‘where does movement end and dance begin?’
Duets are the highlight of almost all performances; when two dancers come together to share a moment, bringing their bodies, heart and soul, to create a fused energy and a new collective story.
Duets are explored in Control Signal, created by performance artists Karen Christopher and Sophie Grodin. Control Signal explores invisible influences, unnoticed connections and imposed wills, and follows lines of electricity as it travels through the body and becomes something else.
Control Signal opens with a stark black set and sparse objects, with Karen and Sophie in dark blue nurse-like dresses and heavy black shoes. Karen and Sophie begin by asking a member of the audience to wash their hands on stage – they tell stories with the objects, give interestingly surreal lectures and invite you to witness extraordinary demonstrations of the transference of thought and the synchronising of heart beats.
Sophie is young, dramatic and theatrical and perfectly complements the seasoned Karen who plays a mischievous and expressive character. Their duet is wonderfully balanced as they walk around the stage, tied together they pull a chair into the air, water is split, they enact E.S.P and even pretend to be an elephant. They move in unison, swaying, jiggling with slow and minute movements.
Theirs is a quirky world, funny, weird but interesting, moving to its own beat – there also seems to be an ongoing duet between the performers and the audience conducted through lighting, sound and close up elocutions. It’s a very interesting piece, but there is the question of dance.
One of the reasons I love going to ballet and dance is that you never quite know what you’re going to experience and Control Signal certainly was nothing like I had expected, but I had expected more dance. Control Signal is more performance art and it made me question, ‘what is dance?’ and ‘where does movement end and dance begin?’
Control Signal is interesting and entertaining, and importantly made me think, and that’s always a good thing!
Control Signal is presented by the University of Roehampton, Drama, Theatre and Performance department in partnership with Sadler’s Wells, 31 October 2014.
by Savannah Saunders