Femme by Taciturn Dance &Variations of the Heart by Tmesis Theatre
Choreographers: Jennifer Hale, Jenny Rees, Jenna Roberts, Elinor Randle
Music: La Femme, Los Zafiros, Meike Holzmann, Egle Mei
Reviewer: Jo Beggs
Homegrown is a new regular programme of work organised by Dance Manchester and Z-Arts showcasing local dance talent. If tonight’s offering is anything to go by this is going to be a night to look forward to in the dance calendar – a chance to see emerging artists and new work in one of the most welcoming venues in town.
Liverpool based companies Taciturn and Tmesis provide tonight’s short but very sweet offering. Taciturn’s Femme is a celebration of all things female – from flirting to friendship, envy to exuberance. The piece comes in three parts, opening with a sassy, synchronised series of repetitious movements, graceful and beautifully choreographed. What follows is an assault – of one dance on another, of their bodies on the floor as gravity seems to defeat them, a pounding, violent episode in which the two women pick themselves and each other up, over and over again.
The third act is a sexy, funny exploration of competitiveness, a feisty game, the revelation of the inner bitch, all played out beautifully with sharp, simple choreography and a good dose of excellent comedy acting thrown in by dancers Jennifer Hale and Lizzy Ryder
Tmesis Theatre’s Variations of the Heart begins with a striking image. Two women (Ellen Turner, Eleni Edipidi) draped on a swing in floaty white dresses, animated by a projection of a beating, bloody heart. A voiceover soundtrack delivers text by Chris Fittock which tells us about love, that chemical high, the molecular science of attraction. To a live accompaniment of Meike Holzmann’s Heart Variations for String Quartet, the two women deliver a passionate and joyful celebration of self-discovery, attraction and raw passion. They shyly circle one another, gaze at each other, the adrenaline rush is palpable, their breathlessness contagious.
They are Titania’s faeries frolicking with abandon, wild animals circling one another in a mating ritual, young lovers in an imagined endless summer. Inevitably, though, exhaustion, frustration and possessiveness creep into this emotional Eden, life decelerates, hearts beat slower, the pace slows and the swing measures time with its rhythmic movement accompanied by a melancholic beat. Variations of the Heart is a powerful, tender piece, serious in intent, spirited in execution. It is a delight.
Unfortunately, turning up ten minutes before the advertised performance time meant that a third act, added late to the programme and delivered in the bar before the show, passed me by. Sian Edwards-Davies, with her self choreographed Dispositions, rather drew the short straw.
Reviewed on 20 February