DDF News — 23 May 2022

Festival Blog – Audience Review of Encantando by Aisling Kearney

Festival Blog – Audience Review of Encantando by Aisling Kearney

Encantado embodied the three meanings of the word. Enchantment, a magical captivation. Encantado, a greeting. Encantado, the magical beings in Afro-American culture, graceful and dressed in bright clothing.

In the beginning, the eleven performers roll out a carpet of a hundred and forty blankets, their figures silhouetted as they kneel, silently, methodically easing open the rich landscape of fabric. The audience watches in silence, and it becomes apparent after a few moments pass that one person couldn’t roll out the carpet on their own.

These blankets were an image that struck Lia Rodrigues as she was formulating the piece. In the Q/A session, Rodrigues described seeing a homeless person shrouded in a blanket, shapeless and completely covered to the point where she couldn’t recognise if there was a person beneath.

This image underpins the performance, as the dancers walk onto the landscape of fabric, crawling under a blanket or wrapping a blanket around their head, until each performer was interacting with the landscape in their own unique way. I found my eyes darting from one dancer to the next, watching them skilfully twist and knot the blankets into shapes or clothing.

The stages of the pandemic echo through the piece as the performance can be divided into three parts. The first, where the dancers are distanced from each other on the stage, dancing alone. The second, when they come together in twos, or threes, as each dancer became vaccinated. And the third, when all the dancers come together, dancing as a group. Excerpts of music of the Guarani people play over the performance. A low thrumming beat that builds and builds and crescendos as the dancers finally come together.

Joyful and fierce, Encantado is both celebration and political protest. At its heart is the idea that protest is peace, protest is coming together as a community.

Written by Aisling Kearny, and curated by Saoirse Anton