The second section of the Producing Project’s three-part En Route dance series, entitled IN TO, is set in the Musgrove Studio theatre and features the work of eight choreographers and collaborators. Thematically linked criteria are the stepping stones for the creation of the works; in this case the theme of life, advertised in the advance publicity as: “the fullness of now, the stretch of life, and the space between beginning and ending”.
Some of the works come fully-formed but several appear to be first-drafts of ideas that will bear future development. As in the first series, Sean Curham’s lighting design is a major factor in creating a cohesive continuity to the works.
Life Stretch choreographed and performed by French choreographer, Diego Torres Sarroi perhaps fulfils the thematic criteria most succinctly – in a lovely dream-like sequence that depicts the vagaries of life’s intimate journey in an unhurried, softly-focussed choreographic style. Using elements of mime, a languid movement vocabulary and his mobile face, Diego draws the audience in to his world, so that by the conclusion you can almost see the delicate fluttering of butterflies and birds and feel the warmth of the shining sun, as he celebrates a life well-lived. The work is performed to a music from Max Richter’s recent album Infra – a score which was created for ballet.
In contrast, Lydia Zanetti uses film, a shattered butoh-like vocabulary and mask to create a sense of the duality of identity in life and the manner in which to deal with it. The Spike/Spear music by Pumice underscores this prickly depiction. However, resolution is portended in the final image of the masked sentient being, placidly looking down and observing with folded hands.
Half Way is a mad-cap celebration of life lived to the full: using a frenetic movement vocabulary, admonishments and directives on film and a variety of treats. Created by Sofia McIntyre, Rose Philpott and Jessie McCall of Treat Station, the work is a delight: chaotically rendered in full-out dance to a variety of music tracks that appear to dictate the movement style.
Zahra Killeen-Chance continues her exploration of quirky minimalist movement in GOGODO Part Two which is performed by a dead-pan cast of seven dancers using movements that appear to be derived from the go-go dance forms of the sixties, with a great deal of wit. The open-mouthed, clown-like, “feed-me” postures of the dancers in the second half could be perceived as a robust parody of our consumerist culture in modern times. A variety of sound tracks maintain a steady pulsing rhythm for the duration, the imagery perhaps pointing to a slightly cynical, “whatever” commentary on life.
Blood-Brother by Tallulah Holly-Massey uses a crystal-shaped bi-pyramid to depict the many facets of kinship in life – initially as a burden to be shouldered and then as source of light. Performing with a crab-like, choreographic vocabulary the two dancers, Tallulah and Zahra, are framed first by the wall and then by the floor – unable or unwilling to escape the ties that bind. The work is created to original music by James Risbey and Sleep Walk by Santo and Johnny.
Bre Gentry, Emma Payne and Kate Cummings of InsideOut Dance Company explore the competitive streak that drives many people through life, in their work Sore Loser to music by Florence and the Machine. The work has a strong momentum which is lifted by the dancers own performance abilities and interesting choices of movement. It creates a perky energy that takes on a life of its own as the trio explore the dynamics of rivalry and the consequences when it is pushed too far.
H*A*M takes as its starting point Beat Poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem Pity the Nation to depict the wolves in sheep’s clothing of the “shepherds” of the world who “mislead” the nations – and those who follow others blindly through life. The film imagery is starkly edited by Shaki Wasasala, to batter the senses, but the dance choreographed by Rose Philpott and Jahra Rager is strangely muted; as though to depict the “nation who raises not its voice”. The work is performed to music by Mozart and Tyler, the Creator.
Shani Dickins performs her own short work At Spaghetti Junction, set in the crux where “many tangled lines” meet; as a metaphor for confusion in life. Danced to music by Emily Wells and Drunk Trumpet, the work subsides at the conclusion – perhaps appropriately, given the subject matter – as though defeated by too much “quietly chaotic” living.
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