As you enter the auditorium, a solitary ‘soul’ (guarded by unnervingly cult-ish hooded figures) possesses the spotlight centre stage. She figuratively and literally carries weight upon her as strips of black mesh, pulled taut by the rest of the cast, suspend from the ceiling. Centred as the focal point of the audience’s attention, this poignant installation coincides with the pre-recorded ominous voice, intensifying the oppressive atmosphere on stage. The solo protagonist dances desperately beneath the hanging material, her disjointed movements mirror the repetitive, jarring pounds of the accompanying sound effects. Eventually, she is physically restrained; woven into the symbolic textile web, her limbs are bound and she is even blindfolded. The fabric instalment eventually drops to conclude the piece and perhaps even her life. Inspired by traditional Korean concepts, Soulelusively delves into the subject of suicide through an individual’s self-destructive desolation.
The next piece in the bill is an abstract quartet of two dancers paired with a duo of trumpeters. An uncanny group contort their bodies, creating deformed shapes beneath layers of mesh fabric, their distorted stretches and sensuality suggestive of the premature movements of fetuses. Their lucidity parallels with amniotic fluid and the mesh bags reflect the amniotic sac. The whole piece is indicative of an extraterrestrial birthing, which although at times becomes a little frenzied and clumsy in its intention, remains experimental and enticing for the spectator. The final image of ripping open the remaining creatures from their sacks as the stage sinks into blackout provokes an emotive sense of mystery and leaves the resolution ambiguous.
As the title infers, there is a distinct sense of togetherness and comradery in the playful piece Common Ground. The aural accompaniment, produced by an on-stage orchestral quartet floods the auditorium with angelic symphonies. The musicians interact with the sextet of dancers heightening the prevailing sense of unity within the work. We witness a picture book of all their individual stories running synchronously as the work eloquently flicks from one eccentric conversation to the next. Choreographically, Common Ground was the most technically detailed work of the night. Fusing game, spoken word and song, the piece toys with the audience and elicits a light-hearted, comedic and inclusive atmosphere.
Reviewed on 16th of January at The Place by Sophie Chinner