In Charge, a transporting vitality shines through the entire piece carrying the spectator into a magic world of memories, human relations and life. Looking at the electricity that moves our bodies, Motionhouse last production is all about the energy that triggers movements and emotions.
Six incredible dancers engage in exhilarating acrobatics and aerial tricks in a thrilling combination of circus and contemporary dance, accompanied by colourful visual projections.
Scattered memories contoured with lightning bolts appear in the background, recalling the idea of a nervous system – an image that will recur often in the show, together with other vital organs like the heart, to emphasize on how the energy is activated and used in our bodies.
The stage is turned into a sort of playground where aerial silks drop down from above allowing performers to wheel around in hypnotic turns, and walls literally grab and take in dancers to make them disappear and spit them out from another side. Our perception of gravity is deceived by clever gimmicks that make dancers look like they are hanging vertically on the wall. It is something particularly powerful, even though at times the extensive use of visuals can be confusing.
The background images are constantly changing, depicting random vignettes and transporting the protagonists into different places – a crowded city, a club, a bedroom, a brain – and a visually captivating atmosphere flourishes, with the aid of stunning abstract projections.
Dancers hang upside down, sometimes interlocked with each other, holding on long ribbons or swinging from the top of the high framework – certainly dangerous, but incredibly breathtaking! Although part of the dance phrases are executed in small groups, it is when performers gather all together that their explosive energy really comes out; especially in the fast paced sequences of hectic everyday life in the City, or at the beginning when, dressed as scientists, they experiment with electricity.
The transition from chaotic sections to more intimate moments, made of graceful gestures and fluid lifts, creates instants of true connection, in particular when focusing on the heartbeat or when two female dancers beautifully interact while standing on their partners’ shoulders. All performers’ physical prowess combined with assured technicality gives the right turn to the show, making the audience aware of how wonderful and complex the human body is.
Strobe lights that give the illusion dancers are floating in the air, alternates to colourful graphics, and light bulbs hanging in mid air that convey a sense of enchanting force.
In Charge, science is brought into dance thanks to a collaboration with students from the University of Oxford and Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft to study the effects of the energy on bodies.
Following Scattered (2009) and Broken (2013), Charge is the final part of the company’s Earth Trilogy, a project exploring our relationship with the Earth.
Reviewed at The Peacock Theatre on 21 March