The Patrick Centre at the Birmingham Hippodrome
April 7, 2017
There’s a lot of dance about in the Midlands at the moment, much of it centred on Birmingham’s Hippodrome which is great for all us dance lovers. The good thing about the programming on offer recently is that you can never guess what you’re going to see, and for those with an open mind the results are often beguiling, confrontational, uplifting, moving or all these and more. R O S A L I N D (as choreographer James Cousins writes it) is a perfect case in point.
I was at a slight disadvantage – I could have done with brushing up on my Shakespeare before seeing the show as Cousins’ work is based on the bard’s As You Like It which I last saw ages ago, but basically is about a woman who embarks on a voyage of discovery fuelled by love, and surprisingly for its date, oppression. I was intrigued too to read James Cousins had won the first New Adventures Choreographer Award (cue Sir Matthew), and that the work, premiering in 2016, was commissioned by the British Council, co-commissioned by the Arts Council of Korea and featured Korean dancers making this a truly international night.
The result is a fusion of sound, movement, light and darkness, even unusually the spoken word, where movements repeat obsessively, and confrontation, some of it eerily violent, is the order of the day. But its most powerful aspect, is the sheer energy of its four dancers, two male, two female who literally throw themselves into their roles with what looks like frankly dangerous abandon, singly, in pairs, as a trio and at times all four striving violently with and against each other in a kaleidoscopic melée.
In the end a celebratory note is struck – a happy ending – but the final, overall impression of
R O S A L I N D is of force, compression, obsession and finally a hard-won resolution. Focused quite literally in and out of a box of light here the performers proved that dance is truly a universal language. Intriguing, sometimes challenging, definitely a step into new territory in every way.
More please, more.