Lisbeth Gruwez dances Bob Dylan
DJD Dance Studio, Saturday November 3
Review by Stephen Hunt
I never realized I miss Bob Dylan, until Lisbeth Gruwez danced him back into my life.
Belgian native Gruwez paid a return visit to the Fluid Festival this weekend, performing a solo jukebox dance performance that was as informal, and poetic and intimate as the music itself.
Gruwez didn’t actually go searching for some Dylan songs to choreograph a new show to.
Instead, that was the music her creative partner Maarten Van Cauwenberghe would play for her to warm up to prior to a performance — melodious, rhythmic, relaxed and filled with unforgettable imagery.
Not music you’d put on if you were deejaying in a nightclub — but from the moment the first notes — along with some snap, crackle and pop from the needle hitting the LP — it sounded right.
Gruwez is a relaxed, intimate performer who has a way of eliminating the imaginary border that separates the performer from the audience.
The piece itself is essentially minimalist: just Gruwez, with Van Cauwenberghe upstage right, playing Dylan records, like some retro DJ who escaped from a West Village house party circa 1963.
It all has a very improvisational feel to it, in the best way — it feels fresh, unselfconscious, and hopeful, sort of like I hear the 60’s were for the world.
Dylan’s melodies and his lyrics — his storytelling, whether on the bluesy Blind Willie Lemon or something more iconic, like Lay Lady Lay — remind you of why Bob Dylan meant so much, to so many. They’re personal and informal, much like Gruwez’s performances, and transformative too — Dylan’s songwriting stripped the artifice away from American music much the same way Gruwez strips the artifice away from contemporary dance.
More Fluid Festival:
- Fluid Festival balances caution with high hopes to generate beautiful movement
- What’s skin got to do with it? Tzeng explores identity with That ch*nk in y/our armour
Stephen Hunt is the 2018 Fluid Festival writer in residence. He donated 100% of his fee to Springboard Arts.
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(Feature photograph Lisbeth Gruwez. Copyright Luc Depreitere)