Wild Card: Casson & Friends at Lilian Bayliss Studio
The forerunners of a new generation of contemporary dancers have taken over London this week, as renowned performer and choreographer Tim Casson curates Wild Card at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Bayliss Studio – an opportunity for an up-and-coming artist to present work that excites them alongside their own. Casson & Friends is a piece that focuses on the importance of collaboration, as dancers, digital artists, musicians and members of the public come together in this intelligent comment on human connection. The production is not so much a performance as an experience that involves the audience in its creative process.
First up, Copter from Nina Kov sees an unexpected partnership on stage between dancer and remote-controlled mini helicopter. Kov starts the piece by being awoken by the copter, which she is visibly wary of. She moves away from it as it gets closer but in time becomes curious and begins to move toward it. The human dancer and the product of technology dance around one another, creating a beautiful sequence that flows effortlessly. This is broken by moments of physical distress from Kov that is visually conveyed through her body, questioning our relationship with machines and technology. Her image is projected onto the screen behind as the performance ends, forcing us to think about how surveillance creates an unconscious tension in our bodies.
Sonata in 3 Movements by Cornelia Voglmayr is another interesting idea that aims to challenge some of the conventions we’ve become used to experiencing in a performance setting. The dancer and the musician join together physically and metaphorically through speech and movement. Although the dancing is faultless, Sonata is not as accomplished or indeed as compelling as the first piece. But Casson’s own performance more than makes up for the slightly dull second act. Fiend uses Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun as a base but subtly brings in a contemporary element with an electronic score and technological visuals. As Casson dances with multiple digital projections of himself, he manages to create a relationship with the virtual replicas and his real body. There are complex questions raised about the self and its place in society that are refreshingly thought-provoking.
Casson & Friends creates a new meaning for the word theatre participation. In the interval dancers encourage the audience to create a choreographed piece for them, to be performed on stage that evening. Cleverly, it is a way for the non-dancer to experience unobtrusively how dance can be created. Casson’s first Wild Card is a creative and fun evening that gives everybody the opportunity to enter into the world of contemporary dance.
Wild Card: Casson & Friends was on at Sadler’s Wells until 18th March 2015. The next Wild Card will be on 24th April 2015, for further information or to book visit here.