Review: Botis Seva/Far From The Norm – BLKDOG

Botis Seva/ Far From The Norm — BLKDOG. Photo by Camilla Greenwell

It was cold, wet and windy and the train was late again. The foyer was full of ‘bright young things’, self-aware and carefully dressed. I must admit I felt disgruntled and out of place sitting alone in a corner waiting for the doors to open. The theatre stage was grey and hazy and the young man beside me jigged and fidgeted sending ricocheted annoyances along the row; this threatened to be a very long 67 minutes!

But how wrong I was proved to be! From the moment that the six androgynous figures were revealed, slumped on the stage, clad in grey from head to toe the audience was mesmerised. We were immediately caught up in the story of ‘an ageing artist trying to retain his youth’; enthralled by the energy and ability of the dancers and the extraordinarily varied and clever choreography of this piece. Accompanied by a soundscape of music and words by composer Torben Lars Sylvest and the minimal use of props the poignant silence at the end of the work simply said it all…this was stunning!

Botis Seva/ Far From The Norm — BLKDOG. Photo by Camilla Greenwell

It was helpful to be given some information (in the leaflet provided) on the themes that the work referenced to allow us to relax and really enjoy the complexity of the choreography rather than worry about it. There were wonderful moments of tenderness and humour; the vulnerable dependency of babyhood and carefree childhood play and fun scenes of intimacy. Woven seamlessly through the work were dark flashes of violence. Here the struggle for understanding and reconciliation between the inner child and the adult self became a battleground of agitation and confusion.

Botis Seva/ Far From The Norm — BLKDOG. Photo by Camilla Greenwell
Botis Seva/ Far From The Norm — BLKDOG. Photo by Camilla Greenwell

‘Far from the Norm’ Botis Seva’s company were indeed that. They suffused the work with both energy and moments of electric stillness. The skill of the six dancers worked together with astonishing poise and synchronicity. Perhaps my earlier grumpiness was just a reflection of my disquiet at my own lost youth and thinking about the difficult world that those ‘bright young things’ have before them.

Reviewed at Dance East Ipswich on 28th February 2020

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