Pros: I really connected with the performance despite the limited amount of dialogue. The choreography was incredibly poignant.
Cons: My only negative comment is so minor. After taking your coat, you are led outside to enter the performance space. Not ideal when it’s this cold.
The Print Room appears relatively nondescript from the outside however as soon as I walked down the lantern lit pathway I was enchanted. Staff took my coat before leading everyone round to the performance space (although this was a slightly chilly walk). Made up of a large black reflective dance floor and a similarly reflective, angled screen I was intrigued to see how it would look once the performance started.
Ignis is a dance performance with just four performers – Noora Kela, Sara Kestelman, Lukasz Przytarski and Jordi Calpe Serrats. Sara Kestelman was playing the role of an older woman who is looking back on her youth, and in particular her past relationships. She was the only cast member who frequently spoke and her gentle tone did not detract from the dancers – merely enriches their performance by adding context. As a slight newbie to the world of contemporary dance I was curious to see if it would engage me. However I needn’t have had any concerns. With just the right amount of spoken word to help us understand the narrative, I was utterly engrossed and the hour flew by.
As the name Ignis suggests, fire is a key theme in the show, used as a metaphor for love. Love and fire are often intertwined in various art forms and this performance seamlessly merged the two. A real fire being lit at the end may have seemed gimmicky but it actually worked incredibly well. Occasionally I think shows with a theme can be overdone. However in this case the references to fire were seamlessly intertwined with the wider narrative. This fire also brilliantly reflected around the performance space, as did the dancers movements throughout the performance. The reflective surfaces were a simple set design that really worked.
I was moved by this performance. Dance can portray so much more emotion than I previously gave it credit for. On further reading of the very in-depth programme notes, it describes the “fire triangle and tetrahedron” as inspiration for the story of a love triangle, depicting the death of one love as another is beginning. Showing this situation through dance perfectly demonstrated the agony and heartache experienced by all parties. I found myself overcome by the intensity of the emotions portrayed on a number of occasions.
The music, a mix of acoustic and electric sound, was the icing on the cake for me! A constant meditative quality suited the reflective elements while heavy bass beats and string melodies accompanied more intense moments.
I felt emotionally drained on leaving The Print Room, and I know I was not alone in this reaction. I will never again underestimate the power of dance after tonight – and look forward to exploring the world of contemporary dance more in future.
Author: Devised by the cast.
Choreographer: Hubert Essakow (with the cast).
Dramaturg: Laura Farnworth
Producer: The Print Room
Box Office: 020 7221 6036
Booking Link: http://www.the-print-room.org/page70.htm
Booking Until: 1 March 2014.