I reviewed Ivory Coast troupe Compagnie TcheTche for today’s Chronicle:
“Pain has probably never displayed itself so authentically as on the faces of Compagnie Tch?Tch?, a quartet of female dancers from Ivory Coast. Suffering was inescapable Friday night at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum as the 9-year-old troupe made its Bay Area debut, throwing themselves into each other’s arms, clutching their throats as though strangled and then offering their hands to the sky in desperate, disintegrating prayer.
The real drama, though, was in the eyes: tense, watery, constantly on the verge of tears. At the end of the hourlong “Dimi” — which translates roughly to “sorrow” — the women broke down into audible sobs, and their mournful expressions at curtain call suggested this was no Herculean feat of acting.
Rarely, though, did the power of their feeling come across in movement. In one of the more effective episodes, Nina Kipre flies backward across the floor as though shot, clutches her hands to her crotch, then removes her corduroy blazer and rolls it so tightly against her stomach you almost feel it’s a baby she might crush out of a sheer desire to shield it. It’s chilling when she then saunters off, hand swinging as though to an imaginary beat.
But, mostly, founder B?atrice Komb?’s choreography comes off as a series of disconnected studio exercises, lacking through-line and structure.”
Click here for the full review.