Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Work/Travail/Arbeid is a metamorphosis of Vortex Temporum, the choreographer’s hour-long stage work, into a performed exhibition that is designed to last several days in an art gallery. De Keersmaeker has kept the tightly meshed elements of her source material – Gérard Grisey’s turbulent score played live by the Ictus Ensemble, circling patterns marked on the floor and formally rigorous choreography in which the dancers cleave closely to both the sound and the spirals. But she has opened them up, so that different parts of the original stage work play out in different places, at different times.
Where you watch from within Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall fundamentally changes your experience. Standing at the edges – dancers and musicians before you, spectators at your sides – feels most like a theatre, but for the cathedral-sized expanse of air above. Move into the performance area itself and you’re no longer a bystander but a participant: you feel the heft of performers arcing past, find yourself stepping in synchrony to successions of chords, rotating within the eddies of the choreographed vortices around you. Different again is the long view from the bridge: a breathtaking vista on to the whole cosmic dance of orbits and trajectories.
Work/Travail/Arbeid transfigures the whole gallery. It is a profoundly musical event, its choreography built on ideas of sonority, harmonics and composition. The Tate, dominated by the image, becomes transfused with the formalities, sensualities and detailed logics of music and dance.