Situated in Wilditch Community Centre, Kaleidoscopic Arts Fourth Platform has a welcoming ‘come as you are’ vibe. Framing the space is Elisabeth Schilling’s Stadtkörper – an exhibition of photos from historic spots in Berlin with Schilling in place as a dancer. They’re subtle but give a sense that the platform has claimed the space and mean that even before the performances start there’s an artistic presence.
Under a mixture of natural and theatrical light we kick things off with Jane Port’s Pibroch Tales which seems to echo the somewhat makeshift feel of the venue. A heavily textual piece, performer Gordon Douglas Raeburn, leapfrogs us through a jigsaw of three different Scottish stories. It’s a mash up of bridges, bears and Scotsmen with enough humour to keep the audience onside. The sections are signposted with speech and presented with simplistic movement phrases. Within this an awful lot of time is spent watching Raeburn reorganise his kilts which at times is endearing and at others tedious. The Scarce of Fishing section is the highlight of simple yet comical – Raeburn, as character Red Hector, crouches motionless apart from the occasional turn of his head to glance around for fish. There was a lot of waiting for things to happen but Raeburn’s charm carries us through an enjoyable opener.
Helen Cox’s duet double pendulum is initially very measured – much like a pendulum. As Andrew Oliver begins, Showers of Ink by Loscil helps accent a light, watery quality. The pair orbit each other through deliberate rounded lines and pathways. Like gravity has pulled them together, the two finally touch, seated and central. Although the pendulums of course have to meet, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that the ethereal light quality of the two circumnavigating each other was broken. The emphasis has shifted and more intense movement is created but the wet, spacey feel persists again assisted the music (Elaenia, Nespole by Floating Points). The work climaxes at arguably the ‘best bit’ – the precise, hypnotic six directional arm swings.
Next was, Living with Sin by Lucidez Dance, an embodiment of womanhood as affected by Eve’s original sin. As with the first piece there is a fair bit of unnecessary costume faffing – we see soloist Kathy Richardson begin in white, dress in red, then black and then strip back down through red to white. Though a lot could be said about the connotations of these different colours (purity, lust, mourning) in such a short piece it seems to take up too much of it. Richardson moves with convincing sincerity through the opening breathy, methodical floor work. She progresses through the piece with a detached aloofness. A striking contrast is created as she offers her hands out to the audience with an amount of distress and fragility that was not expected of her.
Having seen Feet off the Ground Dance’s The Way They Were Then before, I knew we were in for a treat. The natural light had faded completely and allowed the four dancers to seem bolder than the rest under the stage lights. Whilst somewhat confined by the space the quartet still manage to move through striking tableaux and energetic contact work with a ferocity that builds through the whole piece. The subtleties of Robyn Holder running the microphone over the others and Lucia Chocarro setting out paper cranes allow a greater breadth across the work. Alex Paton’s live accompaniment magnifies everything the performers contribute and brings us to the winning combination of the trumpet and Chocarro’s agitated solo drawing the evening a powerful close.
This review was written by dance writer Fiona Yates and is published on our blog with her kind permission. You can connect with Fiona on Twitter.