Union Dance: Permanent Revolution V2R
Linbury Studio Theatre 18 October 2003
Fallela choreographed by Vincent Mantsoe
Music: Stephen Micus, Birth of Dawn and Famoudou Konate, Naabo M’bara
Performed by Garry Benjamin and Michael Joseph
Two dancers moving in unison but if you look closely an arm or a leg or even the rhythm are not quite the same. The opening movement with dancers sittingon there heels also has arms and hands reminiscent of gathering and planting, spreading of seeds or is it spreading an essence. It seems the dancers are connecting with some spiritual ness. As they begin to move, African ritual gives way to martial art feels. Capoeira like movements follow as the dances move in this landscape in an almost random way. The music changes giving a distinct African-esque blend within the moves with each dancer adding his own idiosyncratic feel. Until the dancers leave the dynamic remains moderate neither slowing nor intensifying. Although reverential the intentions are only hinted at and the focus seems intentionally blurred or is it introverted. The shadows cast on the cyc allude to two becoming several making this dance almost mystical but perhaps not necessarily deep.
Holla choreography and music by Bawren Tavaziva
Performed by Jedda Donnelly, Simone Noblett, Will Thorburn
Three characters but only one couple in this dance that is not necessarily a narrative about 2’s a couple and 3’s a disruption. The choregrpahy seems to use the play between each character to reveal subtle differences between the three dancers. Connected by their dissimilarities the three disconnect creating an outsider. This outsider intercedes only when it’s at her advantage although it is not clear what her advantage is. It is also not quite a dance expressing why a man cannot choose because at every chance he selects his one and only. Even Thorburn solo feigns frustration because he is not that frustrated. The movement is graceful and creative being a merger of contemporary conventions complete with body waves and Capoeira like sensibilities. This is a dance needing a few more clarifications or variations in dynamics in the movement not pedestrian gestures to punctuate why at the end Noblett is left alone to watch Donnelly and Thorburn leave together as a couple.
Fractured Atlas choreographed by Doug Elkins with the company
A passage in the program hints at the insight that inspired this work: “knowledge is power (wrote Antonio Gramsci)… it is not enough to know a set of relations.. one also needs to know them genetically,.. every individual is not only a synthesis of existing relation but also the history. A whimsical romp of vignettes, duets, and ensemble patterns, this dance merges Diaspora dance moves accompanied by quotes of linear balletic come contemporary dance lines. The collage of music with contributions from Orishas, Derek Richards, Talvin Singh, James Brown, James Carter and Mississippi State Penitentiary prisoners chain gang song, Antonio Carlos and E Jocafi compliment the visual movement scape; an admixture of West African, Jamaican dance hall, martial arts, hip hop, body pop and wave motions. At the end what could be called the coda is a compilation of bits strung together like beads on a string of moves from the aforementioned vocabularies recognizable by their shape but not necessarily by their usual recognizable dynamic. With Union dancers the dynamic is smooth and light, making tumbles barely perceptible as the men, Garry Benjamin and Will Thorburn roll backward or do hand stands with their heads barely touching the floor. The play between conventions or identities was the intention and this aspect was well executed.
THEA NERISSA BARNES