Sat 20 May 2017
When asked to review something does everyone subconsciously begin to formulate opinion before seeing the show? Perhaps seasoned reviewers have developed self-censorship on this front, but having never done this kind of thing before I couldn’t help my preconceptions of Elvedon veering towards it being something that would be simply repetitive and tedious.
The little that I do know of dance, I love how it can be such an abstract means of creative exploration. Way more so than theatre. I didn’t really try to find a narrative in Elvedon, which I think is best. There is nothing here but movement and sound, somewhat void of emotion. So pared back is this, that there is nothing else to distract you. No glorious stage production, no character development, no good or bad storytelling. But you soon realise that there is so much going on in so little.
Very early on I remembered how much I actually love repetition in certain contexts. For some, repetition is boring. Repetition is weak. Repetition is controlled. But repetition can be meditation. Repetition is not boring. Repetition builds strength. Repetition engrains a thought process. Repetition breeds the creation of a style. Has the choreographer Papadopolous created a new style?
And then I remembered why I hate repetition. Because you inevitably get to a point where you need change. Indeed. The dancers in Elvedon took me to that point and then so seamlessly delivered that change. The emotional void cracked for just a minute and pulled us back towards human connection with a simple smile. Moments of unease and discomfort as the tempo in music changed, expecting the dancers to flinch yet they never fell out of time. So immensely focused. The dizzying crescendo at the end, at once mesmerising, unnerving, robotic and beautiful.
Elvedon IS beautiful. It is so simple, yet so complex. It is both easy and difficult to watch, but it allows you to drift in and out as you please and never punishes you for missing a beat.