It is a body dried up in its naked existence calling for a rebellion of the flesh to be reinvented. A body danced at the origin, beyond the daily conventions. Tension, thrill, ferment. Imre Thormann, one of the most prestigious Butoh masters in the world, is the rigor, effort and joy of permanent freedom. And precisely Enduring freedom is called the latest creation of the dancer from Bern born in 1966, a scholar of martial arts such as Aikido, Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Taekwon Do, after an unsuccessful career in a punk band, and student in Japan of the founder of the Butoh, Kazuo Ohno, and then Michizou Noguchi.
The elsewhere of a perpetual movement has shaken us to such an extent that we enter into communion with what was happening a few inches from our eyes, forgetting the sirens of the ambulances or the screams of children in the garden of Villa Rossi Martini, in Genova, home of the national premiere event for the VII edition of the Testimonials research actions festival promoted by Teatro Akropolis.
A neon rectangle on a blue and white checkered marble floor is the space into which Imre Thormann enters with a normal attitude. He is dressed like every day, as he will remain even after the show, at dinner: dark blue pinstripe with narrow ribs, close to us spectators sitting on all four sides, black boots, white shirt, black hat with a wide brim. He looks like a hitman, a killer or a spy, who didn't come from the cold like the protagonist of Le Carré's novel, but from the rising sun. He goes to sit in a corner, on a chair just like ours, and after a breath of silence he undresses with calm solemnity. Once on his feet, Thormann melts into the fullness of a dance that words can try to restore as long as they become organs, bones and muscles of ancestral forces, almost divine, not to represent reality, but to create new reality. Man reduced to nothing can do everything.
Hunched, gaunt, contracted, thin legs, flat stomach, bald head, Imre Thormann rediscovers himself as the first man on Earth in continuous metamorphosis, Adam coming out of the Garden of Eden, and comes forward and hugs and laughs and turns and writhes in all that is. He manages to become very small and very large, it seems to never end. He throws himself on the ground with a crash, drags himself anchored to his knees, collapses, moves not only outside but also, above all, from within. Sweat runs from his head to his cheeks and neck, they are the tears of effort and absolute control of the gesture. The hits on the floor become the only music in the room. The blows and his breath. Hands up, mouth pulled like a Japanese mask, then feet up, and keep rolling, jumping, hitting the floor, that does not react (cannot), but neither does the body break. It is a holding on while falling, a sliding by clinging, a dynamic use of the void. We are stunned, stunned, annihilated, a boy cries irrepressible tears, yet we cannot help but look, because that abyss into which Imre Thormann has descended looks at us, a chasm of moths attracted by the light of selfishness that ignores compassion, chasm of men on Dr. Mengele's marble table of economic exploitation or under the rubble of democracy exported with the bombs of the operationEnduring freedom, launched after 11 September 2001 by then US President George W. Bush against the Taliban in Afghanistan (the homonymy with the show is no coincidence).
The dancer's head is now a stream of sweat that invades the body, red from the blows taken. He rolls over to his chair in the corner, finding himself in the fetal position. When he gets up and goes to get dressed there is a jolt of life, we return to breathe as a single, large lung that has held our breath up to that moment: Thormann is still alive, indeed, he is alive again. Then we too can survive, we too have the strength to resist and be reborn.
What seemed impossible before, we have seen happen with our own eyes. The applause, many, welcoming and grateful, say that we understand and we will not forget it: change is written in our body. An arm, a leg can be enough to say and do everything.
Original in Italian