Sunday, 18 October 2009

4. Ásbjörn

(continued from 'Stefen')
Ásbjörn around 20 made others call him Apollo, like it's an easier name! But his juvenile arrogance was constitutive of his irresistible charm – very effective on Stefen. Not that Stefen would be some introvert guy mesmerized by the shiny boy, his stature and status make him solid and self confident, but Ásbjörn/Apollo is an Dancer with a high case D. Everything about him is about dance, everything is dance. He’s a Dancer and a Searcher, always seeking further the essence of dance. Ballet trained since childhood, once he mastered this discipline – he really did –, contrarily to most of his colleagues he kept unsatisfied and started to explore other paths. Won’t tell here everything he tried, modern, postmodern, exotic, authentic, traditional from here and there, the whole bunch of it… And clubbing like a young god at night (it’s a time of very good club music then, the post-techno era seeing the rise of drum’n’bass, trip hop, IDM, crossover…). At that time Apollo is asexual though the concept is not trendy yet, and it’s not going to last anyway. It’s just that everybody seems to love him, and he just can’t choose! Or more accurately, he has the curious mania to be extremely attracted by women while being exclusively homosexual. Some would solve this by turning into queens, being bisexual and promiscuous, or joining a neo-nazi groupuscule, but none of this is in his character, so for the biggest part of his youth he would resolve chaste and proud, that would drive everybody around him mad.

But I digress, let’s go back to how Stefen fits in this scheme, and what will result of it. Stefen and Apollo become amorous friends, and Stefen is driven mad by this, like anybody else. For a while, Apollo takes him to every dance show in town, from ballet at the Opera to underground butoh in squats, from touring musicals to traditional tango balls. Stefen is introduced to all the dancers of Copenhagen, who look down at this taciturn giant hairy lumberjack – well actually they can’t look down at him, but you know what I mean – who stole from the whole world the unreachable love of the flamboyant Apollo… Whose latest infatuation is for a group of radical post-butoh dancers – who would never claim butoh as a label for what they call the only real dance left in the world - relocated from Japan to Amsterdam, and actively followed in all Europe and over by a small but devoted fan base. They are cool and sharp, demanding and welcoming, physical and philosophical, deeply rooted and flying high. They dance immobility and non-intentionality, push expressionism to pure blankness to offer themselves as mirrors to the audience, and when Stefen meet them after a show in a freezing warehouse in the harbour lit but hardly warmed by straw fires fed by naked demons crying and laughing at the same time while others were creeping in puddles in extra slow motion irradiating pain and redemption (this is all true, I was there!), after a few bottles of Spanish wine they thought that he had such an amazing physical presence that he should really dance. Then a new life started for Stefen.

(to be continued...)

No comments: