ContemporaryDanceReviewSouth East

Torus – Jerwood Dance House, Ipswich

Directors: Júlia Robert, Rudi Cole 

Reviewer:  Cavelle Leigh

Dance company Humanhood attempts to explore and intertwine two seemingly polarised worlds; of science and spirituality. Torus is the pivotal round, upon which so many of our principles are based. Expectations were of a symbolic journey that would bring those worlds to a close.

During a slow and protracted introduction, the five aquiline performers Rudi Cole, Júlia Robert, Jill Goh, Connor Scott, and Kennedy Mutanga writhe at ground level as one organism, seeking yet failing to rise and separate. Flowing movements are interspersed with tightly controlled rhythmic thrusts, twists and turns.

As in life, light is a catalyst for change, and here it allows the dancers to rise and be free, until the magnetism of Torus reunites them once more. A recurring pattern throughout, it aims to convey, one imagines, that no matter our thoughts and beliefs be they science or religion, or who we are as individuals, we are all borne of the same. We all rotate around the sun and belong to the circle of life… Torus.

Sadly, much of this is lost to the dance, rather than enhanced by it. Formations, for example that of a sundial, are used to effectively convey abstract concepts such as the passage of time. However much of the performance, tribal in origin, becomes repetitive all too soon. Even stronger segments such as the dancers seemingly losing control of their limbs in an apparent freestyle section are sustained far longer than necessary, eventually losing impact.

The bass soundtrack is as dark and sinister as the spectacle itself and doesn’t deviate throughout. The lighting and set design is equally sombre but to what end? Surely the continuation of life, with every end a new beginning, offers hope.

Sure enough, in keeping with the theme, the production comes full circle, ending exactly as it begins but this feels almost to chance. The piece appears to lack direction, unsure of what it is trying to achieve, and so with a running time of just an hour, Torus is wearing.

Reviewed on22 March 2019 | Image: Simon Tang

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