Cédric Andrieux as his past self

Cèdric Andrieux is the only appropriate title for the intensely personal portrait of this dancer’s life created by French choreographer Jérôme Bel.  Andrieux performs alone onstage, punctuating his words with fitting silence, quiet dance solos, or sometimes even an empty stage. He recounts his early love of dance and his early lack of talent, his education at a conservatory in Paris, and a move to New York City spurred not by the love of Jennifer Muller’s company that hired him, but lust for a fellow dancer and fear of not having work.

Andrieux’s story is both captivating and excruciating.  He demonstrates the daily warm-ups of eight years with Merce Cunningham’s company and the painfully slow process of making dances with this aging master. His frustrations are seen before they are voiced, as he bends his body to far limits recreating moves that Cunningham designed. He confesses the humiliation of never being able to do exactly as he was asked.

            Yet later, having encountered Cunningham’s maxim, “It’s only when movement becomes awkward that it becomes interesting,” Andrieux realized he hadn’t failed but successfully reached this awkward, straining space. In his personal life, Andrieux finds this intriguing awkwardness as well, like wanting to leave New York after 9/11, but ultimately staying to live with his boyfriend. He languished in a company where he was often cast as a backup and waited in the dressing room, but he happily recalls performing with the choreographer Trisha Brown and his love for the “softer” relation to movement that he then demonstrates onstage.

            Details on his life initially seem thin: He moved here, he worked for her, loved him, but his performance excerpts are as personal as anything he could speak. By the end of his story Andrieux does not reach conclusions about his 20 years as a dancer or in his life. It has not always been dance that he has followed, driven as he was to companies and continents by chance, love, and fear of unemployment. Dance has always been his partner though, through the awkward, straining, or beautiful.

Jérôme Bel: Cèdric Andreiux

Nov 14–17, On The Boards, $20

Filed under
Show Comments