On Chasing a Ghost
In her most recent work, Chasing a Ghost, Alexandra Bachzetsis takes the choreographic archetype of the duet as a structure to develop movement around notions of the uncanny, the double, and the mirror image. Encompassing choreography and an original music score, as well as stage and costume design, Chasing a Ghost employs strategies of ostranenie (the act of defamiliarization, as a way to enhance perception of the familiar) and citation (from popular culture and the histories of art, photography, cinema, and fashion), to create multiple lenses to consider identity and body politics. For Bachzetsis, identity exists as simultaneously fluid and static, as we identify through our bodies, alliances and communities within a broad spectrum of internal impulses and external influences. The notion of the archetype as a way to essentialize identity and, in contrast, the method of transference between performers from one role, position and typology to another, played a key role in the development of the choreography of Chasing a Ghost.
Structured as a set of ten duet choreographies for five dancers, accompanied by two pianists, the work was developed through scores for movement and sound that revolve around duality, violence, desire, and (de)familiarity. On the level of movement research, Bachzetsis employs slowness, remission, acceleration, repetition, difference and likeness as ways to distinguish, simulate and mirror the various positions in the work. From these methodologies the notion of the uncanny double emerges. In colloquial terms, the uncanny is often described as something that is oddly familiar, a strange event or object in an ostensibly ordinary context, but also the potential act of transgression and the looming danger of how our repressed impulses and subconsciousness may at any time rupture into our experience of reality. Through the uncanny, the act of transference between the performers is intentionally disturbed and the double becomes a far more unsettling image : a folie-à-deux or a single disturbance ; a figment of our imagination or happening in front of our eyes.
Text by : Hendrik Folkerts