A FIGURE EXHALES
Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
21/03/2017 - 25/03/2017
What is seen and unseen? Hidden and shown? Multiple-award winning dancer and choreographer Zahra Killeen-Chance uses sharp-edged and refined choreography to play with the visibility of the breathing body in this new dance work.
Performed with an original soundscape by Wellington-based artist, Emi Pogoni.
Featuring the fabulous performers, Kosta Bogoievski, Lisa Greenfield, Tallulah Holly-Massey, and Jessie McCall.
Tickets: $18 / $20
Performers, Kosta Bogoievski, Lisa Greenfield, Tallulah Holly-Massey, and Jessie McCall.
Dance , Contemporary dance ,
Meditative and stylised with considerable visual impact
Review by Brigitte Knight 22nd Mar 2017
Zahra Killeen-Chance’s meditative and stylised A Figure Exhales is a full-length dance work of considerable visual impact.
Just-connected sections move at a pleasing pace, with space for ideas to be developed and explored before a fresh grouping of dancers shifts the tone of the performance. Solos, duos, small groups, and staggered entrances are arranged thoughtfully throughout, providing both contrast and necessary moments of familiarity in this abstracted work.
The ensemble of six dancers manage the movement vocabulary of A Figure Exhales with focus and attention to detail. Exploding and extrapolating human breath, Killeen-Chance manipulates elements of classical and modern dance, finding a palette of movement in command of both isolations and full-body fluidity. Unison sections at times are less successful, and perhaps more marked given the close proximity of the audience. Conversely, contrasting movements in ensemble work require increased clarity and intent. With effortless dexterity, the technical highlight of the dance is the elevated soloist’s right arm isolations – effortless, rippling and completely entertaining.
The Basement is arranged with seating through the length of the space, leaving a small, blacked-out rectangle for the performance at the top end. The creation of entrances and their use is effective; spatially the most dramatic moment occurs when the back curtains are parted to reveal a dancer elevated on a platform and elongated by a costume that reaches the floor.
Sound accompaniment by Emi Pogoni uses the breath and voices of 25 people, recorded, morphed, and rearranged. There is plenty of variety in rhythm and mood, and thoughtful contrasts occur between synchronised choreography and steps that occur, dreamlike, irregardless of the soundscape.
Beautifully fine, seamless woollen shrouds are essential to the landscape of work. A simple colour palette of black, navy and white foreshadow a sparing and powerful contrast with blood red. The costumes in each section reveal something – the mouth, the ankles, the right arm. An entire performance with the dancers’ faces covered leaves a bemusing space for the audience to fill with their own ideas of identity and personality.
A Figure Exhalesis a sculptural, ceremonial work, with a strong visual aesthetic. The lighter moments and their subtlety work perfectly in the intimate performance venue, however, I long for the large open space of a gallery to allow the images room to resonate.
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