Review: Rahel Vonmoos - Springloaded at The Place

Performance: 19 May 2012
Reviewed by Germaine Cheng - Monday 21 May 2012

Rahel Vonmoos. Photo: Michela Grace

shall i sit here / and again
19 May 2012

Skimming through the programme as I arrive in the bar of The Place’s theatre, I briefly look up to recognize many a cast member of Rahel Vonmoos’ and again , which includes artists like Ben Ash and Lauren Potter. Familiar faces from the UK’s independent dance scene dot the crowd and if not for a glance at the programme, my curiosity wouldn’t have been aroused.

My suspicion was later confirmed after the interval as the cast of 26 dancers and non-dancers performed the most pedestrian of actions – walking. In his 1967 Satisfying Lover , Steve Paxton sent 39 members of the public walking across the stage, in an ode to the ordinary. Vonmoos’ idea therefore isn’t new, however the concepts she explores are far from ordinary. The cast walk and pause at certain intervals, while almost never allowing a moment of complete stillness, illustrating the constancy of a variable – change.

Accompanied by video footage which appears to be shot from the window of moving train, Vonmoos’ cast show an increasing individuality, making bold choices to slow down their pace or stop within inches of someone else. I find I am challenged to consider that speed and distance are subjective, as the video projected is often a blur. Recalling when I was in denial about my deteriorating eyesight (at the age of six) and wandering around without spectacles, I am struck by the relativity and partiality of perception.
and again displays some genuine humanity and vulnerability, especially when the performers turn to look out into the audience. The simplicity of walking and standing still can be very telling indeed.

‘In shall i sit here, Vonmoos does more than what was asked of her cast, with equally revealing measure. A solo morphs into a duet when, Vonmoos interacts with video projections, mostly footage of herself. She darts in and out of a trapezium of light, lies motionless while German text runs over her body and makes striking silhouettes against the backdrop. Handshakes she extends to the floor and someone behind her, go unmet. A child’s voice muttering “blue and green” repeatedly is juxtaposed with the tinkering of piano keys, encapsulating the joys and frustrations of Vonmoos’ experience of motherhood. Authoritative in stand-still moments and unexpectedly bursting into fluid poetry, Vonmoos generously gives of herself, both physically and emotionally.

At times, she performs the same movement material as featured in the video, but adopts her own timing – a proclamation of independence and self-assurance. A captivating dancer who embodies such a strong internal rhythm, Vonmoos moves with apparent ease and I found the projections distracted from the live performance.

Springloaded continues at The Place until June

Photo: Michela Grace

Germaine Cheng took part in this year’s Resolution! Review – The Place’s online magazine which includes reviews of every Resolution! show, by professional dance critics and aspiring writers.

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