ContemporaryDanceNorth East & YorkshireReview

Möbius: Mixed Programme – Kala Sangam, Bradford

Reviewer: Rich Jevons

Encounter Three – Within Each Other

Concept and Direction: Gianluca Vincentini

Music: Otis Jones

 

Vibrant Matter

Choreographer: Wilhelmina Ojanen

Music: Andrew Marriott

Two world premieres by Leeds-based dance company Möbius focus on the concept of touch, looking at what happens when we do or do not do so, with or without permission. Encounter Three – Within Each Other is a short film that sees pairs of dancers – both male and female together or same-sex pairs – interacting using comfy armchairs as props. At times the couples are close up and intimate bodily but gaze in opposite directions. They copy and mirror each other, twisting, turning and occasionally leaping to great effect. Otis Jones’ soundtrack is at first slow paced, then changes into frantic strings, met with a seething violence in the performers. Finally we are left with a lasting image of togetherness.

Vibrant Matter starts with three figures in silhouette, a fourth prostrate, then arching and standing. She twists and turns, and in spasms and twitches approaches the rest of the group. The entire group begin to move in incredibly slow motion, teasing us with extremely slight movements. The four dancers make fascinating shapes as they interact and have the appearance of a most exacting trust exercise.

Upon a violent fall there is a black-out before a series of falls when the lights are back up. They behave as if dizzy or drunk while making the most of the space available. The dancers lift up and walk on each other with seeming easiness that must have taken immense strength. We are faced with a succession of interlocking limbs and a series of falls and catches. It is amazing how the dancers support each other and the overall effect is both beautiful and serene. However before the audience gets too settled there is an entirely new sequence where the dancers jiggle and quiver quite violently; the effect being a contrary blend of comedy yet at the same time quite disturbing. The movements are frantic and frenetic accompanied by polyrhythmic drums on the soundtrack. There is now a tense atmosphere with the dancers thrashing out, crazy and wild and, again, an excellent use of space. This in turn becomes as slow as the intro with ambient music accompanying the dancers’ drifting. Finally there is a sweet chanson and they take on a sluggishness after the vitality and all fades to black.

Möbius have created something very special, exploring our relationships both between human beings and with the cosmos. The performances are simply superb and you can understand how choreographer Wilhelmina Ojanen has worked extensively with both dancers and composer Andrew Marriott to give a real freshness. The show is a real treasure with an apparent simplicity belying its actual complexity and drawing us into a different and very appealing world.

Reviewed on 12th March 2020 at Kala Sangam, Bradford

Plays at Leeds City College on 21st March

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