Disappearing Acts at The Place
This show is fast and episodic: sliding between intimate duets and complex ensemble arrangements, mixing spoken sections with dance, light with dark and even incorporating failed magic tricks. The audience sit in a circle in a blank studio. Eyes are absorbed by dance and darkness.
At no point is the space fully lit. Torches are carried on and off. In one moment, a head torch is used by one dancer, the blue light emitted is diffused into their movements. Darkness looms perpetually in the background. Choreographer Yael Flexer has evolved the performance out of darkness, within which lies issues of disappearance, invisibility and a loss of hope that she characterises as part of her upbringing in the Middle East.
The piece is alive to current issues. When a microphone is placed in the centre of the circle, someone speaks but their body cannot be seen. The female voice reels off a list of catastrophes, asking how they would be performed: “Who was the set designer behind the destruction of Baghdad?”, “How would the victims of the 2014 AirAisa crash arrange themselves?” The figures interact well; the cohesion between the five main dancers becomes more evident when others enter. At points, when there are more than twenty performers, the intimacy that has been created is destroyed and the display becomes more confused – this is not bad, but there is a certain sense of relief when the principal dancers return, and speak through their movements.
Disappearing Acts is an exciting and unique experience, which, despite being over an hour, sustains a momentum and intrigue. What it leaves the audience with is a keen sense that words do not always carry meaning, that poetry can often be made through movements and physical interactions with others. And this does not mean it is just another pretentious piece of interpretive dance.
Photo: Chris Nash
Disappearing Acts is at The Place from 27th until 29th October 2016 for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a preview for Disappearing Acts here: