Sometimes, just every now and then you get to go to a show that feels a little bit dangerous. Not dangerous to my well being, I’ll admit, but dangerous in the sense that you’ve got NO IDEA what’s coming your way. No clue what to expect, over and above the fact that it’s bound to be in your face.
Amplification, by Phillip Adams’ company BalletLab was one such show. I had a sense before walking in that I should be prepared for just about anything, and it did not disappoint. It seemed to me to be more performance art than contemporary dance, but I’m by no means an expert in either, so I was quite happy to go along for the ride. It most certainly seemed to be largely about movement, and an appreciation of movement most deliberate.
From the outset, it packed a punch. The DJ (on stage throughout the performance) was the first on stage. His introduction was industrial, grinding, shrill. The dancers commenced to grind along, with frightening, fluid violence. They actually looked at times as though they might hurt each other. I shouldn’t have worried though, they were at all times perfectly in control.
The show itself had no obvious linear narrative, but it most certainly made reference to many dark, starkly important themes – power, imprisonment, abuse and gender.
About halfway through the performance the music stopped, leaving a slight ringing in our ears, and the lead dancer continued to dance. I’ve got to say, this was strange and seemed a little on the silly side, but then I noticed the sounds that her dancing was making. I was quite thrilled to listen to dancing, the slap of feet on the wooden floor, the light but strong thump as she came into contact with the ground, the slightest rustle of her clothing.
As the performance moved through warehouse industrial, to sitar burial tunes, to a little West-Side Story style dance-fighting, I became aware that this was the first time watching a DJ that I actually got a real sense that they were playing a musical instrument. His intensity and skill was exactly as you would see from any professional musician. I was impressed to say the least.
The show concluded nakedly. Dancers bodies, lying incredibly, frighteningly still and then moving, intertwined Inferno-esque. An act not for the faint-hearted, but perfectly in context.
Getting to see this show was a wonderful opportunity, as was meeting @joidesign, and spending an evening with @fionak (my wonderful host). Thanks for a great Rushcrowds event.