Taiwan Season: Together Alone

An exquisite piece, Together Alone, danced nude by Zoltán Vakulya and Chen-Wei Lee of Art B&B, is a profound meditation on relationships through a sensitive exploration of the body, its muscular tensions and constraints and the simple joy of its beauty. This is not a sexual show, but a celebration of intimacy where two bodies are joined together throughout and where one goes the other must follow.

A profound meditation on relationships through a sensitive exploration of the body

Neon squiggles of light are overhead and electronic music, a low note with higher restless notes above, create a mesmeric atmosphere as the woman stands behind the man, her arms exploring his outstretched in front of him. Moving from touch point to touch point, they encircle each other, sometimes elbow to elbow, hip to hip, back to back or spin round facing each other, brow touching brow. Sometimes they lean away from each other, stomachs still touching or face each other, feet together, their heels only slightly lifting in little jumps.

Given the limitations of the body, only one part of the body touching at any time, it is extraordinary how fascinating this is. Although the movement is repetitive, tiny variations prevent monotony and increase the intensity. The slow movement lets the audience bring their own stories to what unfolds, as at times the couple strain against each other but must negotiate if they are not to fall apart. The human dynamic of relationships is therefore enacted.

And just before the slow movement loses the audience’s attention, Benny Goodman’s Sing, Sing, Sing blares out and the couple break into a jive, knees high, kicking out and leaping round the stage in joyful abandon - still touching, hand to hand.

The next section is even stronger for the previous contrast and slower than ever. This time the couple roll on the floor, head and knees tucked in, crouched and folded over each other in numerous intricate combinations, head to toe, or vice versa, crawling over and under, but always stuck together. The strain on their muscles is apparent as each has to support the other as they roll over as slowly as possible and the parallel with the difficulties of human relationships is clear.

Finally, standing up, they spin and spin and we begin to wonder how will they end? Wrapped in each other’s arms as at the beginning? No, just as throughout the show their movements have constantly surprised us, the end is something shocking and unexpected. On reflection the ending is the only possible one and we are left to ponder on the deeper meaning, that however close a relationship, we are always alone.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

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The Blurb

'Together Alone talks a lot about how to live together. We tasked ourselves to never let go of each other. That creates huge limitations. It’s just the two of us, but what we experience parallels society: how we deal with people, how we use each other, how we collaborate. Sometimes we help each other, sometimes we are against each other, sometimes we need to negotiate. The relationship is always changing. It has difficulties, it has moments of being smooth, it will change again, but nothing lasts forever' (Chen-Wei Lee).