of sharp breaths, each in their own movement pattern. 
Choreographer Ugo Dehaes, currently artist in residence at Art Center STUK (Leuven), gathered eight women around him, and worked a year and a half at Women. Earlier work (eg Forces, see archive) contained a fine playfulness. This fun element is also present in this production, but is now fully embedded in a physical tour de force of the dancers. 
The eight women look at each other, taking moves from each other, looking to each other, playing together, against each other, with each other. Grim faces, sparkling eyes, each exudes a sense of self, all yearning, even hungry for life, movement and an individual identity in the expression. It's like they say: Here we are, women over thirty, 'old' dancers from thirty, forty and fifty years, but don't think we can't do it anymore, don't think that we are only capable of little hopping dance-steps, steps of stereotype women as expected. We can do so much more! Typical or even frivolous, sensual and playful female dance-styles are swept from the dance floor. With subtle humor that makes you smile. Without music, it's only their breathing, their panting, their blowing, their sighs, their growling, (occasionally with a scream), that initiate the dancers movements; it's only their breathing in and out strongly that leads them to physical freedom, physical pride. And how! 
It is fascinating how these women continue to captivate the audience with their abilities and skills for almost an hour, in an ensemble of individuals, each with its own force, without the dance slipping into a collection of pretty images. All the frills, all the decorations and effects are thrown overboard. Ugo Dehaes tries with this group of women to return to the essence of the dynamics of the dance and the strength of its performers. In a meticulous symbiosis of breathing and timing of the movements. And he succeeds brilliantly with Luise Chardon, Marie De Corte, Ida De Vos, Miryam Garcia Mari Blanca Saykai Kaiwa, Kayoko Minami, Natascha Pire and Karin Vyncke.  

- Tuur Devens