The set up is sparse, a DJ in one corner spinning old Bob Dylan’s songs on a turntable, a dancer in the centre of a stage, her immaculate white shirt the centre of attention surrounded by almost complete darkness. Ms Gruwez moves pulsate with the rhythm, they start minimal, they become ferocious, obsessive, tailored to the music and to our state of mind. Dylan’s voice and acoustic guitar are given life in a minimalistic setting, no need for anything else really, just the expressive, suffering face of the dancer tells many storie The only other visual input is the casual coolness of her DJ, Maarten Van Cauwenberghe, a composer and musician in his own right. He only joins Gruwez on the dance floor for an unusual, poetic pas de deux, he just discreetly follows Gruwez’s body with a soft light, old style spotlight, enhancing the reflection of her body moving in impossible yoga poses on the shiny black surface. Gruwez jokes that her partner is not much of a dancer and that was the only way to have a duet. Visually this was the most captivating moment of the performance, so much so I cannot recall which song was playing in the background. While very vivid in my mind is Dylan’s It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) providing the most complete fusion between music, lyrics and dance. Forever impressed in my mind is the dancer’s tour de force, her moving to the rhythmically challenging guitar, suddenly interrupted in a frozen pose while Bob sings: “Even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked”.
Lisbeth Gruwez dances Bob Dylan, Shoreditch Takeover, Shoreditch Town Hall 27 October 2017