Sluts of Possession @ Dancebase
Rosie Kay returns with Brazilian Guilherme Miotto in a fascinating new show, which invades consciousness through its physicality and mesmeric power. A fusion of dance and film inspired by states of possession, it incorporates extracts from anthropological film archives and field-recorded music donated by the Pitt Rivers Museum (University of Oxford) and new material by Louis Price.
The dancers appear in knee-length shorts and T-shirt beach-wear as if in an I'm a Celebrity...Get me Out of Here! jungle scenario, but the tribal music and their faces painted with white designs, reminiscent of Pacific Ocean stone-age tribes, are a far more serious and exciting exploration of what is 'primitive' culture.
Shivering, trembling, slapping their bodies on knees, on bums, the dancers become possessed while washboard sounds, wooden flutes and African singing changes to shamanic chanting from other cultures – possibly Mongolia? This was accompanied by archive film extracts, cleverly revealed in slits that expand then shut down again, suggesting the partial view of the colonial so-called civilized societies. Films of tribes herding animals and men marching in topees were symbolically run backwards. At times, the film extracts were more interesting than the repetitive dancing going on in front of the screen but the show as a whole is thought-provoking and involving.