Fast Portraits @ Dance Base

Stretched Canvas

Review by Lorna Irvine | 10 Aug 2012
  • Faster, Liz!

A soloist (Liz Roche) dances on her chair, sensuously stretching out alongside a rehearsal video of the same dance on a screen behind her. We hear her inner dialogue (''I like this one'' and "I should've brushed my hair'' ) in a playful demystification of the work process. It feels reassuring and voyeuristic simultaneously.

She is joined by the rest of the Roche Company, two men and two other women all in muted colours, who dance almost slow-motion as though possessed; the pace is deliberately languid, meditative throughout, rendering the title something of a misnomer. As the glitchy electro music (a gorgeous score by Denis Roche) builds, the dancers position each other like mannequins, trusting in, and judging, their responses; a study in poise and elegance.

They fall into each other's arms, are held up by care and precision – hugely instinctive. Alex Iseli appears to be made of elastic. There are Baroque elements in the Caravaggio-inspired regal hand gesticulations, Liv O'Donoghue and Katherine O' Malley's fluttery flourishes like those of women in the Royal ballroom made flesh- real living breathing works of art. As these are portraits, the framing is all-important and the background minimal; Willie White's accompanying  film is a study in restraint, with the dancers staring back out defiantly.  It is impossible not to get sucked into this immersive world, seductive and hypnotic – as  intimate and beautiful as the score.

Dance Base 3 -12 Aug, various times http://www.dancebase.co.uk