performances > véronique doisneau > press > 11.2004 - dance europe

European dance seems to be growing ever more distant from its American counterparts. In Europe, it would seem, there is a greater willingness to explore the outer reaches of conceptualism and politicization, layered with history and fraught with context. Four pieces seemed unambiguously successful […]

As good or maybe even better was a solo for a French ballet dancer, Veronique Doisneau, overseen by Jérôme Bel, who had just appeared in New York. Ms. Doisneau, as she read to us in her autobiographical script, is 41 and a "sujet," or mid-level dancer, at the Paris Opera Ballet, which commissioned the piece. She is about to reach the mandatory retirement age of 42.

Ms. Doisneau danced some of her favorite bits, including a passage from Merce Cunningham. But the most poignant was her performance of what a corps dancer does in famous excerpts from "Swan Lake." During the interludes she would hop about a bit; she has lovely swan arms. But whenever the music for the star turns began, she assumed a demure pose toward the back of the stage, all alone, and waited patiently while invisible others reaped the glory. It was very moving.

John Rockwell 27.04.2005