Grin @ Battersea Arts Centre Review

Community binds our societies together, the power of the collective undeniable and crucial to humanity’s survival. African, Caribbean and Southern America communities tied together by their ancestral home and cultural roots. The impetus for dance work Grin, choreographer Mele Broomes and dancers and collaborators Kemono L.Riot and Divine Amy Tasinda is born out of the themes of community-building, refusals, friendships, support and networks of care, the title inspired by 1987 poem The Mask by the late Maya Angelou – an urgent cue towards understandings of humanity and the strategies of survival which underpin different modes of being.

A compact, rich, visually striking 45 minutes of the African diaspora’s dance evolution, Grin mesmerisingly places us all in a forever morphing scape, the stage strewn with gold glimmering tinsel, Kemono L.Riot and Divine Amy Tasinda very gradually emerging from this glimmering arrangement – jolty, mechanical movements crafting both as Ancient Egyptian sphinx-like entities. Writhing, they also appear as if they are a pair of snakes hypnotically scanning the space for life, Kemono L.Riot then bursting into a spirited krump routine breaking up the show’s initially steady dynamic and adding a potent realm to it, masquerade-like, his tinsel adorned self contributing vibrant colour and volume to his movements.

Divine Amy Tasinda incorporates the West African and Caribbean dance technique of wining to shift us into an oceanic scape, Divine dressed in a swimsuit, matched with her fluid, isolated movements make her appear mermaid-like, wining’s powerful display of what the body can do engaging. The pair unite with a consistent rippling routine that extends on the fluid, oceanic aesthetic, a beautiful component that smoothly transitions into proceeding scenes. Southern American influences such as salsa conclude the evening, an emphasis on footwork and unity placed – at one point, it’s as if a spiritual cleansing involving the pair takes place, an extracting of negativity, this contributes a spiritual conclusion to the evening. Patricia Panther‘s captivating sound compositions taking us on an exciting audio tour of the diaspora, from echoey, expansive tones to vibrant, warm Southern American rhythms, Grin is an audio-visual, African-Caribbean inspired dance experience not be missed!

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Grin will be available to stream from 30th May to 5th June 2022 on the Battersea Arts Centre website. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop