Wed 28 May 2014
In a festival programme that offers a generous helping of Irish dance, and specifically Irish contemporary dance, the Sónia Sánchez/Clément Dazin double bill at Project affords the opportunity to catch two quite different movement sensibilities from two different cultures.
Both solo pieces, Sanchez’s ‘El Pliegue’ and Dazin’s ‘Bruit de couloir’ place the performers in a position of total responsibility before the audience, executing what is in both cases technically demanding work on the bare stage of Project’s Cube; there are neither props nor co-performers to hide behind.
With its roots in flamenco, ‘El Pliegue’ is a ferocious and relentless attack on the senses. Sanchez pounds, pummels and batters the stage with the pace and force of a pneumatic drill, the machine gun report of her high heels the only soundtrack for the majority of the performance. Her focus begins on, and returns throughout the performance to, a single spotlight that throws the dancer’s shadow into jagged relief onto the wall behind her. She squares up to this focal point like a bull facing the matador’s cape, pawing the ground with her feet in the lead-up to the onslaught of steps that follows.
The piece is steeped in sorrow, but the type of sorrow that bristles with violence. Sanchez sings intermittently, her voice as ferocious as her dancing, and as racked with grief. With the spotlight providing the only source of contrast against the black of the performer's costume and the deep shadows of the stage, ‘El Pliegue’ is a bleak yet resonant lament that showcases Sanchez’s strength and stamina.
From the ferocious to the more contemplative, Dazin’s ‘Bruit de couloir’ mixes juggling, hip hop and contemporary influences. With the skill of an illusionist, the French performer toys with perceptions of speed and distance, all the while tossing, lobbing and tussling multiple white orbs, handled with a lightness that suggests they have the consistency of poached eggs. At one point, Dazin ambles around the perimeter of a small square of light, the total control he exerts over his limbs turning the short stroll into an elongated, slow motion promenade that appears digitally doctored.
The performance transitions through many phases, Dazin descending at one stage into a frenzy that recalls a berserk Duracell bunny in juggling overdrive, balls spilling everywhere. Towards the end of the piece, this frenetic energy calms to something more spacious, Dazin’s movement becoming fluid and elegant. In a particularly graceful turn, he enacts the patterns of juggling on the floor, the balls rolling in precise arcs as the performer rolls along with them, catching and releasing them with perfect timing.
The double bill continue until May 30th - buy tickets here.