Resolution! 2016, Drishti Dance, Bridget Lappin, Laura Obiols

Posted: February 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, Drishti Dance, Bridget Lappin, Laura Obiols

Resolution! 2016, Drishti Dance, Bridget Lappin, Laura Obiols

Anuradha Chaturvedi of Drishti Dance (photo: Sarah Jex)

Anuradha Chaturvedi of Drishti Dance (photo: Sarah Jex)

This evening of Resolution! begins with an exposition of Kathak by Drishti Dance, a trio of choreographer Anuradha Chaturvedi and dancers Meena Anand and Shyam Patel. Antaraal is a work that weaves choreography with music and verse in which all three elements span two cultures: Chaturvedi is based in Reading but brings her knowledge and mastery of Kathak from Lucknow in India; the score is shared between Oxford-based Malcolm Atkins and Lucknow-based Ustad Gulshan Bharati, while the verse is from Mohan Rana, a Hindi poet living in Bath. Antaraal is thus a meditation on the diaspora life, rooted in tradition while adapting to a new cultural context, a place where ‘movement is caught between two worlds, one dead and the other yet to be born.’ To my Western eye, however, the elements of gesture, rhythm and costume in Antaraal speak of an unequivocal, and very much living, Indian experience, so it is difficult to know what is ‘dead’ and what is ‘yet to be born.’ Perhaps in placing Kathak in the service of both Eastern and Western musical rhythms Chaturvedi is suggesting a journey between the two, somewhere between departure and arrival. But what my memory retains are the floating, sinuous gestures of the three dancers, their poise, the clarity of their facial expressions and the rhythmical hand and footwork responding both intimately and animatedly to the music.

There we have stopped, while the world stands still,
and the endless days that were following us, too have stopped.
There we stand, meeting after a long time,
in a conversation that catches an unfinished past.
Having moved far, been lived, told, and retold
our story is now hand in hand with emptiness,
and we’re left
pondering an elusive end.

  • Mohan Rana (translation: Mohan Rana & Georgina Tate)

Dressed in layers of black against a black backdrop on a black floor seems a paradoxical way of establishing the art of exposure but Bridget Lappin relishes the challenge, bringing her bright gaze to the darkness around her in The Art of Exposure. There is no credit for lighting but the timeless beginning — a very gradual sensitizing of our eyes to Lappin’s still, shadowy, spectral form — and her mysterious disappearance at the end are beautifully staged. Camouflage is central to the work, and Lappin refers in her program note to a 17th-century Ninja manual on the art of concealment, Shoninki, but she spends the entire performance shedding her camouflage just enough to establish it, teasing us with her ability to materialize out of the dark and leave an indelible image. She does this by taking on the disguise of first a ninja, then, by replacing her warrior mask with a touch of lipstick, a woman and finally (as in Young Galaxy’s track) ‘just a body’ — what she describes as ‘deceptions in an act of self-preservation against her environment.’ Her movements are at once assured and mysteriously quiet, clear and off-balance, her gestures fast and complex. In the half-light the outlines of her body are erased so all we see of her is bare hands and face, or, in the final stage, her bare back inside the v-shaped opening of her unitard. It is the art of exposure by stealth and suggestion and it is remarkably persuasive.

The final work, Laura Obiols’ Hourglass, is ‘a journey with Lilly to explore growing up in a society full of expectations and fear of taking risks, where time seems to be chasing you.’ Obiols pulls together elements of biography like a magician conjuring rabbits out of a hat: the talking shoes and boots setting up the family story at the beginning (set design by Michelle Bristow), Lilly’s transformation from young girl to a young woman and the appearance of characters one after the other from behind a sofa. We first see Lilly in the person of Betty Toogood Sayers sitting long-legged on the floor writing in a diary while her father, James Finnemore, is (so we learn from the voiceover) going through a bad phase. Lilly is unaware of his anxt-ridden, gravity-laden solo and runs to be picked up on his shoulders. By sleight of hand she grows into Léa Tirabasso but then things start to get fuzzy. Michael James Gilbert is someone she picks up (or he picks her up) at a club but it is not clear for whom he is performing. Rosie Terry makes an appearance as a friend and then Kieran Page dressed like Terry replaces her from behind the sofa to offer Lilly his hand. The three men in Lilly’s life bear an uncanny resemblance to each other, which is confusing; they are distinguished more by their respective dance genres than by their characters. Only Tirabasso remains her growing or shrinking self, and there is a tantalizing moment after the four adult characters manipulate her like a spinning compass when I thought for sure she would dance a trembling apotheosis but she is interrupted and never gets to express herself in maturity.

It is an analogy for Hourglass itself; with the exception of the two underused musicians — Nuria Sobrino on piano and Charlie Stock on viola — the talents of her cast and the input of her production team appear to have turned Obiols in different directions: beside some lovely symbolism and imagination there are elements of over-literal storytelling and patchwork dance: building blocks but not yet architecture.

Resolution! 2016, performances on January 28

Posted: February 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, performances on January 28

Resolution! 2016, M Contemporary Dance, Konstantina Skalionta, Friction Dance

Konstantina Skalionta in Be My Home (photo: Jonathon Vines)

Konstantina Skalionta in Be My Home (photo: Jonathon Vines)

The Place’s Resolution! 2016 platform programs 78 works over three weeks, with three performances each night so the likelihood of finding a similar theme on a particular evening is small. But each of the three works this evening dealt with changing, clinging to or abandoning some form of clothing as symbols, respectively, of self-worth, home or humanity.

Entrances and exits are difficult to achieve without appearing to be a utilitarian means of getting performers on and off stage. Before the audience enters M Contemporary Dance Theatre solved the problem by burying its four young women (Maud Brambach, Tabatha Longdoz, Sara MacQueen and Chloe Zambon) under a significant heap of garments. In its lengthy stillness the heap takes on an ambiguity — whether it will act or be acted upon — until it starts to breath with the life underneath. Brambach’s Sous Influence is an underworld of identity in which underwear rather than the body is the structure on which the sartorial self-image of each woman is built. The influence of the title is the effect of consumer advertising on the notion of self-image. The work has no particular shape other than the putting on and taking off of clothes and the influence this has on the independent behaviour of each woman and on the relationship between them. It is a choreography of social commonplace with a chic sensuality, showing a disaffection with dance but a desire to transpose a contentious social issue on to the stage with raw physical energy. As Brambach notes, the women ‘do not act but present themselves as they are…They do not try to tell you something but to make you reflect.’ There is a little je m’en fous in this slice of life, modeled with broad strokes but lacking in the finer detail that would make it a really engaging portrait of a contemporary phenomenon. The text in French, for example, which is partly translated into English by MacQueen, is hard to reflect on because partially inaudible. Nevertheless Brambach, who is Belgian and graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, has a strong voice and if she keeps going in this direction she will give form to something that has the force of Sous Influence with more clarity and shape.

Konstantina Skalionta’s covering is less clothing than a sculptural life belt (conceived and made by Laura Elias), a material shell she wears over a black unitard. We first see her reclining comfortably within it on a small island of salt. The shell is made of four padded, freeform, interlocking sections resembling the abdominal structure of an insect, that move freely up and down Skalionta’s body. From the moment she leaves her island ‘home’ she takes her shell on a journey around and across the barren black floor, her feet shuffling and skittering in a constant state of indecision as to whether to step out or remain attached. She forms and reforms the sections of shell around her, pulling them over her shoulders and head but never quite taking them off. It is a single poetic idea that Skalionta has the courage to maintain to the very end. Be My Home takes 20 minutes to perform and in its simplicity gains a timeless quality — reflected in Peter Broderick’s aptly named music Floating/Sinking — that extends beyond the prescribed limit for the performance. One senses Skalionta’s meditation on home could continue for a lot longer.

Hannah Wade’s concept for the dancers’ costumes in Friction Dance Theatre’s Smirk involves hiding the face in bandages and the body in two layers of stretched plastic covering. The eerie glow from the plastic and the eyeless, featureless heads make for strange beings that Ben Logan’s choreography turns into a band of prowling, infighting predators. Taking as its starting point the social phenomenon of deindividuation — a group mentality in which anonymity encourages anti-social behaviour — Smirk aims to reverse the trend. The problem is it’s all rather predictable, which translates as having few qualities beyond its description. The concept is an interesting social phenomenon and diverse in its manifestations but Logan and Wade smother it in a singular, ghoulish image. The five dancers (Suzannah Dessau, Jade Franklin, George Jennings, Jack Parry and Daisy Winstanley) group and regroup in jarring, fitful movements, crossing the stage in waves of post-apocalyptic distress from which a violent solo or duet emerges. Occasionally the dancers stare quietly into the audience with their blind eyes before returning to the fray until one of the girls signals a truce by taking off her outer carapace and undulates softly in the light and silence. She evidently influences the others and they spend the final section of Smirk struggling to strip away the layers of plastic wrap to reveal their naked torsos as a symbol of individual identity. Friction Dance Theatre is a new company and I believe Smirk is Logan’s first group work. He needs to dig deeper to find what it is he can offer that will make it stand out in a competitive choreographic world just as the dancers disassociate themselves from the group at the end of Smirk to assert their individuality.

Resolution! 2016, performances on January 20

Posted: January 31st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, performances on January 20

Resolution! 2016: Justine Reeve, Rhiannon Brace, Simone Mousset

Simone Mousset, Elisabeth Schilling and Hannah Ma in Their Past (photo: Bohumil Kostohryz)

Simone Mousset, Elisabeth Schilling and Hannah Ma in Their Past (photo: Bohumil Kostohryz)

Justine Reeve and Company is actually Justine Reeve sans Company, or the-one-and-only Justine Reeve distilling over 20 years of dance teaching into a satirical compendium of key principles. Reeve is a fine performer and the line she draws between performance and reality is also fine; she gets away with pointing out uncomfortable truths by offering them in a comedic routine that has us laughing hysterically. And this evening she is in full flow, hosting a mock Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminar entitled Outstanding Dance Teaching and Tactics for Achievement, abbreviated nonchalantly to Outstanding and tactics, in which the audience plays the role of delegates. Reeve has a lot to say and she says it with delightfully-timed word play, bullet points, aphorisms, biscuit licking, a clip of her teaching a jelly-roll sequence to Chloe Mead and Corey Baker, a beached-whale dance, and a Tim Van Eyken song called Trust in Me that morphs into Trust in Reeve, while unflinchingly taking on the university dance syllabus and dreams of Michael Flatley. As a teacher she’s on dangerous ground; but behind the mordant humour of Outstanding and tactics it is not hard to sense that Reeve’s object of dissection is not teaching per se but the bureaucratic structure of dance training that sucks the life out of its teachers and replaces the oral tradition with administrative jargon. She has been teaching long enough to know the difference and in the custom of the court jester or clown, Reeve is a messenger who uses the art of performance to convey it. Outstanding and tactics is classic Reeve and the dance community should have the courage to present it and discuss its issues. As long as she agrees to share her biscuits.

Rhiannon Brace describes her creative path self-deprecatingly as ‘a clueless mother’s experience of pregnancy, childbirth and “life” after’ following the birth of her son, Dylan. Less clueless is her choice of music that inverts the meaning of ‘baby’ in pop culture to the biological phenomenon with which she has recently fallen in love. Baby thus has a similar structural reliance on popular music and the double-entendre of its lyrics as Jerome Bell’s The Show Must Go On. From Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Brahms’ Lullaby played on a music box through a juke box playlist of Be My Baby by The Ronettes, Kooks by David Bowie (to whose memory Baby is dedicated), Baby Boy by Beyoncé, Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, to a finale of Tina Charles singing I Love to Love, it is the music that proves the driving emotional force through Brace’s autobiographical journey. Babies don’t dance (well, they do, but that comes later) so the cast reflects an older family hierarchy with Gracie-Jayne Angel as ebullient baby, Grace Kemp as mother, Mary Cox as young grandmother and Jey Jeyakumar as teddy-bearing father. Bookending her journey with a short before-and-after solo by Kemp, Brace’s choreography celebrates the bonds of family and friends and the mutual help that makes the process of early motherhood bearable, proudly sharing the fruits of her labour with five mothers and their (very young) offspring in Snugglies who join her in a loose improvisational finale to the Tina Charles track. Never has so much applause been showered on so many babies for such a brief appearance.

The initial impact of Simone Mousset’s Their Past is a first hearing of two movements from the extraordinary Middle Symphony by Russian composer Yuri Khanon. Mousset does not attempt to counter the urgent power of Khanon’s score but along with Elisabeth Schilling and Hannah Ma she weaves an ethereal contrast to it both visually and emotionally. The music rises up suddenly out of the dark and its haunting orchestration spreads like a mist. Their Past is inspired by Mousset’s experiences of travelling, living and working in Russia, Ukraine and Lebanon and there is in her approach to the music of Khanon (from whom she asked permission to use the score) a response to the expansive and mysterious land as much as to the music. Schilling and Ma in matching black bodices and red tulle skirts are described as guides to the white-clad Mousset as she journeys through time. There are traces of a Renaissance dance and a wonderful trio of three silent voices speaking through the body. Mousset revels in the gesture of ambiguity; the women float with mysterious shivers and shudders, hesitant in their fragile relationship in which they seem ineluctably drawn to each other. As rich in imagination and as enigmatic as Khanon’s music, Their Past forges a unity of its elements that sustains its folkloric enchantment to the end. A simple inversion of the opening relationship between the three women brings the work to a close with Mousset and Ma watching Schilling’s final abandoned spiraling of red tulle under a red light until she falls to the floor on the final percussive crack of the score and the spell is broken.

Resolution! 2016, performances on January 19

Posted: January 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, performances on January 19

Resolution! January 19: Lizzie J Klotz, Maria Fonseca, What is Written Dance Company

Alys North and Charlie Dearnley in To Suit (photo: Camilla Greenwell)

Alys North and Charlie Dearnley in To Suit (photo: Camilla Greenwell)

I first saw Lizzie J Klotz’s To Suit at The Galvanizer’s Union pub in London on the Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform. It was a well-formed miniature in an intimate setting. When Klotz talked of expanding it for Resolution! I wondered how something that was already complete could be lengthened without unbalancing it, but it has grown into a well-formed miniature in a larger setting, just as warm and just as rich. The lighting by Michael Morgan has helped keep the space intimate, but Klotz and her two performers (Charlie Dearnley and Alys North) have remained true to the spirit of the work and to the relationship between them; its warmth and sense of humour has Made in the North all over it. One of To Suit’s beauties is that it doesn’t have the self-conscious pose of a dance piece; Klotz writes that it was ‘developed through an investigation into human communication…[drawing] comparisons to animal courtship rituals, specifically exploring the behaviour of birds.’ The edges of the communication dissolve into dance and the dance dissolves into the communication. It helps that both Dearnley and North do not come across so much as dancers as two people who move (and speak and sing) their relationship. Dearnley at the beginning goes through a series of gestures in silence that suggest a human agency but when North arrives clutching a bundle of rich-coloured clothes the subsequent communication between them is expressed through an overlapping of text (by Dearnley), bird cries, social dance, over-dressing, cross-dressing and ecstatic jumps. We infer the relationship between the two from their actions in the same way we can feel Johann Sebastian Bach’s music (which Klotz uses to great effect) through its internal structure; the emotions come out of the music and the dance. All that remains is to end To Suit as simply and effectively as it starts.

IDADE in Maria Fonseca’s native Portugese means age, and is the name she has given to her work exploring the phenomenon of ageing through the relationship between herself and Anne Burgi. The rather dark, symbolic opening suggests a mother-daughter relationship as Burgi stands holding a length of coiled material that ends in a shaded pile on the floor. The pile unwinds into Fonseca who unravels the umbilical cord, winds it around her head like a tribal headdress (reminding me of Steve McCurry’s famous photograph of the Afghan girl) and dances with all the sinuous vitality of youth to a Claire Denis film score played by Tindersticks. Fonseca calls growing old ‘an infinite dance of transformation’ but with Burgi’s reading a text about ageing and a long interview in which Fonseca asks questions and Burgi answers, the transformation takes on a rather too dialogical aspect. IDADE thus has a double identity: a theatrical performance with imagination and symbolism, and a conversation that has neither. There is too little of the former and too much of the latter to make a coherent work.

What is Written Dance Company performed Dialect of War at Emerge with three dancers (Jean-Pierre Nyamangunda, Viviana Rocha and Sia Gbamoi). Here it is expanded to a fourth dancer (Daniele Sablone) but either the choreographic elements of expansion or the space has diluted some of the power I remember. Described as ‘the story of a warrior tribe whose lives are brutally disrupted’, the opening scene of four warriors at rest to a recording of battle sounds is too ingenuous, especially when they all raise their knees on cue. The four dancers can evince a powerful energy but too often they appear unable to get into gear. There is a slow, menacing beginning to a duet between Nyamangunda and Gbamoi but as soon as the music begins they suddenly speed up. We know this is a theatrical representation of conflict and violence, but such lapses of dramatic continuity make the artificiality apparent. As Roland Barthes wrote on the spectacle of street wrestling, ‘what matters is not what [the public] thinks but what it sees.’ We want to believe, and at Emerge the dancers convinced me of their state of mind but here, for the most part, it was not as evident. This is all the more essential as What is Written Dance Company is presenting a subject that is beyond our imagination; to make it work, they have to go beyond our imagination into the realms of both the human and the animal to convey the palette of emotions, and then some. I felt it before, but something too civilised has set in to dilute its expression.

Resolution! 2016, performances on January 16

Posted: January 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, performances on January 16

Resolution! January 16: Jack Philp Company, Pirenaika Dance, Spoken Movement

Elly Braund and Nancy Nerantzi in Pinenaika Dance's Calle Leganitos (photo: Pierre Tappon)

Elly Braund and Nancy Nerantzi in Pinenaika Dance’s Calle Leganitos (photo: Pierre Tappon)

Jack Philp’s Psychoacoustic is a collaboration between neuroscience, sound and movement to ‘explore the body’s and brain’s response to sounds around us in light of particular emotions.’ Philp sets the context with a visual presentation of a mix of jarring sounds we might experience on a daily basis: pedestrians, traffic, construction, and social media. Gaia Cicolani stands immobile in front of the screen but her tensed hands and fingers prelude a growing muscular contraction throughout her body in response to the cacophonous input (audience brains are probably doing something similar but the seated bodies do not carry the movement through in the same way). By contrast, Linda Telek responds calmly to the more lyrical passages in Ben Corrigan’s acoustic environment but the reactions of both dancers fall within a narrow range of predictable gestures. It is only in their interaction with Clémentine Télesfort that the theme begins to develop as if they are reenacting the processes of the brain undergoing contrasting acoustic patterns. It is neuroscience, however, that has the leading role and the stage is rooted in the laboratory. Philp describes Psychoacoustic as ‘a culmination of the primary stages of an ongoing research project’, which translates as ‘the end of the beginning.’ In its further development Psychoacoustic might benefit from employing a less literal approach to movement and giving it less of a reactive role than an equal partnership in the collaboration.

Pirenaika Dance is Oihana Vesga Bujan, a dancer with Richard Alston Dance Company. Calle Leganitos, which Pirenaika Dance presented at Resolution!, is the first public sharing of Vesga Bujan’s choreography. Although she herself is an accomplished dancer, she has created her work on two other dancers in the company, Nancy Nerantzi and Elly Braund. The starting point is an odd one but with happy consequences: a Victor Borge performance of A Mozart Opera in which he characteristically reduces the cast and plot to a banal, farcical tale. Vesga Bujan sets off in the other direction with her two dancers to find ‘a relevant dance’ to an adagio, an allegro and a rondo for strings by Mozart. The dancers ‘will dive into the unknown…towards a place far from the glittery or the mundane…’ which is exactly what they do. Nerantzi and Braund are like spirited twins let loose on the rhythms and nuances of Mozart’s music that with Vesga Bujan’s help transport them to new levels of exhilaration. Even when Vesga Bujan plays with silence she keeps the musical line in motion with her innate musicality and lyrical sense of movement. What she adds to the dance is a lively gestural sense*; her gestures, drawn from daily life, amplify and qualify the dance in a way reminiscent of Jiří Kylián’s choreography. Like Kylián she finds through gesture new dynamic shapes, and the new shapes lead to new connections that form refreshingly new phrases and choreographic punctuation. For a first public work, Calle Leganitos is remarkably mature.

Kwame Asafo-Adjei’s Family Honour to a score of the same name by Simon Watts is a production of Spoken Movement, which is an apt description of the way Asafo-Adjei performs. His movement speaks with an intense physical articulation in the service of a narrative, the history of a father whose memory lies deep in regret and sadness. The work is full of symbolism to which Asafo-Adjei pays precise attention as if performing a ritual. He picks up a book from his desk and peremptorily tosses it out as if the written word has no place here. He talks about his mother as a ‘very, very, very wise woman’ but when he mentions his father he falls silent, looking away with a pain that has no words. He communes with his invisible mother, his source of strength, then fails once again to speak about his father. Instead his frenetic hands on the desk go through the actions of erasing, cutting, re-ordering and then with his whole body he digs out the traces of his memories on the floor in an extended, contorted solo, hammers them out with his muscled arms and shoulders until he sits once again at the desk, exhausted and exorcised. He lays his body on the desk and breathes a final, muffled incantation for his ears alone. Asafo-Adjei is a compelling performer, but what makes Family Honour disquieting is the inseparability of this life story from its theatrical expression.

* According to Laurence Louppe (in her Poétique de la danse contemporaine), a gesture is the visible emanation of an invisible physical source that nevertheless conveys the intensity of the entire body (‘Le geste est avant tout l’émanation visible d’une genèse corporelle invisible, mais porteuse de toute l’intensité du corps global.’)

Resolution! 2016, performances on January 15

Posted: January 20th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Resolution! 2016, performances on January 15

Resolution! 2016, January 15: Animal Radio, ISH by moi, Neus Gil Cortés

Publicity image for Neus Gil Cortés' Here Body (photo: Patricio Forrester)

Publicity image for Neus Gil Cortés’ Here Body (photo: Patricio Forrester)

Some subjects just don’t seem to share common ground with the choreographic side of dance and social media is one of them. Animal Radio’s Book My Face begins with a powerful visual image on a screen of two large-scale faces (of the two dancers, Maga Radlowska and Aneta Zwierzynska) undergoing cartoon-like transformations (photography by Agnieszka Dolata and filmed by Neil Emmanuel). The faces endlessly morph from one tic to another, one expression to the next, but the idea gets carried away; it becomes a show in itself, lasting the entire length of the work without playing more than a peripheral role in it. The drive behind Book My Face is an exploration of how ‘virtual identity affects the inner instinctive animal in us’ and ‘the extent to which the identities we inhabit impact on our movement patterns.’ Do they? It seems to be a case of a choreographic fusion of Animal Radio’s contemporary dance, capoeira and contact backing itself into a concept. The only connection is between the dancers and the live rhythmic input of musician Alex Judd. It might be worthwhile to put the concept and the visuals aside and start again with the dancers and the music to see where that might lead.

ISH by moi’s Sirens is another kind of animal altogether. Ishimwa Muhimanyi uses a zoological analogy to establish his premise: ‘Visibility exposes an animal to the risk of attack from its enemies, and no animal is without enemies. Being visible is therefore a basic biological risk; being invisible is a basic biological defence. We all employ some sort of camouflage.’ The opening film of the striking Muhimanyi in a long black wig, bright red pants and matching trainers drinking a milky white substance from a bowl on a white floor is a defiant statement of visibility. If he is being provocative it is with a siren’s beguiling sense of humour. In the same outfit he backs on to the stage in a narrow rectangle of light, rippling and undulating with unabashed showmanship before dropping his disguise to start a cabaret-like monologue on coming to grips with and overcoming fear (in the form of a black latex mask on a stand whose potential for camouflage he rejects). His text is candid and amusing (an irresistible combination) and his gestures seem to derive from the same impish source. By the end Muhimanyi has established his sense of self without imposing it; instead, he draws us into his world, our camouflage in disarray.

I have seen three pieces by Neus Gil Cortés (most recently at Emerge Festival) and while each has been quite different there is a core that is consistent. She has that ability to evoke emotion through a minimum of means. In Here Body she puts together traces of memories and expresses each of them in her movement, one after the other, sometimes overlapping, creating a collage of gestures, acts, and stillness that together form the reality she is remembering. As in memories, there is space and time in her work and she allows us the space and time to engage our imagination to draw us in to her remembering without giving us a narrative map. At the very beginning we see an empty wooden rocking chair in the spotlight and just clear of it, in the half-light, we see Gil Cortés lying on the floor, her head, long languid arms and legs in a state of suspension, floating. In her program notes, she writes that Here Body ‘explores feelings and fears around death and decay.’ These feelings, so I learned later, are the result of two concurrent events in Gil Cortés’ life: a loss of faith and the death of her beloved grandmother. I mention it not because they provide context vital to an understanding of the work, but because I am fascinated by Gil Cortés’ process of transforming memory into choreography, finding the emotion in motion and fusing the two in their shared meaning. This is what she does so well. Here she improvises to texts read by Jane Thorne that comprise random funerary memorials found on the Internet. However, at the end of Here Body Gil Cortés unravels part of the mystery by introducing a figure in the form of Durgesh Srivastava who represents her late grandmother. As a choreographic device it is risky, making visible what the invisible presence in the rocking chair had evoked. It is a concession to materialism, but Srivastava provides one of the crowning moments of the work. On the accent of ‘ok’ in a song (Darling Deer by BRIXIA) about the acceptance of death and decay, her arms trace a circle over Gil Cortés’ head like a prayer and continue upwards. It is such moments that have the power to heal.