A Beautiful Compromise - Not For The Faint-hearted

REVIEW: A Beautiful Compromise by Peter McCoy; performed 27-29 May 2011 at Schwere Reiter Theater, Munich.

The audience sits staring into a dark fog-laden stage, gradually silhouetted figures emerge, the rustling becomes a syncopated, crunching rhythm, the lights come on and we behold a group of stationary figures huddled round a blue light.

Next, the "silent narrator/pantomime of fate," played by actor/dancer Makoto Sakurai, gets up from her seat in the audience and walks over to the "voice of compassion & her search for the soul" sitting at center stage dressed in white.Fate balances ever-so-gingerly on top of her head "the diary of a soul," and carries it to "compassion" sitting among a pile of books.The opening of the diary launches her soul searching journey and she initiates her monologue.

Welcome to the zany and deeply mystical world of Peter McCoy and a performance that from the start is intense both in message and movement. Part dance performance, part play, the evening is a journey through a range of emotions and themes, at times dark and violent, but ultimately ending with reassurance and optimism.

"This is a physical dance theater production where eastern spirituality and western philosophy can meet," explained the choreographer Peter McCoy during a rehearsal, "to achieve this I employ both dancers and actors in this ensemble."

The overall style of this piece appears mainly modern, with influences from capoeira moves, contemporary and a few jazz chancés; however the eloquence of classical ballet roots is clearly visible throughout the entire performance by these international dancers – all at the top of their game. Each dancer has a minimum of a decade, some two decades, of classical ballet training.

An American professional dancer for over 20 years, Eddie Stockton, said he carefully chooses in what he dances, and "this was the most emotionally, physically and mentally challenging performance I've ever done!"

The stories, told through dance, accented by moments of acting, often concentrate on enrichment and the pursuit of the beautiful compromise.McCoy said that some of the inspiration for this creation came from the works of the Dalai Lama, Ovid and Hermann Hesse.

The performance ends with lines, read over and over, from the Heinrich von Kleist 1811 novella and protagonist “Michael Kohlhaas” by the “voice of knowledge & devil's advocate,” played by actor Ursula Berlinghof.  Simultaneously the “pantomime of fate/silent narrator” can’t stand the unharmonious state among the players of humanity anymore, she ends the strife and quickly removes her bright red dress to return nearly naked in what McCoy calls a “bubble of hope,” recruiting every now lifeless dancer, one at a time, until each has joined in and once again whole – the lights fade out; thus bringing to an end this non-stop 74-minute powerful performance.

A Beautiful Compromise was performed in May during the “Lange Nacht der Musik.” The good news is – that there’s a buzz going around this production just might return in the autumn 2011.


The dancers are: Ivonne Kalter, Avianna McKee, Cornelia Mi?elbeck, Anna Repovs, Stefanie Scheidler, Stefanie Staten Boettie, Eddie Stockton, Erica Tamagnini and Jack Waldas. The music was by Bjork and original electro beat rhythms by Eddie Stockton. Lighting and stage design by Daniel Jonah, Michele Lorenzini and McCoy. Aerobic consultations and photography by Verena Arbes.

Author: Dan Roccapriore, arts & cultural writer, can be reached at USEuroWriter@aol.com

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