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Florencia GuerberofIllness reaches its crisis in a dissolving sweat

Mandy Tan and Malachi BriantWhile Remembering

Aishani Ghosh, Mithun Gill and Tulani Kayani-SkeefYou with U

Guerberof, Sixsmith
& Sharma have baptised us into their world through a mannequin torso, a young child, eerily rotating around themselves. Watching time pass and feeling the foreboding in future movements. Heartbeats, clucking, a microwave, flesh coloured leotards and bare skin. Vulnerability. The work addresses relatable conflicts within the body through Butoh-esque/ rotisserie like movements that are present and earnest and uses flight to observe an attack on the respiratory system. This work is less about large choreographic expeditions through space, but more the performers embodying states of frustration and liberation. It's a curious work to witness, and I wonder how further dramaturgical insights could strengthen its weight.

The tender touch between Tan and Briant entices me and I ponder on intimacy. The work brings attention to memories. The domestic soundscape emerging allows me to imagine the two dancers as lovers or kin remembering each other. The pair are fluid in their explorations as they comfortably intertwine in and out of each-other like mycelium. An extension of their professionalism. Briant’s solos are gooey and vast. At times, both dancers extend their arms up to the heavens causing me to wonder if that is where the memories have gone. Though slick, the virtuosic duets provide little room for nuance, leaving the intimacy of touch opening and closing the work, most interesting.

The hands hold everything in You with U, exploring conditioning through beauty standards. It is a marvel to see the grace of Skeef, Ghosh and Gill as their influence of Indian Classical dance training gives the dancers a rooted quality. It is interesting that South East Asian Dance styles like Kathak and Bharatanatyam are used to explore beauty standards, as prejudices such as colourism are rife within South East Asia. The performers show this harsh reality as cascades of hands claw at their bodies. At self. Captivating imagery that though ensues discomfort, we cannot do otherwise but watch. The ending of the work is abrupt however, appropriate for the ongoing reality of this subject. I am eager to see the work embedded with more context to truly grip an audience.

Francesca Matthys

A night of dance that slowly gathered pace and theatrical flourish. But it was the very slow, butoh-derived, movement of Florencia Guerberof'sILLNESS REACHES ITS CRISIS IN A DISSOLVING SWEAT that started the night and won the heart with its mix of sophistication and bravery. Guerberof, dancing with Gail Sixsmith and Thelma Sharma, showed the impact of Covid on a (dance) body and the fighting back to form. With the ticking of time, images of discomfort become aching and unsettling suffering as painful, sweaty exhaustion sets in. Ever slow and constantly turning, you see real people (rather than dancers) in unflattering, moving crisis. This work deserves a future, if it could usefully lose it's torso stage prop - so not needed.

Astute programming had Mandy Tan and Malachi Briant in Tan'sWhile Remembering follow seamlessly on with an equally slow start as the two faced each other and quietly caressed limbs. It's rather touching and involving. It could be the start of a relationship, and it then goes on to expand and fill the smoky stage with generous contemporary movement. Well-rehearsed, but Remembering feels rather generic about a relationship rather than seeking " physicalise the feeling of nostalgia and memory." Each dancer also has a solo, but when they dance together the piece feels more confident. A cracking jazzy based score by Toby Carswell drives things along.

Aishani Ghosh, Mithun Gill
and Tulani Kayani-Skeef co-created YOU with U, a piece that picks up on the Insta world around beauty and the social conditioning to look a given glossy way. Wildly happy sections, the face you put on to impress the world, contrasted with darker movement in a tightly defined light box. But it really hit home when a dancer was manipulated, caressed and distorted by just the hands of the other two - real pressure. An interesting mashup of South Asian, Bollywood and contemporary, it was the expressive arm and hand movements that often made you sigh with joy. YOU felt to have way too many scenes/ideas and could benefit from editing down. But a breathless end to a night that had started in such appealing slowness.

Bruce Marriott