Choreographics @ The Lilian Baylis Studio (Sadler’s Wells) Review

In the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells six emerging choreographers are given a platform to show their considerable promise, with the theme of post-war America as a stimulus.   


In A Touch for Eternity, James Streeter uses the final meeting between the Rosenbergs before their death as his inspiration. The dancers move initially in unison whilst facing away from each other, giving us a touching insight into their intimacy even when forced into separation. Yet when they finally meet their movements echo that of a traditional love meeting, and this seems insufficient for what was both a romantic and a politically charged relationship. Despite the undeniable poignancy of the piece, I was left with no real understanding of these characters as real people.​ Renato Paroni de Castro‘s Memory of What Could Have Been has good intentions, but ultimately falls short of its mark. Two sailor brothers attempt to woo a woman and she picks one to marry. When he dies in the war the woman is left to mourn a ghost. Whilst there is scope for real heartbreak it is unfortunately lost in cliché, in both the lighthearted courtship and the consequent mourning. Morgann Runacre-Temple‘s Give My Love to the Sunrise is far more successful. Taking Orson Welles’ The Lady From Shanghai as a starting point, she explores the central characters of the femme fatale and the shady hero. Runacre-Temple highlights the attraction that lies between these archetypal characters using understated flirtatious body language. The tension that inevitably exists between such strong figures is then brought out beautifully when the relationship has turned to one of fear and suspicion.

​Fabian Reimair‘s traumA, so-called because traum is the German word for dream, follows three fallen soldiers and the woman who grieves for one of them. The men are forced to dance on their knees, frozen as they are in that moment before death. This arguably makes for the most poignant moment of the evening. Max Westwell‘s Fractured Memory is an altogether more light-hearted piece based on the idea of looking back on a relationship in fragments, as if at a drive-through cinema. Whilst there is much to enjoy from the six dancers, particularly the wistful remembrance of first meetings, the film-like quality of the encounters means that it ends up feeling quite superficial.

​Closing the evening is Stina Quagebeur‘s A Room in New York, based on the real-life tempestuous relationship between Edward Hopper and Josephine Nivision. The neutral brown of their domestic clothing perfectly contrasts the intensity of this dysfunctional couple. Through a combination of violent and tender movements, sometimes so close together that it’s comical, Quagebeur perfectly captures both the sadness and the joy that such love can inspire. And whilst this evening’s performances are often flawed, there are, like in any love story, many moments that stay with you.

Review written by Holly Kilpatrick.

Choreographics was shown at the Lilian Baylis Studio on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th June. For more information on the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop