ContemporaryDanceReviewSouth East

Silent Lines- Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich

Director: Russell Maliphant

Reviewer: Cavelle Leigh

Renowned choreographer Russell Maliphant here indulges his two passions, dance and anatomy. Silent Lines aims to bridge the gap between dance as an art form and as a science, incorporating lighting and video projection. Maliphant is particularly interested in the subdermal tissue beneath our skin known as the fascia; this shown rather strikingly by the projection of a cellular structure upon the dancers as they are introduced to the stage. Alethia Antonia, Edd Arnold, Grace Jabbari, Folu Odimayo and Will Thompson are hypnotic in an underwater world, gradually fading out one by one.

Overlapping concentric ripples, expanding and contracting, support this theme, and are a nod to an intergalactic one. The piece aims to explore the parallels present in both our internal beings and external worlds, microcosms and macrocosms. Jabbari is strong in a geometric solo in the midst of a black hole, later accompanied by the others. The men have projected on them a cross-section of muscle fibres, which again is quite visually alluring. The piece portrays that whilst we appear insignificant in an infinite outer space, there are symbiotic organisms within us and so we are worlds within ourselves. Projected horizontal lines recede across the stage with urgency, signifying both our immortality and that of life itself. The stark contrast between light and dark shadows enhance these abstract notions, as does the drum-heavy instrumental throughout, save for an energetic interlude in which Odimayo dances to an old-fashioned ditty.

Silent Lines collaborates opposing concepts of science and creativity to impressive effect. However, eventually the dance, set design and themes themselves become tiresome. The piece requires more diverse and coordinated choreography as for the most part the dancers repeatedly swooped and turned independently of each other. The concept itself is indeed innovative, but better still with more varied execution.

Reviewed on 6 April 2019 | Image: Dance East

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