• Dec 16,2014
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Sadler’s Wells =dance, Statement Pieces Lilian Baylis Studio, 11 December

This mixed bill is a part of Sadler’s Wells =dance; a year-long programme showcasing collaborative work of disabled and non-disabled artists. This concept alone is worth supporting, quite apart from the diverse and quality dance you will discover. Two artists being championed in “Statement Pieces’ are Marc Brew and Laura Dajao.  

Nocturne by Marc Brew and his company, is an exploration of people and relationships, a concept that anyone, able-bodied or otherwise, can relate to. An inclusive dance piece, an intimate and intricate duet performed by two couples using two double beds as props. While one couple tumble and fly on top, across and over the beds and each other displaying energy and athleticism, the other beautifully contrast with the gesticulating, gentle, touching sequence performed by Brew and his partner Rebecca Evans. It almost feels as if the audience are trespassing on a private moment. It is not surprising that this piece, first created in 2008, is still being re-worked and performed; it is a thrilling piece of physicality. 

Laura Dajao is no doubt a talent. Her piece Missing showcases skills of singing, piano playing and dancing. Through this personal rendition, Dajao tells her story; created after an operation that resulted in her loosing a limb. She starts with the song “Finding my Strength” along with co singer Jazz Bailey. This develops into movement, a vocabulary created by fusing hip hop and contemporary dance, also incorporating sign language to give it that special touch. Dajao has touched on interesting collaborative ideas within this piece, further exploration and development of which could lead to an entire production with strong impact.

The concluding piece For Now I Am brings Brew back on stage: solo. An intriguing start with strong visual impact from the set design; what looks like a giant shower curtain covers the stage revealing Brew lying beneath. The water theme continues through the soundscape of waves, rain and dripping water.  This, along with the fetal positions shaped by Brew using the huge piece of material, emphasise the theme of rebirth and healing, communicating Brew’s personal journey. Being entirely floor based, the action content is restricted, yet powerful. The small repetitive actions, depicting breaking, reforming and replacing are at times almost painful to watch, a difficulty not helped by the high pitched string instrument that ring in your ears -The performance in its entirety depicts the frustrations experienced through the process of rediscovery, as Brew accepts his ‘new’ body post accident. The final position; Brew elevated from the stage floor by his feet, an image that imprints on the audience and encapsulates the strength and the struggle of Brew’s return to movement.

                                                                                                               Reviewd by Sara Daniels

                                              (Sara is a freelance dance teacher and lecturer in dance education)

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