News & Blogs

23 February 2018
Author: Savannah Saunders & Coral Montejano Cantoral

Thu 22 Feb: Stasis/Christina Dionysopoulou/EDIFICE Dance Theatre

Stasis The Sedate

Christina Dionysopoulou Stigma

EDIFICE Dance Theatre Tenome - eyes on hand

One women constantly sewing. Another one, inside a plastic bag. Dazzling earrings. Plastic pink heels. Shiny dresses on top of sport trousers. Fake laughs. Plastic bags. Massive gloves. Loud singing. Even more loud techno music. Acting as if chatting. Sexy hip moves. Violently fighting a ghost. Tongues. Macarena. ‘O Sole Mio'. Put all of these in a bowl and mix it with a lack of composition, an aimless idea and confusing choreography. Not that a choreographic and performative exploration cannot be made in the line of the absurd and nonsense, but the predictable piece by Stasis, The Sedate, was even far away from that too.

A fissure of light opens in the ground while the expressiveness of a back hits our eyes. A spectrum of images, emotions and sensations is delivered with coarse subtlety in Christina Dionysopoulou’s Stigma. Jonadette Carpio performs an authentic solo that could be seen as a duet between herself and the illuminated spaces, designed by Antony Hateley. Half way through the piece we observe foregrounded, a frame in which her visage contorts in micromovements creating butoh like portrayals of laughing, asphyxia, struggle and effort. In an unexpected end, she goes away to never come back.

To close the night, four extraterrestrial creatures appear in a foggy dark atmosphere; eyes covered and wearing tribal costumes. As animalistic silhouettes, they start to acknowledge and recognise each other by flashing hand-held lights. After these first captivating images, the piece starts to evolve into a completely different narrative, making me wonder if it needed one at all. What follows is a series of well known dynamic sequences in duets and unisons that unfortunately had nothing to do with the first qualities and ideas explored. Despite the incredible strength and abilities of the performers, Tenome - eyes on hand  by EDIFICE Dance Theatre became at times predictable and dull.

Coral Montejano Cantoral

Stasis' The Sedate opens with a dancer sat in an Ikea bag at one end of the stage, and another sat on the floor sewing at the other. 'Are you ready for it?' the dancer shouts, which sets an expectation that is not delivered upon in this exploration of friendship that focuses on the negative, ugly and cruel aspects of group dynamics. The fun is forced, the minimal choreography to blaring techno is aimless and the beats not fully used as dancers rock side to side. While we watch the four friends traverse an evening out that involves a deliberately violent attack, it is difficult to see the message in the piece.

Christina Dionysopoulou's psychological and physical anguish in Stigma vibrates through every tormented muscle. Her movement is complex, introspective and she delivers an enthralling performance. She hunches over in emotional pain, her back turned from the audience hiding her inner ravishing dialogue as she writhes, shakes and struggles to cope and contain the twisted internal fuse.  Dionysopoulou is powerful and captivating, her choreography unique as she unwinds with rippling arms making her back muscles dance. She turns and confronts the audience and stares. You look closer to see her eyes begin to move, to dance, her face becoming manic, contorting, mouth stretching, teeth exposed. A serious piece from a serious artist, that pushes the boundaries of her body to create a distinctive language and an remarkable performance.

EDIFICE Dance Theatre's accomplished choreographers Carmine De Amicis and Harriet Waghorn take us into a mythical smoky underworld of blind creatures, that skillfully uses light to explore each others' insect, skeletal-like bodies of thrust rib cages and sharp arms, thinly covered in nude cloth and eye-covered head pieces. An absorbing array of scenes with every moment wonderfully filled with intricate pas de deux and quatres to heart beating loud base that kicks off with ear splitting static. The five highly trained dancers further elevated the piece, beautifully melding the anonymous anatomical features with ballroom sequences infused with seamless contact that creates a continuous dialogue between their bodies.

Savannah Saunders


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