In 1990, Thierry Smits interpreted his first choreographic work himself. Its title, translated as “Falling with Grace” functions somewhat like a seductive oxymoron given how challenging, even impossible, it is to fall with any semblance of grace.
Distance is at once installed with the resolutely elegant and often vapid aesthetic tendencies of certain forms of dance which approach the various themes with a view to respecting harmonic criteria. Just as with any other artistic expression, dance can afford the privilege of showing disarray, terror and violence without pretence, and this piece leads us further along this path. Performed in a 4 x 4 meter sandbox, the solo’s dramaturgy is based on the myth of Icarus and structured in three sections: the labyrinth, the flight and ultimately the fall. This laborious quest for freedom is hindered by the sandy ground whose instability forces the dancer to re-establish without success an equilibrium that keeps slipping away. Visually, this exploration triggers a succession of jumps and falls to music with an intense and sustained rhythm, it continues with arm movements and a constantly compromised quest for poise against a sonic background of brass instruments. It culminates with a hallucinatory and frenetic spinning that the dancer accomplishes by throwing the sand all around him, leaving an ultimate impression of a dizzying, swirling and never-ending turmoil.