Lore by James Wilton Dance

The Place, London
October 10, 2023

Lore by James Wilton Dance takes us back to nature and, we are told, the energy that flows from the ground. It was inspired by the Celtic creation myth, with the set (by Wilton himself) adding to this feeling of ancient folklore and story-telling. There are nods to mythology and ancient tales in the designs and Michal Wojtas’ soundtrack too, the latter drawing on influences from Viking, Celtic and Slavic folk music.

It promised much but had way outstayed its welcome by the end of its hour. Choreographically, there are some wonderfully inventive dance moves for performers  James Wilton and Sarah Jane Taylor. It’s athletic and calls for a lot of stamina, which it gets. There are lots of lifts and combinations. Unfortunately, they are repeated and repeated in sequences that themselves also become repetitive. It started to feel like watching Groundhog Day.

Lore by James Wilton Dance
Photo Chris Nash

The pair spend a lot of time on the floor, which makes for one-dimensional movement and is difficult visually. Taylor is a sinuously beautiful, light, lithe and technically skilful dancer, although that only serves to accentuate the different, more awkward qualities, that Wilton brings to the piece.

Wilton also lit the piece, assisted by Joshua Tomalin. While there are some creative lighting moments, overall it is again repetitive and often too dim. Very effective and worth mentioning was the use of spotlights from the wings to create an eerie, ethereal effect of light and shadow, however.

The highlight of Lore is undoubtedly Wojtas’ specially commissioned score. He achieves everything in his composition everything that Wilton and Taylor could have done with the choreography: evocation, imagination, creation, inspiration, longing, singularity, and harmony.

But, ultimately, Lore disappoints as it fails to deliver on its potential.

James Wilton Dance continues to tour Lore and The Four Seasons. Visit jameswiltondance.com for dates and venues.