Reviewed by Sue Cheesman
September 1, 2015
The first work Undertide choreographed by Olive Beiringa and Otto Ramstad (Body Cartography) is introspective. We as an audience are invited to contemplate the dance as if looking at an old master’s painting that slowly morphs. This piece demands a different kind of attention, almost contemplative, and more akin to a Butoh sense of time.
It begins with a film projected on the back of the giant box with a geometrical grid carving up the image into rectangle squares making the viewing more 3D than fractionated. Bodies crease, fold, lean and lie as the overall picture slowly mutates. Several times the tranquil state is splintered by shaking and trembling, which permeates across all dancers. The film zooms in on one dancer’s belly. The skin is rolled back revealing an internal green vestibule of stomach contents. Accompanied by a slurping sound, fingers clean out numerous small dark balls. The image is macabre yet compelling at the same time.
On the other side of the stage the yellow sepia toned light grows on a beautiful opening tableau introducing the live part of the dance. Bodies seemed to be jig sawed together as they intertwine around one another. This striking image is somewhat under cut by too many single entries of dancers to the upstage, dimly lit revolving box, making it hard to sustain our attention. Inside the box we see dancers leaning, sliding, stacking and restacking and shaking. Many of the images and motifs from the film repeat as the dancers introspectively navigate the inside of the box with a slow liquid dynamic.
The accompaniment, full of intrigue, was composed by Claire Cowan.