So begins Dance No 2°, the aim of which is to examine how the land we live on shapes us, so that earth and humanity become inseparable. Commissioned and co-produced by The Place, where it had its premiere, it is the work of the choreographer Sivan Rubinstein, who concentrates on raising contemporary cultural issues – and with the climate conference in full swing in Glasgow, what issue could be more ‘now’ than our relationship with the planet?
It helps to know that the title Dance No 2°, or DN2°, refers to the two-degree tipping point in the rise of global temperatures.
A singularly eloquent soundscape by composer Liran Donin, more than makes up for the absence of sets; it takes us to desert, forest and ocean with the skilful use of atmospheric music and sound effects drawn from nature, such as birdsong.
Four indefatigable young dancers appear to alternate between enacting nature and relating to it as humans. The remaining three join the original woman in white by crawling unnoticed onto the stage, slowly dragging their bodies in close intimacy with the ground. Does this indicate the inseparable link between humanity and the Earth?
Now the score becomes agitated and incorporates suggestions of North African music; maybe we’re in the desert. The dancers move fiercely, in an undefinable style that owes a little to street dance, a little to contemporary dance and quite a bit to improvisation.
If it’s not always easy to follow where they are meant to be and what their intense emoting is meant to convey, there is one outstanding scene midway through the work’s 60 minutes: the ocean. The score, with falling water threaded through the music, is clear and deeply engrossing; the kneeling dancers use their arms and swaying torsos to enact the movement of the waves. It is a remarkably clear and transporting scene.
The finale, too, is inspired. Now the dancers are simply sitting on the ground, as a sequence of film projections washes over them. They are images of people from various parts of the world in colourful costumes, illustrative perhaps of the deep connection between all peoples of the earth and the planet that sustains them.
Age Guidance: 8+
|What||Review: Sivan Rubinstein, Dance No 2°|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
02 Nov 21 – 03 Nov 21, 19:30 Dur.: 60 mins
|Price||£17 (concessions £13)|
|Website||Click here to book|