Monday, 16 June 2014

Otherworldly Dance Theatre

Beyond the Body
Sherman Cymru Theatre 1
Wednesday 11th June, 2014

TaikaBox took a trip into the unknown in their latest dance theatre offering, Beyond the Body. The meditative piece explores spirituality and the unique journey of each human spirit on their way through life (and what may come after).

The company have an unusual and innovative approach to dance, using not only the form of the dancer on stage. The human body is complemented by the addition of high-tech projection and a live two-piece band, Eyebrow. For this production the projections were on two planes, both the back wall and the floor became reactive landscapes, adapting to the inhabitants of the stage.

A very loose narrative centres on the character of The Seeker (Tilly Webber). A young woman researching a range beliefs and customs who ends up on a spiritual journey of her own. Through this journey she encounters four characters who each have their own path to follow and challenges to face.

Each performer fully inhabits their role, clearly benefitting from the extensive research process carried out by the company. The different energy of each dancer really shines through making them unique individuals even in the group choreography.

For me the highlights of the show were the solos by The Shaman (Noora Kela) and The Runner (Daisy Natale). The raw, animalistic qualities of Kela’s movement really captured a sense of the wild. Infectious accompaniment from the band drives this section into a ritualistic fever of excitement.

Whereas Natale’s tortured writhing was horribly compelling to watch. The projection also worked particularly well in this section, a dark, inky cloud seeming to react to The Runner, trapping her and chasing her at the same time.

These solo sections were exciting, offering an energetic change of pace but jarred when the whole group re-emerged from the wings. The production often felt more like a collection of smaller pieces, with their own narratives, rather than one cohesive whole.

Beyond the Body will be in Edinburgh through the whole of the festival. This long period of performance could be a great chance to keep developing and playing with the structure of the piece to find a more organic ebb and flow between sections.

If you are at the Fringe this August, seek out Beyond the Body for its otherworldly atmosphere and sense of curiosity. You may be surprised by what you find.

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