Pinto Dance Company
Review by Lyndsey Winship
November 5, 2003 -- Brighton Dome, Brighton, U.K.
In her past works, Israeli choreographer Inbal Pinto has shown a natural
flair for comic dance theatre. Hearing the title of her third show to
tour the UK, "Boobies," you might have assumed that she was
continuing in the same vein. But it isn’t what you think.
A boobie is a type of bird, one which is only found in the Galapagos Islands.
There may not be any birds on-stage but there’s a definite sense of exotic,
unexplored territory. Pinto has created a world of fantastical creatures
and characters who dance beneath a huge glowing moon, set in the centre
of a deep sienna landscape pricked with thick blades of dry grass.
We’re definitely on the Grimm side of fairytales. While there’s plenty
of clowning and good-humoured mime, this world has a dark, sometimes violent
side. And "Boobies" is all the better for it. There’s a 10 ft
flame haired queen, a pot-bellied hunchback and a beached merman, two
four-legged scavengers with feathered spikes on their backs and a man
chased by butterflies. But the best parts are when they put the mime aside
and concentrate on the dancers.
Our flock of dancers, or is it a pack, or brood? – how do you choose a
collective noun for creatures that are yet to be catalogued? – are all
of a curious appearance and disposition. Thatches of blue hair are tied
in top-knots above yellow faces and expertly tailored bodysuits with jutting
elbows and knees. They stand with shoulders hunched and pelvises rocked
back, rooted to the ground, making solid but very beautiful shapes. They
move as one, with that herd instinct, in a chain of simple rhythmic steps
that play out all the possibilities of their new posture.
Four female dancers seem to do most of the work, appearing in various
guises. In one section they are dressed in beautiful olive green and antique
gold bodices and skullcaps, somewhere between flappers and bathing belles.
With attitude and attitudes they are quite reminiscent of Lea
Anderson’s Cholmondeleys [an all female dance company formed in 1984
-- ed]. They share the same touches of humour and seediness, and they
resist being just another set of dancers doing some steps. Instead they
create a completely new physical character, a whole species of undiscovered
This is a real visual treat, and at times the cast look like illustrations
from a magically skewed imagination. Adding to the atmosphere is a soundtrack
of Korean, Chinese and Japanese music, delicate and haunting, percussive
and suitably otherworldly.
"Boobies" is a refreshing, enchanting and endlessly inventive
piece of dance theatre. There were plenty of children in the audience
who didn’t seem put off by its dark undertones and were spellbound by
their journey into an extraordinary world.
Edited by Jeff.
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