A glimpse into the working process and aesthetic vocabulary of the Rosas dance company. This look behind the scenes of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's acclaimed dance performance Mozart / Concert Arias, un moto di gioia (1992) begins with the dancers: they rehearse, talk, laugh, and dance. Mozart Material sketches a kaleidoscopic and lyrical portrait of the world of Rosas and offers a playful lesson in the filming of dance pieces: sophisticated camera movements and picture frames reflect the varieties of movement that the choreographer and her dancers display.
“Mozart Material isn’t Mozart/Concert Arias. From it, you learn a great deal of useful information about the work, but you don’t see the work. The film is an inventive documentary about the making of Mozart/Concert Arias in several different formal registers: video footage, tinted blue and with the occasional vertical roll, of various aspects of preparing the production, with voice-over exegesis by De Keersmaeker; color footage of dress rehearsals shot in Avignon and of the dancers explaining aspects of the choreography and showing off their costumes; and black and white footage shot in Brussels of rehearsals and demonstrations of what De Keersmaeker calls the work’s technical devices—march, point phrase, traveling step, point phrase its transformation crying despair, disco, manipulations, joker fainting, combined phrase, deaf-and-dumb. The incongruity of that list, which is also the list of the film’s sections, brings to mind the classification of animals in Borges’s ancient Chinese encyclopedia, the one that brought Michel Foucault up short upon reading it and led to his writing Les Mots et les choses.”
Douglas Crimp, excerpt from a lecture at WIELS, Brussels, 2015
“Jurgen Persijn’s creative cinematography in the opening sequence of Mozart Material shows point-blank portraits of young company members to meld together as the dancers shake their heads. A process film shot in Avignon, about the hazards of choreographing Mozart (“Music that is sovereign and doesn’t need to be danced on”), it attends to the young Belgian choreographer’s ideas while offering stunning visuals of the dancers in rehearsal.”
The Village Voice, 1993
Digitized by meemoo and restored by Avila. With special thanks to VRT, Rony Vissers and Ana Torfs.