Friday, 22 December 2017

TETRIS Mon Amour by Club Guy & Roni


Digital Dance



   TETRIS Mon Amour

Club Guy & Roni

Stadstheater Arnhem, 8 November 2017

“The paradox of freedom and limitation is that there is no freedom without rules.” This, according to dramaturg Robbert van Heuven, is what Club Guy & Roni seek to explore in their latest production, TETRIS Mon Amour. Inspired by artistic director and choreographer Roni Haver’s childhood addiction to the computer game Tetris, the company explore the physical boundaries of the choreography and of their own bodies in this dynamic and visually impressive piece.


From the outset, it is evident that every element of the work has been collaboratively created in order to create a kind of futuristic, virtual environment through which the performers move. A large, neon, cubic frame occupies most of the stage, sometimes framing the dancers, sometimes acting as a looming and ominous background set piece. The dancers themselves move in a rigid, android-like fashion which they impressively maintain throughout the piece, interacting with each other not in a conventional human manner, but as if they are avatars operating through an interface, confined by the rules of this “game”. The physicality of the dancers and their commitment to expressing these virtual characters was one of the highlights of the piece for me, as I was completely captivated by their ability to appear non-human through their facial expressions and movement quality.



A soundtrack of dark and jarring electronica was provided by Slagwerk den Haag, who accompanied the dancers on stage. The musicians emerged from behind their instruments on several occasions to join the dancers in movement phrases, which was an amusing and clever decision on the choreographer’s part. We see how the music is transformed through the bodies of the people who wrote and performed it (regardless of their lack of dance training!). It also gave the piece a sense of completeness- all of the performers interacted with each other and with their surroundings, making the stage akin to a game on a computer screen for the audience.


Although Haver was largely successful in creating this world, I felt that there was a lack of development throughout the piece. There was very little change of dynamic, in either movement or music, and I believe that there were missed opportunities for character development too- the piece stayed very much on one level for its duration. The most interesting moment for me was when two characters seemed to start to become romantically involved and almost kissed- however, this was at the very end of the piece, and it was over before we could see any further development. This kind of uncomfortable duality of human and avatar within the dancers was something which I found fascinating to observe, and would have loved to have seen more of.


However, I can’t deny that I was highly entertained nonetheless. TETRIS Mon Amour is an exciting and stimulating dance piece which pushes the audience to think about the freedom which we find within constriction. If there are no rules, no limitations, can we truly find creative freedom? To quote van Heuven once more, “It is about manipulating the system’s structure as skilfully as possible to be able to be absorbed in the system.”


Watch the official trailer here:


By Rosie Stebbing

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