DUO2015 / reviews and press

Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts in  DUO2015  by William Forsythe. Photo by Bill Cooper

Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts in DUO2015 by William Forsythe. Photo by Bill Cooper

...the dance expands, filling the space and time with increasing freedom, until it seems as if the duo can manipulate both, through the speed and control of their bodies.
— Lucy Ribchester
Duo2015 is a riveting, sinewy pas de deux for two men (Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts, both thrilling) who don’t touch but can’t seem to part. It has something of the eternal quality of Waiting for Godot. Nothing and everything happens.
— Deborah Jones
It’s hypnotic as clockwork – by the end I was so steeped in this soundless rhythm, I could have beaten time myself.
— Hanna Weibye

What I did observe was two extremely interesting, quite endearing men moving primarily in a small area of space at the front and center of the stage, pinned there by Tanja Rühl’s lighting. Whatever the process by which the dance was constructed, the result is a particular kind of rhythm—the kind we associate with an intricate task that requires two people. This isn’t heavy lifting; it means trying to make moves that fit together; one dancer may start something that the other responds to. They watch each other carefully, and occasionally stare at something above their heads. Watts often slides his eyes sideways, as if he needs to be aware of something beyond the space the two inhabit.

Sometimes Willems’s score falls silent; sometimes it accosts the men. They are expert Forsythians, able to set parts of the body in silky contention with one another. Their spines are super-flexible, eel-like. Watts is a contortionist as well, and the choreography makes use of his ball-bearing joints. The dancers’ very strangeness elicits laughter and the occasional gasp. If you saw them moving like this on the street, you’d want to give them a wide berth. But they carry on, their demanding collaborative job, which is not without humor or contentiousness.    -Deborah Jowitt (www.artsjournal.com)

 

While Guillem has a breather (drying off and changing costume), two dancers from William Forsythe's company perform his Duo, with the magnificently flexible Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts. It is fiendishly complex sequence of slick and rapid movements. Sometimes they mimic each other, sometimes in mirror image, occasionally they provoke each other as in a playful duel, and every now and then, there is a moment of calm. It has a hypnotic ebb and flow. Mesmerising.   (www.gramilano.com)

William Forsythe's Duo, performed by Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts, was a light-hearted addition to the evening. Rather than building on the same energy, these two young men stripped it back to the basics: no sound but the rhythms created by the two bodies on stage; no special effects, just dancing, pure and simple. The entire piece revolved around their playful relationship: watching each other’s bodies, feeding off their partner’s skilled movement, but reluctant to lose their individual style and agency. Neither would yield to copying the other. Watts moved with incredible suppleness in his spine and hips  ...  (www.bachtrack.com)

 

But the choreography is as constant, rich and playful as a Baroque fugue, the two dancers imitating, subverting, re-presenting and challenging each other’s movements in an effusion of ingenuity so intense, you can hardly believe it’s only 15 minutes long. It must be fiendishly difficult to perform – with no aural beat to provide a common reference point, the two dancers must take the beat they hear in their heads and make it visible in their bodies. It’s hypnotic as clockwork – by the end I was so steeped in this soundless rhythm, I could have beaten time myself.  -Hanna Weibye (www.theartsdesk.com)

Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts, both veterans of Forsythe’s company, executed the sometimes slinky, sometimes angular choreography superbly. The dance itself is more, or less, than a simple abstract piece. It’s a study visualizing one dancer’s interaction with another – interplay that produces synchronization – for no reason other than to explore and illustrate the forms and process of interaction (called ‘entrainment’) rather than to characterize it in any way.  -Jerry Hochman (www.ballet-dance.com)

 

The pair functions as an abstraction of a clock, the movement both disjointed and gooey in a way that mimics the way time speeds and slows through our perception of it. The movement seems simultaneously impossible and organic; it is as though the two men are attempting to do ballet with all of their joints turned inside out. Gjoka and Watts execute the piece with spectacular skill, creating the illusion that they are controlling precisely how much gravity is affecting them at any given moment.  Baroque arms were followed by elongated classical shapes, themselves subsumed in dynamic, virtuosic phrases; near the end, Watts slowly slid to the floor with his arms outstretched behind him, like a modern winged victory. Gjoka and Watts possess a laid-back yet intimate rapport onstage: with the score by Thom Willems mostly ambient, they were attuned to each other through breathing only, a captivating form of counterpoint to witness up close.  -Laura Cappelle (www.financialtimes.com)

DUO2015 by William Forsythe. Photo by Bill Cooper.

DUO2015 by William Forsythe. Photo by Bill Cooper.

 

Timing is everything in William Forsythe’s DUO2015, a re-working of an earlier piece, performed here by Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts. Like cogs in a pocketwatch their arms swing in sequence, or fold gently to a halt, passing patterns between each other. Sound emerges, high and chiming, like water glasses played by a finger, and the dance expands, filling the space and time with increasing freedom, until it seems as if the duo can manipulate both, through the speed and control of their bodies. It’s playful and exhilarating to watch them come full circle to a graceful stop.  -Lucy Ribchester (www.edinburghfestival.list.co.uk)