Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Jodie Stapleton:
I graduated from the University of Chichester with a BA (Hons) in Dance in 2013. Since then I have spent time travelling South East Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and South America. I am now back in Devon hoping to carry on developing my own education in Dance and complete my teacher training next year.
Review of Leviathan | James Wilton Dance
by Jodie Stapleton
Thursday 26 April 2018 at The Beehive Honiton, Supported by Villages in Action.
Imagine the tide, water that takes a pebble, the graceful quiet play of a sea creature in the ocean.
Imagine the obsession of one man trying to capture that sea creature, to end its freedom and be willing to risk a life or two to do it.
Leviathan was created by James Wilton, an award winning Cornish choreographer. His cast were a team of six dancers who brought the story of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to life with stunning, intricate and unforgiving athleticism. The work explores the impact man and nature have on each other, relating it back to the story of Ahab and his crew on their quest to find Moby Dick. The company fed the audience with snapshot images and ideas of how the world around us is being influenced by our society and its selfishness to conquer everything. The full evening piece was split in to seven chapters, each one accompanied by a different electro-rock soundtrack.
The first chapter explores man itself. The fluid physicality of four individuals together providing an insight in to the struggles of man and nature through evolution. A relationship with many actions that created endless chain reactions. The fifth member of the cast approaches and together they blindly follow him on an adventure to change their lives.
The second chapter introduces our Leviathan: a huge monstrous marine animal renowned in folklore. The creature appears to frolic in waves, curious in its habitat. The contrast of this to the first chapter lures the audience in to a false sense of security. One that is quickly shattered through the next two chapters when the crew reappears and tries to capture this creature. The use of rope to create a web on the stage together with stunning contact work and vigorous encounters shows the attempt that ends in disaster by the end of the first half.
The second half opens with a man obsessed by a ghost, mind games and madness ensue and we catch our first glimpse of hopelessness. With hints of Capoeira, physical theatre and contemporary dance this piece strikes at the heart of mankind’s relationship to nature. We are left reeling at the sheer brutality of the movement as the crew pursue the creature only to fail once more. The final section of the work shows the harmonious creature in its own environment, its full power no match for man.
James Wilton has created a truly hypnotic piece of dance, full of complex partnerships, curious movement ideas and exquisite physicality. As said by the man himself ‘LEVIATHAN is Man versus Nature: be careful what you fish for!’
Top Image: James Wilton Dance