Russell Maliphant: Still / Current at Artsdepot
Featuring five performances, this collection of works choreographed by Russell Maliphant consists of solo pieces, duets and trios. Traces is performed by three men carrying martial arts sticks. Alternately a tool for drawing patterns in the sand, a violin bow with which to play along to the music, or a weapon with which to defend oneself, the piece, though enjoyable to watch, does not have a great impact.
Two on the other hand, a solo work by Carys Staton, is much more powerful. With a sonar soundtrack, the piece has a decidedly underwater feel, and Staton’s fluid muscles make her seem like a sea creature. As the music speeds up and shifts into a more industrial soundscape though, Staton’s movements become more angular, aggressive and energetic, even though she is apparently confined to the very small range of the spotlight above her. It is from this moment on that Michael Hulls’ lighting begins to steal the show, as Staton’s limbs blur in the light, creating a hypnotic effect.
Still at first appears to be a solo performance from Dickson Mbi. A muscular and domineering presence, he is lit by strobe lights which create a rippling effect on his torso. Initially set to violent drumbeats, the music changes swiftly and Mbi alternately postures and hides himself, never wholly revealed. Staton joins him to perform a duet and the pair mirrors one another as they and the music hurtle towards a climax. Mbi is more powerful on his own however and the duet sadly serves to dissipate some of this power.
Afterlight (Part One), which takes inspiration from the drawings of the great Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, is performed by Thomasin Gϋlgeç. Utilising the music of Erik Satie, Gϋlgeç’s dancing is initially jerky and confined but as the piece moves on, he breaks free of his spotlight and his movements become more free-flowing, though never moves into the electric sphere of Mbi’s piece.
The finale, Interrupted Current, performed by Maliphant and Staton, is the evening’s longest offering, which is to its detriment. What can only be described as a Matrix-inspired soundtrack combined with the use of strobe lights makes the whole piece feel rather dated, and though particular moments of standoff between the two dancers come with a good amount of tension, it is not enough to sustain it.
Still/Current is on tour until 25th October 2013. For further information or to book visit the dance company’s website here.