Commissioned especially for this year’s Wilderness Festival, C12 Dance Theatre present a somewhat mystical 45minute dance piece that leaves the audience asking questions throughout and after the show’s conclusion. A female dancer, still in composure attracts the attention of the audience, mannequin-like, she takes over the central doorway. Dressed in a red turtle neck, a long black skirt and adorned with a never ending piece of rope, she gives off the appearance of a Russian doll evoking intrigue.
Two performers crawl through the protagonist’s long black skirt as if two otherworldly entities. As this is the beginning of the piece, it could be described as being the birth of the production, as well as the ‘birth’ of these two characters. It’s as if the offspring of the protagonist are now trying to get to grips with the world they now find themselves in, and have to adapt. This is visually haunting and hooks the audience into the performer’s reality even more.
The protagonist’s two children, twin like, begin to take on domestic responsibilities, bringing up the theme of gender roles and femininity. These are fascinating topics to explore even further as the repetition of creating meals and cleaning somehow suggests that these twins are taking over their mother’s role and are perhaps becoming a new generation of fiery personalities who want to challenge these ideals. What does it mean to be feminine is a question that is put out silently into the space.
There is a constant power struggle between the girls and their matriarch, with predominantly the former overpowering. This is heartbreaking to watch due to the fact that their mother has brought them into this world, but adds depth to a piece that could easily show a one sided relationship. The girls intentionally ostracise her from their perfectly synchronised routines, making her appear like a younger misunderstood sibling with a wish of only being listened to.
The performance’s breakthrough moment is the matriarch, or should I say younger sibling…rebelling. Surrounded by the rope that once adorned her, it is now a place of sanctuary. She summons up a force from within to manipulate her two foes. Frightening in its ferocity, the audience can’t help but celebrate her sudden surge of confidence. Balletic kicks and hypnotic circular arm sequences give her the otherworldly qualities of a sorceress. Teamed up with a tangential, powerful, heart thumping soundtrack and organised chaotic lighting make for a dramatic show down.
What’s evident about C12’s dance piece is just how malleable it is. Just when you think you’ve caught up with the narrative, the game changes and that makes the show a rich watch thematically. This can simultaneously make the show a tough watch if you are a fan of a clear narrative.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
C12 Dance Theatre showcased their latest piece on Saturday 5th August at this year’s Wilderness Festival. For more information on C12 Dance Theatre, visit here…