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Catapult Dance,
Fearghus O'Conchuir,
Legitimate Bodies Dance Company

Irish Cream:
Catapult: ‘Beatbox Bingo’
Legitimate Bodies: ‘Hanging In There’
O'Conchuir: ‘Match’

August 2008
Edinburgh, Dance Base

by Gareth Vile



© Maria Falconer

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Judging by this triple bill, small-scale Irish dance is in rude health. A high technical standard, imaginative choreography and the broad range of styles, emotions and content suggest that many different approaches are flourishing across Ireland.

Catapult Dance begin the show with a lively, if over-long, study of office politics, Beatbox Bingo. Live saxophone, beat-boxing and keyboards support vigorous solos, pas de deus and pas de trois. All three dancers are capable, and the repeated motif of team-building games give structure to a slightly abstract series of sketches. Wild music- Justin Carroll and Edward RosenBerg III are both jazz experimentalists- calls and responds to the movement, sometimes grounding, sometimes provoking. A solid start to the programme, showcasing Rebecca Walter’s thoughtful and inventive choreography.

 


Catapult Dance's Beatbox Bingo
© Maria Falconer


Fearghus O Conchuir, having demonstrated his skill as a dancer in Beatbox Bingo, concluded the bill with the macho duet, Match. Based around Gaelic sport, it is a contest of masculine ability- not a little homoerotic- and was originally created for a film set in a sports’ stadium. Brutal and stately, it elegant draws parallels between sport and warfare, concluding in the moving defeat of one dancer against the other’s dignified victory. It certainly opens up a dialogue between sport and dance, at least in terms of drama and prowess. It is, however, a Platonic meditation, ignoring the social context of the game and concentrating on its pure symbolism. A fascinating and thought-provoking work.

 


Fearghus O Conchuir and Matthew Morris in Match
© Maria Falconer


In the middle, Legitimate Bodies Dance Company served up the sort of contact improvisation that justifies dance as both a serious and populist art. Taking phrases from the Peace Process, and weaving them into a serious of symbolic movements, Hanging In There is very funny and resonant. Although it is based on a specific negotiation, it highlights the importance of definitions, co-operation and the gap between rhetoric and reality. Operating as an in-joke for the dance-crowd, a witty political statement and a profound comment on language’s ability to hide or reveal physical reality, Hanging In There would entertain any audience, and could be slipped into a burlesque show or comedy night without fuss.

 


Nick Bryson and Damian Punch (Legitimate Bodies Dance Company) in Hanging In There
© Maria Falconer


In an increasingly over-priced Fringe, this is a real treat. Three shows, three sets of artists and three very different sets of ideas: Dancebase has shown the Fringe the future, both in the material and the format.


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