Because of the recent snowstorm over the United States, Maureen Fleming arrived in France only a few hours before her Thursday night performance at Maison des Cultures du Monde, while most of her set and costumes were stuck in New York. The word "costume" makes one smile, because the artist dances as naked as a worm, and she is superb. However, the absence of the theatre set during the first show deprived the public of three of the seven scenes of her performance, an unfortunate incident which was corrected the next day.
Maureen Fleming first reveals herself as an antique marble on its pedestal, standing out in the night against a huge bluish moon. She moves slowly with a stupefying body control, having assimilated all the butoh techniques from Japan, her native country. But this American woman, possesses a perfect figure, long legs, perfect arms and contrary to butoh, she emphasizes her femininity without expressing any horror, any inhuman suffering in harrowing poses.
With an incredible balance and the flexibility of a feminine snake or of a chinese acrobat, Maureen Fleming slowly bends backwards until she can hold her heels in her hands, forming a perfect circle. All the images are extremely sophisticated. From the four scenes presented during the first evening, two are set on a pedestal; the other two are on a vast water mirror with dark reflections, all in the shade which only a beam of light crosses to bring out the body of the artist. Her contortionist flexibility allows her extraordinary poses and movements. It would be nice to be able to move in the audience to admire this fluid sculpture from every angle, each one more astonishing than the other.
She was presented by Ellen Stewart from LaMaMa in New York, to whom La Maison des Cultures du Monde pays a tribute. Not only is Maureen Fleming a phenomenon, but also a sensitive artist who uses the butoh technique for original creations of great aesthetic harmony. The show will certainly be more complete with the entire set intact. But as for the costumes, let's hope that Maureen Fleming does not find them again!