(Ine)quality and dance criticism: but what about the dance?

The call for expressions of interest to take part in the Springback Academy promised mentorship in quality dance criticism. The texts participants produced were subsequently posted on the Springback Academy website in an attempt to “stimulate conversations online that will enable Aerowaves to connect with digitally active dance enthusiasts across Europe–ensuring people who are not in Barcelona share ideas, thoughts and views.” However, in a round of introductions prior to the festival and again during a panel discussion titled Critical Issues, the seemingly conflicting efforts of prominent dance press personalities at Spring Forward to (i) encourage discussions about dance online, and (ii) simultaneously problematise dance criticism published/posted online, became apparent. Continue reading (Ine)quality and dance criticism: but what about the dance?

Idiot-Syncrasy – Igor and Moreno

Idiot-Syncrasy’s creators, Igor Urzelai and Moreno Solinas, stand centre stage and observe the audience before breaking into song. The performers build up to a crescendo with their heels marking the beat, accumulating energy until they begin to bounce, in unison, making their way through the space. Igor and Moreno do not employ this repetitive bounce motif to achieve a transformative state, instead it takes a backseat to their informal and fleeting encounters with individual spectators. Continue reading Idiot-Syncrasy – Igor and Moreno

MONO – Kompani Haugesund / Mia Habib

Mia Habib’s work, Mono, performed by Kompani Haugesund, lives up to its title. The stage and costume designs are uniformly pale blue and appear comically sterile, perhaps staving off a viral outbreak. Covered from head to toe, eyes included, in blue lycra jumpsuits, the dancers blend into their surroundings and are shut off from the world around them. The live music element recalls garage bands from analogue days, a rare example of a very human hand in the performance, contrasting the individual creatures on stage who are largely unempathetic, apathetic, sporadically aggressive loners. Continue reading MONO – Kompani Haugesund / Mia Habib

Jordjenta (Soilgirl) – Berstad / Helgebostad / Wigdel

The audience enters an expansive auditorium, lights dimmed, to the hum of machinery. Three blinding lamps hover on stage, however, as the lamps begin to shift through space one realises the performance, Jordjenta, has already begun. Grouping together, the lamps are turned upwards revealing the upper bodies and faces of three female dancers—Kristin Helgebostad, Ida Wigdel and Ingeleiv Berstad from Norway—wearing matching polyester bomber jackets, limp blond hair and cheek retractors familiar to a dentist’s surgery. Continue reading Jordjenta (Soilgirl) – Berstad / Helgebostad / Wigdel

Miss Lithuania – Vilma Pitrinaite / We Compagnie

Vilma Pitrinaite’s solo work, Miss Lithuania, explores the authenticity of performances of nationalism through a parody of beauty pageants. Miss Lithuania expresses her desire to promote and simultaneously escape her country and, in the course of this ambiguous Spiel, compares the European Union to the Soviet Union and confuses the EU flag with the US flag. The programme claims that Miss Lithuania demonstrates a conflict with norms, although the work saw her embody rather than reject popular images. Continue reading Miss Lithuania – Vilma Pitrinaite / We Compagnie

30 Cecil Street – Dan Canham

Still House founder Dan Canham’s solo performance recaptures impressions of the Limerick Athenaeum, an Irish cultural institution that served several purposes prior to being left to rot, with regard to both its physical form and social significance. Evoking the architecture of his source material Canham reconfigures the performance space by marking a blueprint-like topography on the black floor with white masking tape, then places a chair in what one can imagine might be a backstage area. Similarly, the audience bears witness to the backwaters of memory. Continue reading 30 Cecil Street – Dan Canham