Learning From The Future @ Dance Base

Colette Sadler's Learning From The Future is an hour of striking, hypnotic and ambitious dance

Review by Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller | 22 Aug 2019
  • Learning From The Future @ Dance Base

If you have ever seen Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin, you may recall the striking procedure abstractly portrayed in the film’s opening minutes. Colette Sadler’s Learning from the Future echoes and extends this disarming sequence, twisting Glazer’s opaque depiction of an unknown humanoid being gradually constructed into nearly an hour of striking, hypnotic, ambitious dance. If you enjoyed the rest of Under The Skin, you will likely appreciate the ominous, future-tinged oddities on display in this show. If you do not often go for deliberately paced high-concept sci-fi, you ought to look elsewhere, for Learning from the Future is 50 minutes of a woman playing a cyborg known as ‘BODY A’ simply booting up, and little else. 

This show takes the rare approach to science fiction usually reserved for the headiest of speculative works: procedural, unflashy, languorous. The works of Thomas M. Disch and Arthur C. Clarke, plus shades of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? come to mind. One might reasonably worry that while these ideas are rich on paper, translating them into wordless interpretative dance might prove simply too tedious for an audience to bear. But with the remarkable discipline performer Leah Marojević dedicates to her every move, and the well-measured genre chills Sadler and videographer Mikko Gaestel include intermittently, the effect is compelling and impressive. 

This show is not the most immediate piece of theatre around – the entrancing score, though well-composed by Veli-Ville Sivén and Brendan Dougherty, will likely put almost anyone who's behind on their rest this late in the Fringe right to sleep. If this is you, have a coffee beforehand, because Marajevic’s outstanding work is not to be missed, and Sadler’s vision is well worth your time and attention. 

Learning from the Future, Dance Base (Studio 3), until 24 Aug, 6.15pm, £9-13