Thu 21 May 2015
Writing about dance can be a strange thing. An inherently abstract form, trying to trap what it *means* in words sometimes seems counterproductive - what's the point of wittering on about a means of communication that sits outside language?
With 'Dance Uncovered... Sensational', Philip Connaughton has taken the idea of a 'dance lecture' and turned it into a unique hybrid creature, a sort of performance/talk/demonstration/gut-spilling session. Contemporary dance generally doesn't do narrative and neither does Philip's talk. It's a free-form sequence of associations between events from his life, ricocheting back and forth across the years from his stint as a goat farmer in Spain in his twenties, to a turn on the Olympia stage in Bugsy Malone at the age of nine, to his mother's first horrified encounter with contemporary dance, to his four year old self performing a rendition of Swan Lake in the downstairs hallway of his childhood home.
As Philip talks he moves, the two forms of expression inextricably linked. Twin screens flank his delivery (the intelligent and minimalist stage design of Luca Truffarelli), looping videos of a child Philip in Bugsy and a naked, adult Philip painted pink and gyrating to disco music. The videos show two points on his life's journey through dance, from the unabashed glitz of musical theatre to the high-art abstraction of his 2014 Tiger Dublin Fringe hit Tardigrade. From the accessible to the esoteric - but it's this idea that Philip takes apart.
Movement has shaped the pattern of his life, just as moments from his life have shaped the pattern of his movement. But it's all just a collection of moments, whether on the Olympia stage or on a goat farm outside Barcelona. Contemporary dance tries to catch the ephemeral joy of individual moments like these, and once we stop trying to itemise and analyse them, we can get inside it.
Words: Rachel Donnelly (@racklette)
Image: Luca Truffarelli