It had been a good long while since the last time I had attended a piece that could be described as a dance, or any movement based performance come to that, and so it was with a mixture of excitement and quiet apprehension that I approached tonight’s Trialogue at the Traverse Theatre.
A combination of three short modern dance pieces, spanning from 1999 to 2014, Trialogue boasts some impressive credentials (Rafael Bonachela, choreographer of the second dance, Freeze Frame, regularly choreographs for Kylie Monogue tours and videos). And when the newest installation is labelled a ‘new classic’, indeed all three ‘modern classics’, then one would expect nothing less than awe inspiring moments of eyeball bursting pleasure.
And indeed there is a lot to be admired by David Hughes’ works.
Delicate, beautiful and masterful are all words that spring to me when I think back at this night’s performance. The movement was swift and assured. The imagery was haunting in places and the athleticism of the performers nothing short of terrifying.
Yet there is a problem that I think is apparent for a lot of modern dance and that problem is simple: accessibility.
It seems that you need to be in a secret club when it comes to understanding a lot of this kind of show and it is a club that I and many others are just are not a part of. If you were to hand out free tickets at the front door and invite your average punter in to watch Trialogue, there is a safe bet that the vast majority would see it all as falling over a lot,walking funny with pale, expressionless faces, and would keenly demand their 85 minutes back. Shouldn’t the performing arts be accessible to all and not just to those who claim to be ‘cultured’ and ‘clever’?
That said, those that attended seemed to enjoy it. After each dance there was an appreciative clatter of applause and a loose whisper of approval. Though I never glanced to see if the clapping was directed at the performance or if the audience were slapping their own backs for being so ‘cultured’ and ‘clever’. I wish I had stuck around long enough to see if a single one of them could explain to me the exact significance of what we had just witnessed.
The final piece, Three Souls, is a fine 40 minute conclusion. But a conclusion to what?
Is it admirable? Yes. Is it interesting? I suppose. Is it for everybody? Most certainly not.
Ended 15 Nov