Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Daisy Harrison:
Daisy Harrison trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance graduating in 2014, and then went on to study an MA in Dance Performance with Transitions Dance Company (2014/2015). She is currently working a dancer, practitioner and choreographer based in Exeter, Devon.
Review of Watch this Space 2019 | by Daisy Harrison
Sunday 17 March 2019 curated by Dance in Devon and held at Dartington.
The eclectic evening of dance began with an energising curtain raiser from Dartington Making Company. Each dancer’s unique flavour of movement was clearly present in the choreography, and the celebration of individuality was beautiful to watch. The driving music seemed to lead the dancers on a journey through the space and a strong sense of passing through led us seamlessly into the main body of the show.
‘For Your Age’ by Still Point Dance Theatre followed, an engaging intergenerational dance work. I found myself absorbed in the stories told through the recorded voice of Elizabeth Janis, and the beautiful rhythmical movement of the dancers transporting us into their world. Watching this piece feels like flicking through a physical scrapbook of memories, a real journey through small glimpses of a lifetime.
Expansive but delicate footage of the sea began to play as we were introduced to ‘We Who Stood Upon This Place’ made by Move Be Projects. Dancer Emily Burns entered the space, dressed just as she appeared on the screen behind her. Soft spiralling movement unfolded to a striking double bass soundtrack. When the film took us back to the expansive images of the sea Emily’s movement began to swell, creating a feeling of freedom.
‘Hast Thou Seen My Sister’ came next, choreographed and danced by Florence, Haley and Isobel. Writhing movement expressing pain of being burnt at the stake, juxtaposed with well-known music by Sharon Van Etten made for a chilling opening. The intricate clarity and detail in the movements of the hands and upper body in the mid section of the piece were incredibly entrancing to watch. The dancers glided from one side of the stage to the other in a hypnotic walking pattern, maintaining individuality whilst always staying connected as a trio. It was the way they held the space with both delicacy and strength that really captured my attention.
The second half of the mixed bill opened with ‘Practice No.21’ a structured improvisational score, performed by Emily Alden, Danielle Meunier, Kuldip Singh-Barmi and Kath Williams. This piece interwove the practice of dance and music, including the use of singing. It was interesting to see a singer and musician move in the space, and I began to closely watch their movements, trying to predict what might come next. I found myself trying to work out who or what was initiating movements – music, spontaneous choice or a predetermined decision?
‘Please Do Not Move the Furniture’ by Lucy Freeman and Kane John Mills explored themes of vulnerability through the use of dance, theatre and voice. We were taken through several short segments that flowed one into the next, both dancers sharing experiences, and telling poetic stories alongside movement. Both Lucy and Kane performed with such honesty that I felt as though there was no barrier between the audience and the pair. It was as if they opened a window between the stage and the seating and we were let in to a very intimate performance.
A solo by Sophie Arstall followed, named ‘Voiceless Things’. Fluid, looping movement traced and carved through the space. Sophie found a quality of movement that was gentle yet strong, and the repetition of phrases created a feeling of chaos before finding calm again. The skilful arrangement of these qualities meant that the themes of feminine resilience really resonated with me.
The finale of the evening was presented by Sculptmotion (from ROC Creative) with their project ‘Crypto’. The fusion of contemporary, street dance and theatre to portray mythical themes created an energising finish to the mixed bill. Many of the works over the evening had darker tones, and ‘Crypto’ came as a fun finish, bringing us back to reality via the sparkly scenic route.
Watch This Space provided the rare opportunity to see eight works in one night, all with very different ways of working and presenting ideas. As always, a great post-show discussion leaves you with plenty to think about and I love hearing how different people interpret what they see. Congratulations to all the companies involved!
Main Image Credits
Clockwise left to right: Kuldip Singh-Barmi by Daniela Buda 2015, Florence Blackmore, Haley Jane Gash + Isobel Ripley, Move Be Projects by Roy B. Robertson.