FADE The Art of Dissociation
Thistle Hall, Cnr Cuba & Arthur Streets, Wellington
10/03/2023 - 11/03/2023
Choreographer and producer: Anna Groves
Film/ Editing/Graphic Design: Jeff Simmonds
Sound Design: Rob ten Broeke
A memoir in movement
A raw and mesmerising performance by Georgia Beechey, portraying choreographer Anna Groves’ lived experience of leaving her body and the physiological challenges this creates. FADE examines the body’s fascinating survival mechanism of dissociation and mutism.
This 40 minute mixed-media work includes contemporary dance, film projection, and an original sound score. The audience is invited to stay for a post-show Q&A with the choreographer.
Anna’s hope is that FADE can act as a bridge – by raising awareness about the experience of dissociation while also deepening understanding for those affected by it.
With intriguing physicality and stunning visuals, this intimate performance will move and captivate you.
Georgia Beechey dancer
Contemporary dance , Dance ,
A sleek, sensitive, informative, impeccably crafted and performed dance/theatre piece.
Review by Helen Balfour 11th Mar 2023
So, this is a winner. If you want to experience a sleek, sensitive, informative, impeccably crafted and performed forty minute theatre piece, see FADE the Art of Dissociation.
I researched Dissociation before I saw the performance and for those that may be unsure as I was, it refers to… ‘a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity’.
Thistle Hall was the perfect venue for this work. It comprises long white wall space, wooden floors and red girders that support the ceiling. The colours of the space also enter the work through costuming, and the symbolism of white (Freeze) and (Fight-Flight) Red, which are 2 of the 7 stages in which, the choreographer of the work, Anna Groves experiences dissociations.
We enter and it’s calm. A folk-style, acoustic guitar, played by musical director Rob ten Broeke, soothes and settles us and the show begins. The fluid, lucidity of Georgia Beechey’s movement style is rich and full. Her seamless floor to standing transitions, her to and fro actions in the first section, Alive, invigorates the audience, capturing our attention as she joyously traverses the space.
I love how close she comes to us, plus the leafy images projected behind her connect her to the here and now.
Fight-Flight, the stage the brain senses danger, stress hormones kick in, volcanic sparks are projected, intense reds, sounds that penetrate through us. Beechey contorts her actions, her gestures display voices in her head. Rotational release and collapses within frenzied and macabre gestures. Fake interactions, overzealous smiles and then, a seamless fade (wonderful link with the title as each section literally fades easily to the next).
Freeze, imagery is strong, frozen branches, the body shutting down and mutism is alluded to. Beechey’s eyes are tight and bright as she takes a focused ‘eagle-like pose’ of stillness, sinking down, down, static, irregular. The movements are so often beautifully crafted in time to the sound.
From this, four more Dissociated sections that Groves traverses while experiencing this disorder, are distinct in form and description, superbly interpreted by Beechey.
Collapse, an expansive seascape, almost drowning, struggling, walking on a precipice. Leave a blissful state with such stillness and peace, Chase, the desperate need to return, just in case Groves doesn’t actually come back to the here and now.
Finally, Ground, the tender-rooted return, symbolized through water stunningly projected in enlarged droplets and, conclusively, that contact with the earth and a selection of subtly shared healing techniques.
High praise to the whole creative team of FADE-The Art of Dissociation, through the unity of Jeff Simmond’smedia and graphic work balancing and combining Groves’ innate, authentic movement concepts, to ten Broeke’s music and sound design that cleverly and sensitively bind the work together. Many accolades to Georgia Beechey who has interpreted such personal and challenging processes, without her delicious fluidity and control it may have been quite different.
Sensitively informative, incredibly focusing and engaging, it was time well spent on a Friday evening.
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