DanceNorth WestReview

Dickson Mbi: Enowate – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Peter Jacobs

Choreography: Dickson Mbi

Composer: Roger Goula

Dickson Mbi is a Cameroon-born, British-raised dancer and choreographer with strong roots in both hip-hop and contemporary dance.

Enowate – which means ‘truth stands’ is his highly-personal response to a visit to his family’s village in Cameroon, where he came face to face with his dual identity and the strange unfamiliarity of his heritage viewed through the lens of his life as someone raised in the East End.

The show begins with an idea of ‘stuckness’ and familiarity – using the choreographic language of football as an easy means of communication with the audience that means both little and everything – but also forms a bridge between continents.

The central section of the show forms a deep dive into ancestral memory where Mbi uses his physical presence within darkness to explore his identity and heritage at a level part-animistic, almost molecular.

Enowate forms a psychic rebalancing between a man with deep and ancient cultural and familial roots in Africa and the almost superficial identity of the young man who grew up in the East End of London in the near present.

Mbi is an elegant, precise and sinuous performer but much of the show is reliant on the quality contributions of his impressive list of collaborators. Other ‘unseen’ stars of the show are composer Roger Goula’s impressively-creative and exciting sound score, which is richly textured with ambient sounds, voices and intriguing rhythms – as well as heavy silence.

Lee Curran’s detailed and multi-layered lighting design also enables Mbi to maximise relatively small, lithe movements to impressive, transformative effect.

Finally, the addition of state-of-the-art digital animation by Nick Hillel and Adam Smith (Yeast Culture) elevates a deceptively-simple show in performance terms and thrillingly externalises something as personal as identity and memory into something strikingly visual and weighted with significance.

Runs until 3 November 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

strikingly visual

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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