This is a serious & beguiling work, uplifted by all the flamenco arts ( guitar, song, dance, percussion) but also through pacey theatrical direction from Peña’s long-term artistic consultant, Jude Kelly. Continue Reading
After an evocative opening tribute to Lorca with Pena and two solo dancers (Angel Munoz and Mayte Bajo) who emerge like interrogatory ghosts, the remaining show proceeds in fits and starts.
The performers don’t act, but rather focus our attention on the subtleties of sound and the inflections of Fernando Romero’s choreography. Instead of projecting outwards, they pull us in. It’s utterly captivating.
Using text, dance, music, song and film, we hear words from Lorca, Antonio Machado and Pablo Neruda, the voice of Franco, snatches of folk song and stories of resistance and self-sacrifice.
Their physical language is recognisably Shechterian: low, loose-hipped simian loping in huddled formations, arms swinging and punching the air, fragments of folk-dance and solitary convulsions.
Part silent film, part early video game, there’s a naivety about the visuals that undermines efforts at profundity. The strongest scenes are solos for Osipova and Ivanilova where we focus, simply, on a single performer.
It is a profoundly musical event, its choreography built on ideas of sonority, harmonics and composition. The Tate, dominated by the image, becomes transfused with the formalities, sensualities and detailed logics of music and dance.
On-off searchlights, deafening electronica intercut with snatches of 18th-century baroque music, and chopped-up sections of folksy choreography executed by six dancers.
She’s exploring similar territory to another ballerina, Sylvie Guillem, not least in Russell Maliphant’s Silent Echo, spinning through the shadows while Polunin shows off his ballet leaps.
The performers count out pencil beats in increasingly, impossibly quick succession until the rapid string of numbers sounds like lines of computer code or the digits of pi. It’s mesmerising.