3 Stars

★★★ Inventive and Thoughtful: Contemporary Dance at The Place

Maddy Price reviews Flexer & Sandiland’s Disappearing Acts at The Place

Layout 1The winning combination of choreographer Yeal Flexer and digital artist Nic Sandiland succeeds in this inventive and thoughtful new piece at The Place. Disappearing Acts is a blend of contemporary dance, digital installation and spoken word that considers the themes of disappearance, darkness and our politically troubled times.

This seems like a lot to cover during a one-hour contemporary dance performance, and it is true, the experience is an intense one. The stage consists of an intimate circle of stools on which the audience sit – and the five dancers perform both within and outside this circle, occasionally weaving in and out amongst the audience. The performance is broken up into fast paced sections of intense movement, slower spoken word storytelling moments and monologues, some more successful than others, and digital light and sound installations. These installations are some of the most stirring pieces. At one point dancers emerge from a misty darkness as an electric pulse races across the stage and through their bodies – the dancers managing to convey a sense of danger and loneliness in their movements, whilst a voice eerily calls out ‘can you see me?’

disappearing-acts-2But it is not all darkness and intensity. There are flashes of humour – at one point a dancer makes two audience members disappear in the manner of a circus magician. And towards the end of the performance the dancers are joined on stage by students from The Place’s Centre for Advance Training, who fill the space with a swirling mass of energy.

Perhaps not one for those uninitiated in contemporary dance (Flexer and Sandiland are boundary pushing and one hour was enough for me) this is nonetheless an exhilarating experience, and one well worth checking out when the company returns to the UK in November.

Maddy Price

Explore the rest of the autumn season at The Place: www.theplace.org.uk

See tour dates for Disappearing Acts: http://flexerandsandiland.com/

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