15 March 2018

maliphantworks2 at Print Room was dramatic and lovely


Dance is all too rare a beast in the otherwise expansive cultural richness that is London. There is Sadler's Wells and that is about it. That alone would have tempted me to go and the name Maliphant made it compulsory. I had seen several of his pieces performed by other artists, notably Balletboyz, and was keen to see his own group do them so I promptly paid my £25 for Seat D6.

I had not been to Print Room for a few months (there are a lot of theatres in London!) and had forgotten that there were so many cafes nearby so I settled for a vegetable pasty from Wimbledon Station instead. Next time. I had remembered how good the par was there though and before going in I helped myself to a London IPA and had a look at the curiosities adorning the room.

There was a nice symmetry to the evening. There were four dancers, two men and two women, and four pieces and the evening went two men, two women, interval, first mixed couple, second mixed couple.

In Critical Mass the two men, Russell Maliphant was one of them, danced vigorously and closely. It was a display of technical excellence and deep trust. It was two men working together to a common end, co-workers not lovers. The working aspect was reinforced by their matching blue shirts. In it's mood it reminded me of the gorgeous wall scene in The Rodin Project.

Two Times Two was a study in light. The two women were dressed in black outfits with no sleeves that helped to hide their bodies and accentuate their arms. They danced separately in two blurs of whirling and stabbing arms.

Still (an ironic title) played more tricks with lights as bar-code like lines flew confusingly across the stage. The strobe effect was striking as it hid and illuminated different parts of the dancers in quick succession. It was an energetic dance too making full use of the stage.

Duet saw Russell Maliphant and one of the women dance a piece that was almost the mirror of the first except that this time they were definitely a couple and the dancing was slower and more tender.

Even with the interval it was a short show, not much over an hour, but I had no complaints about that.  All of the pieces were dramatic and lovely and they also worked together nicely to make it a sumptuous performance.

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