One of the world’s most unusual and expressive dancers is the hand. Two of them, belonging to Michèle Anne De Mey and her husband Jaco Van Dormael, performed recently at the TorinoDanza festival in Turin. The piece, called Kiss&Cry, is a dance performed by the artists hands, projected on a big screen by a steady-cam.
Michèle Anne is the co-founder of Compagnie Rosas, an internationally renowned dance group, and Jaco is a film director who, in 1991, was awarded the Camera d’Or Prize at Cannes Festival with Toto le Héros and was at the Venice Film Festival in 2009 with a film titled Mr Nobody featuring the American actor Jared Leto.
The couple explained that the idea came on wet, gloomy day at their home in Belgium when they started playing with objects on a table. Soon the entire kitchen became a stage. Friends came over and they started taking part as well, bringing more objects: dolls, shells, and toys. Gradually, the story began to unfold, a story about an old lady waiting for a train and recall her past lovers and the touch of their hands.
Not only is Kiss&Cry the couples first artistic collaboration, but it is also the first where the entire show is based on the two artists limited the movements to their fingers. Their fingers become the performers, set in a miniature world built around them. Their hands and fingers are filmed and simultaneously projected on a screen. Throughout the piece, their two hands cease to be simply hands, but become a man and a woman with a life of their own, hugging passionately, quarrelling, and searching for each other.
Kiss&Cry is a tiny, but fascinating, show that exemplifies the efficacy, power, and expressiveness of the language of the hands. If you missed it in Turin it can be seen on YouTube and online.