1 October, Blyth Performing Arts Centre
Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival 2017
Our ever-arching physical nature determines our daily ways of being and social diversity, and from Trip the Light Dance Collective’s first gesture there was an immediate embodiment of what is achieved through a sustained mastery of physicality and an integrated understanding of identity. This afforded the audience an experience of dance from another sphere of resonance all together. There’s clearly strong complementary artistic directorship from Perri Exeter and Joash Fahitua, with a suitably complementary company of dancers. I LOVED this performance.
Mixtape is a collection of different unrelated works, demarcated by a simple costume change and a blackout space between, giving us a still point of respite, whist the dancers re-grouped.
Stand out, was the sheer strength and fitness of the dancers; a quality long established with Black Grace Dance Company, with whom Joash Fahitua has previously worked. So strong was this mastery, that beautiful details were highly visible, such as absolutely no sound on landings, floor-to-air fluidity, sensitive contact carried through to each fingertip, and a return to refined deportment that left each movement to its own power.
It felt as if we were watching an evolving, enriched, and forward form of movement, that’s only place to go is further into the sublime. It’s with curiosity that I consider I may be viewing a new contemporary dance language emerging.
‘Queen of Shards’ was loosely ascribed to the Snow Queen story. Not having read the extract on any of the works (I like to see how I respond first), I did not know this at the time. What I experienced were clear notions of relationship in union and then fracture. Overwhelmingly, this was a beautiful, full piece of choreography with no pause for contemplation – a gracious continuous flow for an opening piece, and even in the sharpest moments, still a wonder.
‘Secta’ posed signature gang, religious and institutional gestures overtly driven through solid movement, conveying relationships, patterns and perception. This was such a complex work that it was impossible not to be drawn in and grounded firmly to the challenges of such circumstances. It was tough.
‘Beyond the Mat’: three male dancers poised around wrestling and what a man’s life worth is to him and to those he leaves behind when he passes. Another thorough piece where the audience experienced male identity as a conscious and complete essence: men standing strong within themselves. This embodiment was entirely complementary to an equally established feminine on the stage; this visible equity a big compliment to the collective and its inner process of working.
‘Me, myself and I’ explored our inner sense of self through three personifications the dancers increasingly elaborated upon through a minefield of self-determination and confusion, until it was apparent all was part of the same whole. This was my teen-daughter’s favourite work, resonating powerfully with the discernments of youth and the resolve they strive to make within themselves.
‘Keeping the Faith’, perhaps the most narrative and character-based of all the works, was framed through notions of faith. This earthy work was funny and serious and drew laughter from the audience along the way, raising us towards a kind of ascension.
It was all superb. I can’t wait to see what Trip the Light do next.
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