Cloaked in velour and murmuring frenetically as the audience enter, the solo by Ishimwa Niyizi was a strong opener. Suddenly becoming personal, it moves into anecdotes on death, loss and identity. Ishimwa dances and sings irresistibly. Everything he does on stage comes with a sense of history, connotations of trauma and self-discovery. Still, it feels like there's more that this work can become. Ishimwa's personal experience sometimes lends itself to making overly bold statements but with more of a sense of context, and more time to explore what he's trying to say, this piece promises to be one to watch.
In Projected Anders Duckworth creates an eccentric world full of contrasts; a shifting blend of exaggerated characterisation and minimalism, clinical aesthetics saturated with a sense of nostalgia. In this world form becomes key - form of the body, object, sounds. At times the two female dancers seem almost statuesque, most noticeably as they use reel-to-reel tape to form a huge cats' cradle. Backed by an echoing sound score, Duckworth's work can alienate or draw you close. If you’re a fan of the surreal it'll probably be the latter, just don’t expect to understand it.
The End is Important in All Things feels ambitious from the beginning. There are flashes of potential in this work, hints of irony and deadpan humour in the its examination of relationships. One male dancer in particular approaches his female counterpart Wayne Mcgregor-style: minimal clothing, distorted movement, and all I can see is the image of a crazed peacock vying for a mate. It’s brilliant. However, there are also moments when it feels like the work is trying to do too many things all at once. The dancers rise to the challenge, but the sudden shifts in ideas are jarring. With some editing and simplification this piece has promise.
- Francesca Mcloughlin
What an elusive soloist Ishimoi by Ishimwa (the stage name of Ishimwa Muhimanyi) is. When we enter he’s stretched out on the floor, covered by brown fabric (a dress, as it turns out) beneath a flashing spotlight and babbling away in an African tongue. Muhimanyi was born in Rwanda where, 20 years ago as a small child, he saw his mother being killed. His impressionistic piece Niyizi is named after her, but he doesn’t use this crucial autobiographical angle to bid for sympathy. Instead, via spoken word (topics include religion and sexuality), live and recorded vocals (he’s a fine singer) and spare film imagery (he only really show his face on camera) he’s examining his own identity. He’s a strong, vivid mover, too, especially when dancing to mainly nature-based sound effects. This original and touching work might lack clarity and universality, but it confirms his status as a young artist of promise.
The aesthetic atmosphere couching Anders Duckworth’s Projected is pretty impressive. Clad in robe-like white linen shirts, performers Jenna Broas and Eleni Papaioannou are not unskilled as they fiddle somewhat mimetically with the thin, fragile film of a reel-to-reel projector. But this collaboration, ostensibly questioning the nature of memories and reality, offers short-term benefits in lieu of a deeper, lasting pay-off. Nothing the onstage pair do (including squabbling childishly in gibberish) can match the febrile intensity, beauty and purity of the silent film fragments (from Lang’s Metropolis, I believe) sporadically beamed onto the back wall. But perhaps that disjuncture was Duckworth’s point.
Suse Tietjen’s The End is Important in All Things is yet another slice of post-Bauschian behaviouralism. About midway through this ironic contemplation of the frustrations of youths suffering from unrequited love, the six not unlikable cast members cling and writhe low like praying mantises or spiders. Mostly, though, they manufacture emotional states. Not necessarily badly, either. Sometimes, however, I do fairly sorely miss the art of dance.
- Donald Hutera