8 November 2017
Author: Tia Asterope

Guest blogger review: Pivot Dance climbs the scaffolding of reinvention

Guest blogger Tia Asterope writes about her expereince of watching Pivot Dance at The Place 11- 18 October 2018. 

Pivot Dance is the harvest of a three-year interaction between artists, producers and local audiences from Italy, The Netherlands & the UK who have linked together and committed to research and birth six brand-new dance pieces. Supported by Creative Europe, Pivot Dance proves itself to be the keystone of emerging dance forms pushing hard the boundaries between movement and visual arts roping you in an existential questioning.

The first double bill delves into the field of relationships and personal experiences approached from different perspectives.

Elena Giannotti sets Floating House in two parts beginning with the hilarious Nick Bryson barefoot, in a teacher-style dress solving equations on his small whiteboard. He talks through the numbers two and zero taking us on a philosophical journey around maths and life. Bryson speaks directly to us sharing his wonderings about human existence and his theatricality is so effective that puts me in a real class situation ready to raise my hand. Like embodying Bryson’s negative, Rafał Pierzyński comes in, dressed in jeans and sneakers. He transforms the stage into a dodgy, cold place where isolation rules. He bends his knees, he twists his core and his body gets a disfigured shape. This deformed creature crawls, jumps and runs diagonally repeating images of horror and ugliness being nevertheless enigmatically attractive.

Joseph Toonga bases his work on real evidence and stories to look into fatherhood and its challenges. A teddy bear, some toys in the corner and soft music set a romantic hazy scene provoking nostalgia. The sweet atmosphere follows a high-voltage choreography with leaps, forceful slides and abrupt pauses. Jordan James-Douglas plays with his 'daughters', Hayleigh Sellors and Wennah Wilkers, they pose for family pictures and then fade again. Despite some good moments, in the end, Daughter Daughter left me with some blurry snapshots of an undeveloped story and I’m still wondering, why so aggressive?

People affecting people was the topic for the second evening of Pivot Dance and we were told to enter the theatre with no shoes, coats or belongings but for one piece of paper. The stage is a comfy, cozy place with pillows and warm lighting. Giorgia Nardin leads a process of three parts creating the temporary effect of Minor Place. Sitting next to each other we dip into palmistry identifying the lines of head, heart and life to continue with writing on paper our more welcoming place. The highlight is Nardin’s sensational solo in see-through underwear. She slithers moving anti-clockwise and her energy is magnetic. Minor Place is a spiritual, hypnotic world in which we can rebuild our connection to our inner self and to one another. At the end of the piece, you could sense a slight difference on how people walked, talked and saw each other.

The mystic mood continues with Becoming of Iván Pérez following another esoteric route. The setting tilts to the left with Christopher Tandy, Majon van der Schot and Wei-yun Chen leaning on the wall as on the same side Rutger Zuydervelt is behind his sound desk. Gradually, the dancers slink to the centre keeping always a connecting point between them, even that point is their head! The bodies move harmonically in unison and we witness the rebirth of an unusual being with many legs and arms rediscovering itself and the place around it. This multifunctional organism takes different shapes and directions and this live-to-see experiment seems to have infinitive endings. Yet, at some point, the improvisation started to reveal its planned instructions and it became predictable. Becoming is a figurative piece teetering between balance and collapse and it surely has infinite possibilities for the future.

Pivot Dance climbs the scaffolding of reinvention and reaches its top with the bold works D No Body 5 and Maps

Nicole van den Berg, Paolo Yao Kouadio and Patrick Schmatzer arise from the shadows with gentle, barely noticeable moves projecting different parts of their totally naked body. A glistening light reflects on their svelte silhouettes and creates the powerful illusion of watching six performers on stage. Dario Tortorelli masterly molds these ethereal dance installations who invite us to get in touch with our self and its honest reflection. D No Body 5  is an exceptional work about human and the human body that has been reformed along with all its imperfections and truths.

Maps move us from the rediscovery of the human body to the reprise of the world we live in, reimagined. Sivan Rubinstein chooses a circular setting with no start or end grasping the no-borders theme from the very beginning. The chairs surround the stage and Liran Donin’s electric sounds generate a communal and peaceful aesthesis. Masako Matsushita, Seke Chimutengwende and Harriet Parker-Beldeau emerge from the audience and draw the world map on stage using their hands, feet and 50kgs of salt! The lights fade, the map glows and the view never looked better. The second part is an ecstatic primitive dance in which the borders are destroyed by their makers who anarchically jump here and there, hit their chest, twist their pelvis and slide from side to side spreading salt and liberty. The new map is an undivided circle with no lines or gaps. Maps is a raw expression of freedom and unfolds a new normality which undoubtedly, is phenomenal.

Pivot Dance bravely states that changes in dance forms are afoot.

About guest writer Tia Asterope @tiaasterope

Tia is a dance journalist and professional dancer based in-between UK and Greece. After her BA in Literature, she started writing in various magazines/journals in Athens blending her passion for both dance and writing. She studied at Royal Academy of Dance (PDTD) and has participated in Resolution Review for the Place and Aerowaves Springback. She is a London correspondent for the Dance Writer in Melbourne and now writes for She obtains her MA degree in Arts & Culture Enterprise at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts, London). 


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