Phrases by Josephine Leask.
Jemima Brown walks calmly via an intense crossfire of laser beams. Projected from throughout the stage they briefly scan the auditorium then observe Brown, highlighting segments of her physique as she strikes. Smoke reacting to the sunshine creates dense layers of color and performs methods on our imaginative and prescient in order that Brown seems to be partially submerged. Surge, directed by Tom Dale, options Brown as a rare robotic presence amidst Barret Hodgson’s dazzling digital panorama with sensational new music by ITAL TEK. The immersive facet of the work celebrates digital sophistication and Brown’s in depth capabilities as a dancer.
Surge reveals the physique and lightweight in a posh duet that pits the human physique towards the digital, testing the bounds of each. What’s fascinating is how Brown unfazed, stays in management all through, like an avatar effortlessly gliding via a pc recreation, or some sci-fi world. She retains her cool as a deluge of sunshine traps her, but presents new kinaesthetic potentialities each spatially and visually. Octagonal spotlights or effervescent corridors all of a sudden seem, pixilated patterns emerge solely to get replaced by strong blocks of color in an acrobatic son et Lumiere. Typically she initiates the choreographic interaction between physique and lightweight, at different occasions follows its fleeting trajectory. Brown articulates gesture and motion with velocity and precision. Her relaxed, ultra-fluid model, make her look past human. Pulling herself up vertically or cascading into the ground she strikes like a physique with out bones or organs, tapping right into a palette of seamless releasing and popping.
Brown takes on the difficult process of singing dwell whereas dancing with the convenience of a humanoid pop star however with extra nuance. Right here she touches us together with her natural vulnerability as her voice, each hauntingly melodic and melancholic, evokes the loneliness of a physique caught in a matrix. Lastly, the faultless digital system (deliberately) crashes: lights flash crazily out of synch making ground patterns fracture and disintegrate. Glints of panic cross Brown’s face as she navigates the dissolving digital terrain. Relentlessly stimulating, Surge is terrifying and gorgeous, prompting questions on human survival within the emergent world of AI.
Sub:Model follows, carried out by 4 members of Dale’s firm. This time WEN’s experimental membership music from the album EPHEM:ERA and a hotter, pulsing lighting scape by Andrew Ellis set a distinct tone. Right here Dale and dancers envisage a extra earthy, human realm than a digital one. Actual individuals meet one another on a dance ground in a sequence of riveting conversations which ooze with a clubby vibe. Dan Baines, Tom O’ Gorman, Meghan Stevens and Brown embark on a sequence of ten distinctive dances. As they assemble in numerous combos and pairings the temper is transient and fleeting. Nobody lingers too lengthy with any specific associate, they peel off then return alone, making a bodily panorama of regularly shifting varieties. Whereas the performers’ faces are expressionless and their physique language cool, we see glimmers of delight of their interactions, an occasional contact, or an exchanged look.
The hypnotic dance tracks of digital music move and appear to droop the dancers in perpetual, laid-back movement, every sequence merging fluidly into the subsequent. But once more their chilled presence is misleading, as Dale’s choreography is demandingly complicated and requires stamina and edge along with loose-limbed softness. Whether or not spinning on the vertical, or horizontal on the bottom they work with depth and quantity into the area, showing weightless but grounded. It’s thrilling to see these younger dancers actually floating via the heady ambient setting of Sub:Model.
Sync a brand new work by Scatter Dance Firm, The Place’s grownup dance firm, serves as a welcome curtain opener forward of Surge and Sub:Model. The firm fill the stage with dynamic feminine our bodies, performing choreography that’s free from digital invasion or robotic dynamics. Created by James Kay, the work options imaginative materials, which seems notably spectacular when carried out in unison.