Pros: The use of sound, light and space created an enjoyable and interesting experience.
Cons: Maybe too abstract for me to truly appreciate.
Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this production. As I walked in the atmosphere felt eerie: the corridors of the old theatre were dimmed and filled with faint candle light, and the sounds of deep music could be heard coming from the main auditorium. When I sat down to the first scene it was captivating from the get-go. Quite an experience to watch a bare-chested woman surrounded with light dance to a silent theatre.
Terra is the concluding piece in The Print Room Dance Company’s trilogy on the classical elements. The first piece Flow is inspired by water; the second, Ignis, inspired by fire; and now the third, Terra, is inspired by earth. The dance explores ideas of home and belonging, refuge, migration and exile. It features five adult dancers and one younger, creating an intimate and rewarding sequence; free from the onstage chaos that can occur when choreographers sometimes try to fill the gaps with more dancers.
The first scene showed Estela Merlos dancing. She was quickly joined by the rest of the crew: Robert Bridger, Luke Crook, Monique Jonas and Benjamin Warbis. The play really become more intriguing though when Jessica Chalmers came out, as this was the point when everyone danced together rather than individually. When the younger dancer came onstage, with a certain air of innocence, they all united to create more of a community, giving the piece a real feel of fluidity.
What must be commended is the use of light and sound to play on the senses. Throughout the show a poem especially written by Ben Okri was read in installments, with pauses between the different stanzas. The dancers never spoke themselves but instead, what could be heard was the music, and the occasional voice reading the poem. At one point, a series of voices could be heard from all over the auditorium which really created an interesting experience, and made great use of the space. Sometimes the blend between music choices didn’t completely fit, but overall it all seemed to work well to create an enjoyable show for the audience.
The set itself was impressive with an almost papier-mâché white background, mixed with home decor including a wardrobe, mirror and chairs. The only real props used were suitcases and chairs, ensuring that there was a larger emphasis on the actual dance rather than anything else, so it was far more immersive. The dancers wore neutral clothing which further conveyed the message and inspiration of earth.
Overall, the performance was great, with an easy fluidity and mixture of movement which surprisingly worked pretty well. The dancers were without flaw, and their collaboration together was what made this performance something to take notice of. The choreography by Hubert Essakow is certainly captivating and wonderful, as was evidenced by the loud applause at the end of the show. Terra is the first dance piece to take place in The Coronet’s auditorium for almost one hundred years, and it certainly does the theatre justice in terms of showing the expression of dance and how it can convey deep meaning.
Artistic Director: Anda Winters
Producer: Veronica Humphris
Choreographer: Hubert Essakow
Production Company: Print Room Dance Company
Booking Until: 12 March 2016
Box Office: 020 3642 6606
Booking Link: http://www.the-print-room.org/theatre/spring-2016-season/terra/