Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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April 2004

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Juilliard Dance

Published: April 13, 2004
Category: review

Performance combines dance and multimedia

By Rachel Straus

Philippe Decoufle is not your typical choreographer.

The multimedia artist skyrocketed to international recognition during the opening ceremonies of the 1992 winter Olympics with his infantry of synchronized bungee-jumpers, who moved in Rockette-style precision while dressed as human snow globes.

Friday Decoufle’s “Tricodex,” a combination of dance, aerobatics and visual effects, will be performed by the Lyon Opera Ballet at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College.

The performance will feature 32 dancers, more than 170 costumes and a world music potpourri, not to mention hallucinatory video, decor and lighting affects.

In the series of vignettes that comprises “Tricodex,” Decoufle combines his circus background with his love of technology. He uses monstrous machines – assembled with dancers dressed in alien-style costumes that surreally whir. Ballerinas circle in midair from bungee chords and there are animal creatures, who bounce, crawl and vocalize.

“It’s definitely kid friendly,” says Lyon’s artistic director Yorgos Loukos. “Decoufle is like a young child, playing all the time and trying to invent things.”

“Tricodex” completes Decoufle’s 17-year-long project that began with the smaller productions of “Codex” (1987) and “Decodex” (1995). All three creations draw their inspiration from Luigi Serafini’s illustrated, mythic encyclopedia “Codex Seraphinianus.”

Decoufle, who has worked in film, television and advertising, has met his match with the multitalented Lyon dancers. The troupes’ well-known versatility has been carefully developed by Loukos, who began directing the company 15 years ago.

On Saturday, the company will present a mixed bill of dance works by Jiri Kylian, Russell Maliphant and William Forsythe.

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