In a white set with a shifting, illuminated neon line on the horizon (designed by Jean-Paul Vroom), four men display their virile strength to four women, dancing to Beethoven’s Fugue. Their stretched arms, clenched fists and measured movements lend a whole new dimension to Beethoven’s impressive composition. When the women take over the dancing, the same themes return, but now the movements are softer and more rarefied. A short group section is followed by four duets, in which the partners challenge one another; sometimes coolly, sometimes playfully and sometimes with pent-up aggression.
In the second section, to Beethoven’s Cavatina, the distance between the sexes becomes smaller and the agitated tension makes way for lyricism. The choreography for the ensemble exudes eroticism in the purest sense: tender, yet also powerful with taut lines, whereby the women – as always in Van Manen’s works – are always a match for the men.