Saturday, 3 May 2008

Spent last night in Dance City, watching Zero Visibility Corps performing I have a secret to tell you (please) leave with me. The creep towards narrative – expressed through pointing, surprised gestures, barriers – is often present within contemporary dance, and usually contributes to the air of pretension. Many among us go in order to see athletic feats, or perhaps to witness interesting choreography, some of us even find most fascination in set design and lighting. To go in search of a story is dangerous.

Afterwards the usual post-mortem took place in the old Forth Hotel, where those that found the show unsatisfactory told us that they arrived expecting resolution.

The set – a white cube, lit with various unfiltered, white stage lights – offered a blank canvas. The only prop was an athletics horse. Strobes, spots and backlit walls allowed the dynamics of the dancers, of which there were three men and one woman who moved through sequences of combination dance, with the female dancer conspicuous as either the centre of advances from her male counterparts, or conspicuous through inaction and disappearance.

Over the duration of the performance, complicated relationships were built up and deconstructed through fight scenes, embraces and routines. One male dancer held the focus though, his relationship with the woman endured the encroachment of the other two men, but he too seemingly left alone.

Playing out within a unconscious space, the characters represented sparring memories, the competing efforts of forgetting and reflex memory. In searching for story however, we found nothing.

Carefully staged interruptions – at one point a dancer began to retch at the back of the stage, at another he began to warn one dancer to remain away from his space – ruptured pretensions to understanding. The crux of the piece remains most memorable today. The central male dancer approached the front of the stage and began to spit close to the audience, demanding of them in French and flexing his muscles before transmitting a series of unsettling tics, drawing bouts of nervous laughter. A Brechtian release from the grueling exercise of overlaying narrative, or only a pause for breath?