Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I went along to the steps of St Paul's cathedral last weekend to check out Bonachela Dance Company's new work, The land of yes and the land of no. Dressed in white, six dancers moved up and down the steps, performing solos or in partnership with others, before a big finale all together.
In a way this was typical abstract contemporary dance, with quite a lot of floor work and some phrases that looked bloody exhausting to perform - particularly the last section, that must be relentless for the dancers.
As well as a cast of very good dancers, the piece benefits from a great score written by the Italian composer Ezio Bosso. All strings and minor keys, it conveys particular emotions (somethign bitter sweet, some sadness, the wish to soar) that I could see in the movement and the dancers.
My only small criticism is that I found it difficult to see how Bonachela explored how everyday signs and directions affect us, which is apparently the idea behind this piece. I noticed how, when they performed in three, two dancers often seemed to block the other or redirect his movement, but beyond that... A solo by Paul Zivkovich also reminded me of someone trapped, unable to achieve what he wants because of society's obligations and expectations.
But this is only minor, for anyone can read what they want into an abstract dance piece, and it does not matter anyway. What matters is that it makes you feel something, touches you. And I was quite touched by The land of yes and the land of no. I am now curious as to how these extracts will transform into a full-length piece at the Queen Elizabeth Hall this September, without the powerful backdrop of St Paul's columns behind them.
Some nice black and white images of the performances here and here.
More info on Bonachela Dance Company here.