ABSOLUT Fringe 2012 | Dogs | Emma Martin Dance
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Venue: Project Arts Centre Space Upstairs
Review by: Zara Ni Dhubhdaigh
In a nutshell: a combination of dance, live music and performance, exploring the idea of impulse control
Best for: fans of challenging contemporary dance
Not for: fans of linear narrative or trichotillomaniacs
Any given moment, how far are you from a breakdown? This show examines the baser instincts humans must rein in to keep society functioning. On a technical level, the dance is a little scrappy at times, but military synchronicity isn't the point. At certain stages, it becomes less a dance than a piece of uncomfortable performance art, as the cast manifest an infectious agitation, clawing at their bodies and tugging their hair.
The sound design is extraordinary. Tom Lane coaxes ineffably sensuous sounds out of what I'd hitherto considered the most sexless of instruments, the harpsichord. Percussionist Bryan O'Connell conjures lung-rattling rhythms, echoed and strengthed by dancers' feet. Soprano Elizabeth Wood's exceptional vocals run the gamut from a decorous, melancholic aria to a nerve-shredding keening.
Everyone is terribly well-dressed. The dapper musicians; the elegant, austere soprano in her red dress; and the six dancers: boys in shirts, girls in pretty frocks and bobby-socks. In the latter case, it's a bit deceptive. Satin, pleats and ruffles lend a veneer of respectability to the physicality of the dance, sanitising even the most ungainly and violent of their movements. It seems to make the point that despite upswellings of primal feeling, these people are not wild animals. Dogs, not wolves.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Thursday 13th September 2012 | Theatre
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