Saturday, November 22, 2014

Maiden Voyage Dance and Liz Roche Company, 'Neither Either': In Two Places at Once

Seamus Heaney's 'strain of being in two places at once' inspires this North-South co-production. 

Project Arts Centre
Nov 11-15

My review of Neither Either coming up after the jump ...

In reflecting on contemporary poetry in Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney wrote of a 'strain of being in two places at once, of needing to accommodate two opposing contradictions of truthfulness simultaneously'. 

The line from the poet is already spelled out in letters at the beginning of Neither Either, sitting underneath two intersecting grids that in Ciaran Bagnall's set design mark a symbolic meeting point between divisions. In reality, North and South have literally come together in this new dance, co-produced by Belfast-based Maiden Voyage Dance Company and Dublin-based choreographer Liz Roche. 

The performance maps out a space between definitions, with dancers often encumbering and contradicting each other. The witted feats of Philip Connaughton see him tumble deftly across the stage, while tall and composed David Ogle cuts long and elegant shapes. There are mesmeric moves by Vasiliki Stasinaki and graceful gestures by Katherine O'Malley, each stepping in perfect timing with the other.

The choreography ranges from light to dark. Crude gestures underly a desperation for survival in a state of duality, while soft moves see dancers desire to imitate or mirror each other, seeking belonging. Meanwhile, two scrolling pianos are locked in disharmonious discord in Neil Martin's super score.

There is sweet synthesis of bodies and music in the sweeping finale though, wherein the dancers, while physically separated, turn in time with beautiful self-possession. There is common ground by the outset, as Roche's dance artfully shapes lives that live in between oppositions. 

What did everybody else think?

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