Over the course of Waves, now showing at the Print Room, we find that the answers are, respectively: yes; it’s complicated; and unequivocally yes.
She’s accompanied by two musicians on Indian instruments, the sitar and tabla – a trance-inducing sound, which is occasionally punctured by spoken extracts from Indian philosophical and religious texts.
If Rasa pushes the definition of dancing to an extreme, that's not a bad thing.
By contrast Kirill Burlov’s S/He asks its questions with vigour and an in-your-face vehemence. The piece is an exploration of the dynamics of male/female relationships. It starts with Burlov, choreographer and dancer, dragging dancer Emma Farnell-Watson onto the stage. Accompanied by a corny tango melody, he is all action, energy, and posturing. She, breasts exposed and clad in a skirt flared with hoops, is passive, inert, the object of his manipulation.
At some point, though, the dynamic changes. She forces Burlov into one of her skirts – now they’re equals. The music shifts to an electronic beat, their movements become totally coordinated.
In the the third section each seem to go their own way, both with agency, both independent. Their dancing is now a physical contest. The questions raised are interesting and timely; the dance less so.
In the final piece of the evening, though, dance is everything. For his first choreographed work, dancer Dickson Mbi set himself the ambitious task of summoning Duende: that mysterious entity more often associated with flamenco, that is said to materialise among artists on the rare occasions when performances reach exceedingly high levels of excellence and feeling.
Mbi’s is dance as ritual: concentrated, intense, mythical. There’s something ancestral and commanding about his figure, as he stands in a pool of milky light, head raised, arms spread out, muscles slowly rippling, as if summoning a spirit.
Gradually his movement accelerates and he conquers more and more of the space around him. He comes to the edge of the stage and gestures as if to involve the audience in his embrace and his ritual. It’s a totally mesmerising dance from an intensely powerful performer.
Waves is an experimental programme, a collection of explorations for which The Print Room is well suited. Not all of it works, and yet all three pieces ask the right questions, which surely is the first thing we should expect from artists.
|What||Waves, Print Room Review|
|Where||The Coronet Theatre, Print Room, 103 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3LB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Notting Hill Gate (underground)|
21 Nov 17 – 23 Nov 17, 19:30 Dur.: 1 hour no interval
|Website||Click here to book via the Print Room|