Pros: Elegant, clever, playful choreography.
Cons: Only thirty minutes long – perfect for the fringe, belongs in a joint billing elsewhere.
Choreographer Roy Assaf’s open, flexible style of working has resulted in a confident collaboration with National Dance Company Wales which shimmers from within like a well-cut diamond. A brief 30 minutes long, the piece probes at our desire to create meaning, which might easily result in something vague and pretentious elsewhere but is approached here with light-hearted clarity.
A woman in white lounges on her side like a film star. As she shifts position with pointed slowness her fixed gaze invites questions as to who is watching who. When five men surround her momentarily, a host of interpretations are possible. The company are an assured ensemble, at times moving in perfect unison from which shapely tableaux emerge and hang in space. Angharad Matthews’ costumes are reminiscent of 50s bathing suits in a collection of vibrant block colours which speak to the interplay between group and individual identity.
Text and movement play against each other and marry at unexpected moments, teasing us with the possibility for neat interpretations. The dancers create an album of images – drawing submarines, sharks, and a range of other things that ‘it’s about’ or ‘not about’ with their bodies. The long list blends into a sort of blankness, or freedom: it could be about anything.
The soundtrack integrates well with the concept; as the dancers call back motifs to create longer phrases the effect is a giddying layering of memory and meaning – ‘the drunkenness of things being various’ as Louis MacNeice called it. One of the worst crimes a choreographer can be accused of is ‘mickey-mouse-ing’ the music – that is, interpreting it too literally. As the piece closes Assaf and the dancers laugh at how easy it is to do this, and how exciting it is to resist it.
Choreography: Roy Assaf
Lighting: Omer Sheizaf
Costume: Angharad Matthews with Deryn Tudor
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/profundis
Booking Until: 26th August