CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:45 am ]


Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Fin Walker’s Man & Woman

Wed 26 & Thu 27 October, 8pm
The Place: Robin Howard Dance Theatre
020 7387 0031
Tickets £5 - £15

Meet the Artist: Wed 26. Free to ticket holders after the performance.

John Napier's sculptural set provides a shifting surface for Fin Walker's choreography in a daring and emotional new work for Ricochet Dance Productions. Four people inhabit the territory. The tension is palpable. The ground shifts, splits and opens up… What comes rising headlong to the surface? What remains hidden in the depths?

Ricochet's gifted dancers Ben Ash, Robin Dingemans, Henrietta Hale and Karin Fisher-Potisk perform Walker's visceral choreography to Ben Park's pulsing fusion of sound. Costume design is by Katy McPhee and lighting design by Chahine Yavroyan.

‘Ricochet courts creative risk by commissioning some of the best contemporary choreographers in the business.’ The Times

Author:  Audience Response 26/10 [ Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:02 am ]
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"I think the piece got stronger as it went on, I liked it when they started integrating sequences with and without the set, i mean some using the set and some not." Lucy, London

"I thought it was great, I am a builder so I'm quite new to this kind of thing, but I appreciate the physical aspect. The moves were good, especially the solos, though the interplay between the dancers in the duets was more interesting." Liam, London

"I wished they had looked up a little more, and the gesture at the end was the only sign of affection between any of the dancers. The music was great, but it didn't seem to be going anywhere. The set was excellent. This theatre was perhaps just not the right place to perform this piece. Also, the dancers' hands seemed empty, they used their arms well but their hands seemed to be doing bad sign language." Mindy and Christine, London.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:51 pm ]
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Man & Woman
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Ricochet Dance Productions turn to Fin Walker for their first commissioned hour-long work. On a dark square with a white border is half a dome, which divides into three parts that are moved about and upon by the performers.

Designed by John Napier, well known for his West End shows such as Cats, it gives the four performers different levels and a shifting surface to deal with. This is imaginatively used in the choreography.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:28 am ]
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By Jann Parry for The Observer.

Fin Walker's Man & Woman for Ricochet Dance Productions is too absorbed in its own procedures to make good theatre. Four dancers engage with each other and three versatile wooden shapes. Viewed as mobile sculpture, John Napier's set is beautiful, lit by Chahine Yavroyan in velvety indigo. But an hour is overlong for such obsessive movement material, unenlivened by Ben Park's jazz-driven score.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Nov 04, 2005 3:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

Man & Woman
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Ricochet Dance Productions turn to Fin Walker for their first commissioned hour-long work. On a dark square with a white border is half a dome, which divides into three parts that are moved about and upon by the performers.

[b]click for more[b]

Author:  Alex R [ Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:10 am ]
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“Man and Woman” – Fin Walker and Ben Park, performed by Ricochet Dance Productions, The Place Theatre, London, 26th October 2005

Wednesday night saw my first visit to the Place Theatre and also my introduction to Ricochet Dance Company. However, I had seen an earlier, impressive piece by Fin Walker – ‘Reflection’, choreographed for Rambert Dance Company, and I was eager to see this new, full length work, “Man and Woman” created jointly with composer, Ben Park.

I was also curious to see John Napier’s “sculptural” set, providing ‘a shifting surface for Fin Walker's choreography’, but when the lights first came up I was disappointed to see only a hump in one corner, and a white border around the stage. However, this was later to change, as the hump split into three smaller pieces which the dancers maneuvered around the stage creating varied and intriguing landscapes. When the humps were first divided, I remember mentally challenging the performers to invert them into a see-saw and dance on top - later, to my surprise, that is exactly what they did! The only downside to the regular changes to the setting was that one moment the artists would be performing and then abruptly stop to rearrange the humps, interrupting the performance to my increasing frustration. Perhaps, one of the performers could dance a solo while the other three moved the set?

“Man and Woman” is billed as an emotional work, but we saw little of this from the dancers initially, as their faces remained blank and they made little interaction with the audience. However, they all moved skillfully, Ben Ash especially managing to slide and wriggle fluidly over the humps. Fin Walker’s choreography is demanding and the entire company embraced this challenge successfully. A sequence involving all four dancers, where the three humps stretch across the stage in a line, is the highlight of the show, the performers moving over and around the humps, executing complicated lifts along the way.

The piece was accompanied by Ben Park’s avant-garde score, which we were told was written in collaboration with the choreography. However, it was hard to establish any connection between the movement and the music, which had no clear rhythm and used an eclectic mix of instruments, with percussion to the fore. Park’s score, while accessible didn’t seem to develop, perhaps only peaking slightly in texture towards the middle.

Walker’s choreography is a mix of static stances and more fluid, complicated duets and trios. The work is supposedly a narrative, but I struggled to see this. The static, robotic gestures made by the dancers gradually decrease as “Man and Woman” develops and the choreography becomes more slippery. I could also begin to observe emotions portrayed through the movement, including shyness and loneliness, the latter illustrated in a graceful solo by Henrietta Hale.

At the end, I must confess that I was unclear about the meaning of ‘Man & Woman’. In the post-show talk with the cast and creative team, various aspects were brought up which I had not seen during the performance, such as the significance of the set, but perhaps the dance itself should have made these points more clearly. Nevertheless, I found this a pleasing work to watch with some beautiful sequences, emphasizing that Walker has the potential to become one of Britain’s top choreographers. The show was well received by the audience and I look forward to seeing more from Fin Walker and Ben Park in the future.

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