Review: Alexander Whitley - 8 Minutes - Sadler's Wells

Performance: 27 - 28 June 2017
- Wednesday 28 June 2017

Reviewed 27 June 2017

In Whitely’s 8 minutes we are transported from the Sun to the Earth in an hour, uncovering the forces of the universe at work.

The piece has been two years in the making, with Whitely working in partnership with scientists from the UK’s STFC RAL Space, drawing inspiration from the images and data of solar science research.

The performance opens with a recorded science lecture, settling our brains in for the complex theories ahead. The dancers then appear, dressed in tight, shiny garb, a mixture of heights and shapes, moving against a stunning digitally backdrop that throughout the piece pulses and throbs with light and solar images, bringing the intensity of space to the stage.

Against this vivid setting, created by visual artist Tal Rosner, the dancers move like a murmuration across the stage. Weightless with flowing limbs, it’s a striking mix of unity and individualism that starts us on the journey from bumping atoms to human life.

From there we are transported from space to the stars – the dancers becoming ever independent and more organic – and finally to the ground with a mix of hypnotic group work and some impressive solos. The journey is driven by an intensely satisfying and immersive electronic soundscape by Daniel Wohl who captures the scale and otherness of the cosmos so well.

When we reach Earth, life is speeded-up, offering a vision of humanity through a microscope, ending with a pas-de-deux set against real life, close-up footage of the blazing sun.

Not unlike watching the film Interstella the concepts of space throughout the night felt both tangible and consuming but also often cold, distant and complex.

8 Minutes is at Sadler’s Wells till the 28 Jun.

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