Sometimes dance comes with bells and whistles, assaulting your senses with a riot of music and colour. Other times it touches you gently, gradually searing itself onto your memory. The work of Glasgow-based choreographer, Anna Krzystek falls squarely into the latter category. Her minimalist solos have a rare quality, turning what could easily prove annoying – slow movement, discordant sound – into captivating works of art.
Over the past five years Krzystek has created three solos about waiting – a subject she finds ‘incredibly fascinating’. Test got the ball rolling in 2005, at Glasgow’s National Review of Live Art. It caught the eye of New Moves’ artistic director, Nikki Millican, who commissioned 2007’s Still and Krzystek’s latest work, Figure This. ‘The support I’ve had from Nikki has been wonderful,’ says Krzystek. ‘It’s great that somebody can recognise work that isn’t mainstream, that’s pushing in different directions and challenging ideas.’
Figure This will premiere on 17 March, followed by a triple-bill of all three works the following evening. ‘There were moments in Test which I exploded, that then became Still,’ explains Krzystek. ‘And there are things I’ve carried through to Figure This, like a series of paintings. But each piece is very unique and they’re all made to stand by themselves.’
It’s the first time the solos have been performed together and Krzystek has scheduled half-hour gaps between them. ‘People need space because all three pieces are very intense,’ she says. ‘To sit through such a level of intensity doesn’t work – you need a breather to step back from it.’ As for her as a performer? ‘It feels like an enormous challenge,’ admits Krzystek. ‘The work I perform may be minimalist but they are all very physically demanding pieces.’
Krzystek’s style doesn’t suit everyone but her ability to choreograph challenging work that still feels entertaining is to be admired – it’s clear she never forgets you’re there. ‘I think the works I create can be somewhat difficult but they’re also watchable,’ says Krzystek. ‘I don’t ignore my audience and I’m quite a generous performer.’
Tramway, Glasgow, Tue 17 & Wed 18 Mar