Mats Ek’s ten-minute esoteric premier Woman with Water, inspired by two earlier works, Wet Woman (1996) and Place (2008), a pas de deux created for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ana Laguna. With a haunting presence and technical flair, Madeline Woo performs the lead character of the Woman. She pieces together Ek’s signature moves: deep pliés in second position, strong lunges, slightly hunched backs and flexed joints. In thrilling moments, her jagged isolations and loose spine reshape into endless flow and grace. Woo soars impressively in the air with swirling leaps, emboldened by the billowing of her orange dress, designed by Ek.
The meaning behind the Woman’s actions is uncertain. She is at odds with objects that puzzle and disturb her in the set created by Ek. At one point, she pulls the green table with a bent foot; at another moment, standing with a curved back, she stares forebodingly at the glass of water on the table. She is cool and distant with the Man, performed with elegance and vigour by Dmitry Zagrebin, who comes on stage after her. Objects and people appear to be as scattered and decentered as the Woman’s gestures and expressions. Ivanova captures the meshed disconnection of the atmospheric and discordant score by the Swedish band Fläskkvartetten. Mesmerizing melodies ring out from steady lyrical percussive beats, sharp electronics and static noise.
Woman with water is dedicated to Marie-Louise Ekman.