Corali at Lilian Baylis Studio
Corali is a London-based dance group whose members have intellectual disabilities. In existence since 1989, Corali’s membership has shifted over the decades, but its goal has not. It brings artists from various disciplines together to create dynamic, unique performances which celebrate collaboration, self-expression and the power of movement.
Corali’s latest venture was a one-date only showcase of three works involving six dancers. The first piece, Empty Theatre Dream, was inspired by the individual dreams of the four dancers involved. It opened to darkness, with a single torch shining light on different parts of the stage. Each dancer performed a solo piece or “dream”, accompanied by music mixed on stage by Daniel Weaver. Digital projections complemented each piece, ranging from sketch-like abstractions to beautiful washes of watercolours. The highlight of this piece was the dream of dancer Graham Evans, backed by old-timey big band music. With a look of glee on his face, he daintily tip-toed around the stage carrying a flute of champagne as though he was at a grand and fabulous party – and he took you right there with him.
The next piece, Overlap, was a solo work by Housni “DJ” Hassan, who was the star of the day. DJ has been a member of Corali for over ten years and he moves with absolute dedication. His performance was accompanied by striking monochrome projections of figures, buildings, body parts, abstract shapes and distortions. Making use of the entire stage, he surrendered his body to the music and to the performance, creating something that was both compelling and soothing.
The final piece, Origami Atoms, involved all six dancers and was choreographed in collaboration with Random Dance, the resident company at Sadler’s Wells. The backing music here was more digital and modern, at times incorporating an almost hip hop sound. The choreography was dynamic, incorporating solo movements with partner work and group work, and mixing synchronised movements with individualised movements. There was also an interesting use of poses and stillness.
While the dancers in Corali are not of Royal Ballet standard, their work is just as moving because it is made of the same stuff: freedom, expression, individuality, storytelling and community. The atmosphere on stage and in the audience of friends and collaborators was palpably positive and uplifting. Corali performs regularly in a variety of locations. Catch one of their shows for a taste of something truly unique.
Corali was a one-off event at Lilian Baylis Studio on 22nd March 2015, for further information about future events visit here.