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Jeanette Iljon
The dancer is dressed in white and covered in white makeup, and sometimes she is wearing a white mask with African features.

Significantly, it is not the white makeup of a mime or a clown, but an all-over white pall over non-white skin that could be taken for an even coating of plaster dust. The mask and the makeup could be read as an allusion to racist imperatives that the other must reconfigure herself in the image of the dominant culture or risk violent rejection, and this revisits the dynamics of self/other.

The dancer's gestures are initially tentative, then more and more forthright. They track a kind of trajectory of getting to know another person, whether it's the stranger in the mirror or another being who comes to mirror the self. The substance of the barrier also seems to change and gain transparency: at first it is almost definitely a mirror, with the dancer's reflection moving over the facets. As there is more and more divergence between the gestures of the identical white-clad figures, a definite split, the mirror turns out to be a mesh and the dancers make contact. But this is still far from a simple conciliation of self/other: if the dancer started out spellbound by her own image and looking for another to release her, there is now another but things are no clearer than before. Whether it 'really' is another or her double or a split self, a narcissistic union that tried to exceed the original mirror stage but failed, is left open. The concluding sequence is as stylised as it is erotic, its excess signalling a plethora of possible readings.

An even earlier piece that explores the conjunction of film and choreography is Mantra. An intriguing exploration of the impact film can have on the dance performance, it shows that it need not only act as a means of documentation but can provide a toolkit of expressive possibilities. The piece initially conflates the movement of dance and the movement of film through a camera. The dancer's moves are segmented into stills, as the film can be segmented into frames. Then it proposes that film is specific due to its capacity to synthesise many different kinds of movement and media, as the jerky black and white film stills of the dancer flip around, turn into negatives, into fast-flowing and sinuous animated imagery, then back. Another layer of segmentation and synthesis in the film is the Stockhausen score that collapses into three parts, with the rhythm of edited movement modulated in accord with the music to a degree.

Still from Mantra by Jeanette Iljon, 1976
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