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Feet off the Ground Dance Éter

Maria Lothe / Rachel Blomberg (DI)VISION

Unity Dance Company UK When Boundaries Push Back

 

When dance allows itself to just be it can move people in a way one cannot quite put words to. In Éter, presented by Feet off the Ground Dance, the piece’s strength comes simply from the dancers’ bodies moving through space. They emerge from the corner in pairs and inch diagonally forward with an intense focus, engaging from the outset. The performance progresses with a strong focus on the visual. No clear message is given, but it is enough to watch the dancers interlocking, making contact and breaking away, punctuating this with dynamic outbursts which build to a climax. Éter achieves what it suggests in the programme notes and presents a ‘journey of atmospheric shifts’, one which is unspecific yet enthralling, and, in this case, is all that is needed.

At face value, (DI)VISION is somewhat random. Throughout, Maria Lothe and Rachel Blomberg reposition cardboard boxes, dance to Moby, and discuss subjects ranging from broccoli to the thoughts inside one’s head. However, the piece is surprisingly cohesive. This is due to the performers’ chemistry, their attachment to their work, and the parallels between text and movement. At one point Blomberg covers her head with a box as Lothe speaks about her thoughts and these juxtapositions link the two performers and drive the piece forward. (DI)VISION is a stream of consciousness piece, which ebbs and flows in a quirky, funny, and sometimes serious way. To reference its title, it perhaps questions the nature of division itself, splendidly connecting seemingly incompatible movements and words into a striking and engaging piece.

Contrary to plans, Unity Dance Company UK presents an alternative work to When Boundaries Push Back. They do considerably well, given the circumstances, and the piece presented is full of energy and features an outstanding solo by one young break dancer. While enjoyable, it is not a fully-fledged work. It functions well in showing the company’s skill, yet lacks an identifiable purpose.

Anna Rachael McBride


 

One always expects the unexpected at Resolution but this was my first experience of the show that won’t go on. This fate befell Unity Dance Company UK’s intended work When Boundaries Push Back, which was unavailable for unspecified reasons. Instead, the rules of Resolution were temporarily set aside to enable Unity’s head honcho, Tashan Muir, to front a brief work performed by younger dancers. As befits a company that has twice been finalists on Sky’s Got to Dance, this youth crew presented a slickly interwoven set within which the b-boys were especially impressive. I was told that their untitled piece was put together, earlier that afternoon. Top marks, if that was so.

The Feet off the Ground collective achieved the rare feat of making spontaneous movement appear seamlessly choreographed, beginning with a rippled sequence of overlaid duets between four women. They began on the floor, locked forehead-to-forehead while slowly traversing an oblong diagonal passage of light; one barefoot pair of women in black at a time. Their focus on partnered improvisation moved away from touch into an essay of fast, intricate, non-contact martial arts fighting. Èter was a well structured, skilfully performed and mature work, enhanced by the integration of pure dance with live music and effective lighting design.

Maria Lothe and Rachel Blomberg are recent Laban graduates who had previously studied together in Oslo. This enduring association manifests a strong inter-personal chemistry that brings natural spontaneity, a confident sense of theatre and surreal humour to a work that revolves around cardboard boxes. There is probably something clever that develops metaphorically in relation to their collection of cardboard and the spoken text (much of which was inaudible to me). But, it came to feel like an exercise in keeping boredom at bay on a rainy day, falling as flat as one of those deconstructed boxes some while before the drawn-out end.

 Graham Watts

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