Actions, performed by Daniel Squire and Andre Zachery from Irish Modern Dance Theatre, combined movement and text to provide an ambiguous piece of dance theatre.
The two enter into the wings, chatting casually about a production of Titus Andronicus seen the night before. Already this is a little disconcerting – dancers… who talk? They continue to chat to each other as they come through the wings and onto the stage. They stand, making statuesque movements while now joking together – one asks, ‘shall we talk to the audience?’, the other answers, ‘no’. They continue their banter throughout the performance: commenting on each other’s style; chatting about American culture; discussing the ballet class they had participated in earlier.
Alongside the continuous babble is the continuous movement. There are times when they move in perfect synchronicity, each mirroring the other; other times they perform lifts and balances taking turns to be the support or the acrobat. At another time, one performed various poses and arabesques from a stationary position while the other dashed frantically about round the space. There was a movement vocabulary at work here that was deliberately incongruous to the text, at times with a subtle irony and sometimes more straightforwardly humorous.
There was certainly a tension between the oral and visual cues that subverted the way one usually watches dance: there is traditionally a responsibility on the audience to interpret the dancers’ meanings, to answer the question, consciously or otherwise of, ‘what are they expressing through their movement?’ Hearing the performers’ often random and occasionally mundane thoughts created an interesting twist and was the source of much of the humour within this piece.
Another tradition successfully subverted was that of ballet. Often considered the elitist leader of the dance gang, ballet demands precision and displays a delicate poise, a lightness of touch that belies the immense effort that is being made behind the reams of silk and acres of tulle. This performance contained the antithesis of this: there was improvised movement; there was a deliberate, heavy and laboured display of effort with buckets (and I do not overstate this) of sweat steadily pouring from both of them from 5 minutes in, and all this while dressed in the tracksuit bottoms and baggy t-shirts of the rehearsal room.
This is a challenging piece that will appeal more to those who have a strong interest and background in dance than the casual fringe-goer.
Show times: 20 Aug 4pm; 21Aug, 5pm
Ticket prices: £7