Conceal | Reveal at Sadler’s Wells
Choreographer Russell Maliphant and lighting designer Michael Hulls bring their combined genius to Sadler’s Wells for a regrettably small number of performances. Supported by an equally talented team, Conceal | Reveal affirms the power of movement with effortless understanding.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the collaboration between Maliphant and Hulls, four dances are performed with intervals in between. This seemingly knowing gesture leaves time to for the audience to collect before being immersed all over again. The performance begins with Spiral Pass, performed by dancers from Bayerisches Staatsballett. There is a timelessness to the dance, with the dancers stepping in and out of synchrony with such fine precision, glancing at the other’s movements. Lucia Laccarra, the principal dancer, is phenomenal.
The lighting is similarly mesmerising. Dancers are lit from a great height by faintly orange or white spotlights that move in and around the perimeters of square boxes projected on to the floor, in turn throwing the dancer (Dana Fouras)’s shadow onto panels in front, sometimes escaping into the auditorium. The artistic coupling of Maliphant and Hulls is possibly never more thrilling than at the moment of sudden awareness of a dancer at the borders coming into the light. Even Hulls’ use of darkness is expansive.
Stevie Stewart’s costumes feature diaphanous details that trail the dancers’ movements, helping Maliphant’s choreography to focus on slowness. Their beauty relies on the assurance of toned muscle, constantly drawing attention to the talent of the dancers. Even the most fervent gestures retain a calmness that the sometimes aggressive nature of the lighting and the music aim to disallow.
There is an ephemeral quality to Conceal | Reveal that is paradoxically human. It’s heightened, almost preternatural beauty, testament to a collaboration strong enough to withstand two decades and hopefully many more.
Conceal | Reveal is on at Sadler’s Wells from 26th until 28th November 2015, for further information or to book visit here.