FLAMES AND WOMEN
A double duet, dancers and pianists. The title, Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, belongs to Frederic Rzewski's piece for two pianos, based on a cotton-mill workers' song from North Carolina. But it has nothing to do with Blues. It is rather a furious and rhapsodic explosion, a red and gold exaltation, scarlet coal exploding into fleeting and white arabesques, a pianistic volcano.
This music rises as an upward tellurian vibration. First it originates from the dancers' legs, and then it settles itself "around" their hips, carefully determined by the choreographer. From there, the tumult reaches the chest reeling around, the faces smiling in communicative pleasure; their arms curve and crook in a clamour climbing in whirlwinds to a stormy sky, ready to explode under the pressure of these two human torches. The impression is one of enthusiasm hesitating between frenzy and bedazzlement. Feelings are created by bodies, creepers made to swirl into curls and twists by an invisible hand, or metamorphosing themselves into feminine flames that a warm wind turns into undulating and winding lines. A pleasure similar to the one that baroque or even rococo painting offers. If Alphonse du Fresnoy prescribes that painted parts "should have waving contours, and resemble a flame, or a snake when it folds when crawling", if Antoine Coypel speaks of "elegance of form, that is to say, rippling and similar to a flame", it is William Hogarth who, in The analysis of Beauty, evokes the erotic origin of the undulating or winding line in dance. This is the seductive aspect of this choreography: the fusion of vibratory elements, vertical or rising, and of sinuous elements flaunting themselves as voluptuous spirals.
Jean-Jacques Defour, Flammes et femmes, CASSANDRE: Culture(s), Politique(s) et Société(s) No. 18 (FR), September-October 1997