Olga de Soto is one of the leading figures in a movement that converges in the medium of artistic research into 20th century dance history. Throughout her works, the choreographer probes the themes of memory and trace. Her creations oscillate from the study of perceptual memory and documentary research - related to Dance History - and the study and probation of body memory.
Gil Mendo, Culturgest.
After the creation of the performance histoire(s), which starting point is The Young Man and Death - legendary ballet by Roland Petit, premièred in 1946 at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris -, and in parallel to her work on physical memory, embodied in the performance INCORPORE ce qui reste dans mon cœur (2004-2009), Olga de Soto decides to dig into The Green Table, mythical ballet by Kurt Jooss, first presented on July 3 1932, in the same Parisian theatre.
This seminal piece is renowned not only for its socio-political and anti-war statement, but also for the stand its creator took against the anti-Semitic laws enacted by Hitler upon his rise to power in 1933. This ballet, composed in eight tableaux for sixteen dancers and inspired by a mediaeval danse macabre, is considered as one of the most politically engaged works in the history of 20th century dance. The work is iconic for its themes (the rise of fascism and war), the insight it provides into the troubled period that preceded the Second World War, and, indeed, its prescience of the darkness that was to mark the era.
The project of the choreographer is divided into two modules and is developed in a temporal perspective that spans the eighty years that separates us from the year of the creation of The Green Table.
In An Introduction, the first instalment of her project, Olga de Soto took the floor to share with the audience her long research and documentation work, with the will of sharing her questioning with the spectators. She stretched a line between past and "future". Since then, she has been in search of spectators who saw The Green Table at different moments of history and in different countries, linking her research with Jooss' biography. She has also sought dancers who worked directly with the choreographer and who performed the work at different moments of history and in different countries. Today, after this journey that has unfolded from Belgium to Chile through France, Germany, England and Holland, she leaves the stage to six performers that feed on various filmed testimonies, gleaned over time.
Olga de Soto approaches The Green Table through its effects, digs through time, moves on, searches, investigates, scrutinizes, questions. Words, but also bodies and views that question what charge the work carries, and that the dancers still startlingly carry today.