Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Hannah Cook:
I am currently studying BA(hons)Dance Theatre at Plymouth University. Prior to this, my training mostly consisted of classical ballet, until beginning contemporary dance alongside A-Level Dance at my Sixth Form in Cornwall. Completing my A-Level in Dance sparked my interest in exploring Dance as a career. I hope to explore this interest with Dance in Devon, as well as to further my love of watching live dance performances.
Review of Border Tales | Luca Silvestrini’s Protein, by Hannah CookSaturday 4th November, The House, Plymouth University
Before the performers entered the stage, the set was marked with a blue line reaching across the full length of the stage with a dust path intersecting its mid-point. The staging was not the traditional black box setting, but instead included a square lit stage and black edges to mark the boundaries of the stage giving the illusion of being set “in the round”. With this unique and intriguing set design,
the theme of borders (both literal and metaphorical) was strongly set before the piece had even begun.
The performance centred around a cast full of diversity and richness across culture, language, and movement. Each performer presented the themes of diversity, borders, identity, in a personal and individual way by exploring their own experiences through movement. For example, dancer Temitope Ajose-Cutting allowed her experiences of racial and gender profiling/stereotyping to fuel
some of her movement within a solo section; here she circled her hips, wagged her finger, and twerked. This movement is something which is often seen in popular culture and as a result has created a specific image for black women. This notion of preconceptions is seen for most of the cast throughout the piece. For me, this reaches its climax where Salah El Brogy (earlier noted as being a
Muslim man) enters the stage carrying a backpack. The rest of the group back away from him to the back corner out of fear. When the bag is suddenly thrown in to the group, there are shouts and screams. Nothing is said of what the bag could have been, but the message is very clear.
For me, this piece acted as part cautionary tale and part uplifting story. The messages of racial stereotyping and isolation, and the dangers of this, were sadly entirely understood. However, it was refreshing to see all cast members present themselves in a such a confident, positive, and proud light. Border Tales is exciting, rich, and vibrant; I left the theatre full of hope for a more
Top Image: Protein Dance Company