Wed 28 May 2014
It’s no mean feat to create an original landscape through movement, sound and light, but the Space Upstairs at Project last night became somewhere other than the here and now through the combined creative powers of Swedish company Andersson Dance and composer BJ Nilsen.
Playing with alternations between darkness and light, sometimes abrupt, sometimes gradual, the four dancers in ‘Name of the next song’ outline an unfamiliar reality through clean and precise movement that mirrors the shifting tones of Nilsen’s score.
This soundscape ranges from the jungle-like calls of exotic birds and falling rain, to the clunking noises of heavy machinery, to a high-pitched ringing sound that suggests the spinning of planets. Against this fluctuating aural tapestry, the performers uncover movement that is infused with a sense of ritual.
Seeming to come from a place that is less wedded to the emotions and more closely aligned with the intellect, the dancers follow repeated cycles of clearly-defined gestures, sometimes abstract and surprising, like low-to-the-ground, legs extended lunging steps that carry them across the space. At other times, the movement is more reflective of everyday actions, such as a hand raised to the ear as though listening to a walkie-talkie, or gestures of the hands that seem to signal something to an invisible someone.
A repeated motif sees performers miming the careful carriage of an object along a path; the size of the object indicated by their hands and the care with which they treat it suggests an urn or other precious container. There are overtones of worship, and perhaps fear, in poses and movements where performers seem to subjugate themselves, face down to the ground.
Though the soundtrack varies, a sense of a particular (yet unknown) place and time is created through the mixing of the different elements of the performance. Andersson’s ritualistic choreography, Nilsen’s sounds that splice the ethereal with the earthly, and Nina Sandstrom’s costumes that mix decadent gold with neutral tans, whites and beiges, collectively imply a future place where society has progressed to replace old rituals with new and humans have become more alert, more focused and, counter-intuitively, more animalistic.
But that’s just my sense of it. ‘Name of the next song’ is a performance rich in imagery, both visual and acoustic, that provides a space for the audience to immerse themselves in somewhere that is elsewhere to here, and to make of that elsewhere what they will.
Last performance tonght at Project - buy tickets here.