Review / Haunting fusion of music and dance

Dance / “Contact” at the QL2 Theatre.  Devised by Jack Riley & artists. Until 10 June.  Reviewed by JOHN LOMBARD

This modern dance by Jack Riley and his artists sets out to explore points of connection, but its true preoccupation is with darkness.  Physical images emerge slowly as the light rises, and the dancers melt into the space when the lights come down.
The dancers were swift in motion, with the dim lighting sometimes blurring their bodies like whirling dervishes, but with a lightness of touch and excellent control. One segment had the dancers exploring how their bodies could writhe and shudder, presenting their bodies as objects shorn of personality.
The black, futuristic costumes by Andrew Treloar helped strip the dancers of their identity to become objects in this space as well as setting a sci-fi tone.
The electronic soundscape by Robert Downie was performed live and was extremely well integrated with the dancing, whether he created a foreboding wall of sound, gave hints of a trickle of life with water effects, or sang an acoustic dirge on dying.
The use of props was also inventive, with creative use of a folding ladder as a set of monkey bars for an exploration of power and competition, and a man with an umbrella for a head who resembled a monster you might encounter in a videogame.
“Contact’s” most memorable moment scars the retina – with the theatre blacked out, the dancers briefly flash fluorescent lights, creating a dance out of the pattern of after images.
Contact is a brilliant fusion of music and dance, with haunting images that will stay with audiences.

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