Tuesday, May 31, 2005

friday night dance

With the bank holiday and everything, Friday night seems ages ago, but here is what I remember.

The first piece was I Infinite, a solo in which 'a character trapped in a finite world flirts with the infinite' (according to my memeory of what the programme said.) I've got to admit that I found interpreting what was going on hard. It's not the sort of dance where each action corresponds to a meaning, as in classical ballet mime, nor are there linear stories being told. Sometimes I think the exploration of themes is happening mostly in the performer or choreographer's head and it can be harder for the audience to grasp. Leaving aside the interpretation, the thing was visually stunning. The main light source was from computer animation projected from the front of the stage to the back wall. This made triangular areas of shadow from the front to the sides where at times the dancer moved along half in and half out of light, making shapes and sometimes seeming to dance with himself. And the dancing! He had incredible balance, using the whole of his foot, sometimes supporting himself on one foot with a bent knee as the rest of his body moved around him. The movements combined moonwalking, the fake walking of a mime and the kind of minutely precise footwork you get in Indian classical dance. Sequences of movements repeated. The effect, combined with his white make-up and clothes was semi-robotic.

The second piece, Dual, took some of the movements from the first and developed them, using four dancers, two in red, two in white. The animations changed, alternating white and grey drifting shapes with red rectangles that appeared over dancers like doorways or red lines that travelled up, down or across like a scanner. The programme describes characters reacting to natural and artificial stimuli. I wasn't sure whether red and white corresponded to artificial and natural or whether the animation itself represented artificial and the dancers were natural. Or perhaps something else. Anyway, the dancing was technically amazing. There were sequences in which three dancers moved around each other, flailing arms and legs so fast and near each other they seemed about to hit one another. The shadows on the back wall echoed and enhanced the shapes the dancers made as some sat still while others moved around them. Again, the shadows sometimes seemed to be additional characters in the dance. (They also looked like an particularly avant-garde i-pod ad).

Overall, I'm not sure I understood the pieces, but they were fascinating to watch.

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