Thierry Smits, Compagnie Thor’s artistic director, swears there’s no political or social edge to D’Orient, though it’s hard to deny the bristling homoerotic undercurrent of the piece: If men discovered the beauty of the human form, they’d spend less time waging war against each other. The opening sequence—staged in a bathhouse—is completely, hopelessly sensual, as members of the all-male company writhe against one another within a hyper-masculine environment. Ensuing sequences (which detail the rituals of agricultural labor and religion) are equally stylized. The simple act of sweeping piles of camel hair wool around the stage is responsible for some of the piece’s most arresting stage pictures. The aesthetics are molded on geometry here—Smits borrows liberally from Turkish dance: Troupe members spin like tops against an intricate Persian carpet-esque backdrop, all of which is vivid and intoxicating and, intentions be damned, a little bit gay.
COMPAGNIE THOR PERFORMS TUESDAY AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE KENNEDY CENTER, 2700 F ST. NW. $25. (202) 467-4600.