Love, freedom and oppression are just a few of the themes explored in this production by Jasmin Vardimon. The show opens fairly innocuously – lithe bodies glide with pulsating energy on stage, as though one whole organic shape moving in synchronized harmony. The rainforest setting conjures up an underwater paradise. The first half is peppered with humour: a dancer rides his ‘surfboard’ on stage – the surfboard being his female counterpart who manages to keep grinning as he nonchalantly ‘surfs the waves.’ A projected neon-green lizard moves cheekily around another dancer’s body, disappearing into crevices. The mood is light as one giggly dancer tries to tell us a story before she is lured into yet another magical dance routine. Hands, fingers and even hair all beautifully choreographed. Halfway through, we are finally ‘told’ the story which sets the pace for the rest of the production. In stark contrast, screams of terror accompany dance routines suggesting abuse, torture and death. Music plays it’s part with haunting Roy Orbison to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Repetitive dance movements, reminiscent of Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schechter’s ‘Political Mother’, evoke a world dominated by oppression from which there is no escape. If the first half was the expression of freedom itself, the second denotes entrapment, terror and fear. There are still a few lighter twists and turns along the way: the dainty ballerina who glides around the stage before dissolving into a screaming mess is particularly memorable.
Perhaps because there are so many themes here, it’s not always clear what message Vardimon is trying to get across. At times the production feels like a series of montages without any real structure or narrative. It’s abrasive and raw, but the outstanding choreography is really what keeps you engaged.
Concert Hall, Brighton Dome, 27 November 2012