by Thea Nerissa Barnes
February 6, 2006 -- London
65 Litres Productions
“Adagio”, “Con Brio”
Guitar player, Rui Pereira Rodriguez, and dancer, Adriana D. Pegorer, are positioned downstage. Pegorer is standing in a slice of yellow light slowly turning as her arms rise with her back in a slight spiral. Connected to Pegorer’s ankle, a collection of shoes entangle about her legs. The guitar continues to play. As Pegorer moves methodically upstage the shoes connected to her ankle are dragged along. As the light descends she exits and Dylan Elmore enters. Rodriguez has also left the stage and imagery is being projected on the upstage right corner of the scrim. Elmore dances; subtle hip moves with his image superimposed on the projected imagery. Pegorer returns and her subtle moves are also captured on the projected imagery. The moves are reminiscent of the tango and the imagery is also reminiscent of popular tango locations in South America. As the separate figures continue to move, they are soon in close proximity, but neither is touching. Tangoesque is the foundation of the moves and slowly brief encounters occur. The slowness of their moves affords an opportunity to watch the imagery. The sound is a loop of tango music that repeats several times with intermittent silence. Every so often Elmore mixes his subtle tango moves with conventional Capoeiraesque moves. Pegorer remains within the motif of tango moves set by her from the beginning. A duet performed on a diagonal upstage right to downstage left complemented the music brilliantly and added a bit of lushness to this simple subtle dance, though the incidental contemporary dance moves offered by Elmore seemed an unnecessary virtuosic distraction. The relationship between video, music and Pegorer’s movements with Elmore, brought about an inspired interpretation of tango. The subtle tango-like moves incorporated elegant, lithe intentions. This dance could do with some editing, but was performed beautifully.
Turbulance Dance Company
Choreographer Lucy Field tells her version of Sylvia Plath’s novel “The Bell Jar”. With projected text and dancers who add a layer of drama to their movement, we are presented with a rendering through costume, music and movement of New York, 1963, and the circumstances of Esther Greenwood, the main character in Plath’s novel. The dance illustrates through movement the frustrations of Greenwood that eventually drive her into madness. Dancers appear at the beginning in black skirts and white shirts and a man, John Hurley, wears a black suit. One woman offers another advice, which seems to be dismissed. A couple dances but it seems to be a recollection or an imagined affair, as one of the women stands contemplating notes or letters downstage left. Outfits are changed; one in a night gown, another in a long white pyjama shirt. The dance degrades into a romp expressing frustrated love. The women seem to represent different aspects of one figure, while words state “Esther, you’ve got the perfect set-up for a neurotic”. As projected text reads: “I am I am I am”, three women feign suicide either by slicing a wrist, taking pills or hanging. One arrests her actions, however, and seems to wake from her turmoil. Field and her dancers’ rendition of Plath’s novel is an intriguingly honest one that combines contemporary with jazz dance-like inclinations.
Semekor Peforming Arts
“Shadow of the Past”
Five dancers wear skirts; each a different colour. Green, blue, red, yellow, and white, each dancer was seated on their knees facing upstage in individual specials. After an assortment of arm gestures and flickering hands, three take off the long skirts of colour while one collects them and takes them off stage. There is a chance encounter and an embrace between the only man, Mohammed Dordoh, and one of the women, as the lights descend, changing the dancers into silhouettes moving on the back drop. This encounter progresses into a frenzy of lifts between the couple that eventually includes the other women. As a group, the women then assault Dordoh and chase him from the stage. Ensemble dancing between the women occurs and Dordoh returns to dance under a red light downstage while ladies sit and watch upstage left. As Dordoh finishes, one of the women beckons the others to admire him. They embrace and pretend a mock celebration of cleaning hands and face and eating. A celebratory-like dance ensues. This metisse, or hybrid, of African and conventional contemporary dance is performed skillfully and it is evidence of a rich African Diasporaic experience. Program notes hint at “a myth of a patriarchal Africa and the true strength that lies beneath”. The dramatic tension had a beginning, middle and end, but the storytelling is not entirely clear. As the dance ended and admiring friends applauded intensely, there was a need for some of us to know the meaning of some of the interactions between characters.
Read related stories in the press and see what others are saying. Click here.