6 November 2012
Marc Brew is renowned for creating tender, precise dance that captures the beauty of shared moments. Sophie Partridge reviews a triple bill of the companies work, comprising 'Fusional Fragments', 'Nocturne' and 'Remember When' featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie, at the Tramway, Glasgow.
Having missed ‘Fusional Fragments’ first time around at Southbank Centre during the Unlimited Festival, I knew it would be worth the trip to Tramway, Glasgow, to see it as part of Triple Bill. That decision wasn’t a complete leap of faith, as I had already seen the first two parts and knew them both to be quality pieces. I was intrigued however, to see Nocturne again actually staged and lit, as opposed to in a festival setting outdoors where I had known it previously.
One thing I love about Marc Brew’s work, whether he is performer or choreographer, is its relentlessness. Propulsion of movement is common to all three parts of the triple bill: sometimes the motion is slowed down and at other times, faster. But it’s always there, pushing forwards. In ‘Nocturne’, Marc and his fellow dancers literally throw themselves around on those beds, divided into two couples.
The bed mattress provides Brew with a flexible surface to utilise in his performance; one which allows a different dance vocabulary to his wheelchair which, as much as I love my own ‘chair, I can relate to. And it was great to be up close and personal, actually seeing the dancers expressions and hearing the spoken narrative.
The short second part ‘Remember When’ is a piece of what I would call true dance as it says so much without words. This time using his `chair, Brew is projected on a screen, precariously balanced on an upward travelling elevator. He then arrives on stage himself and begins a sequence involving upper and lower body and it becomes apparent that the lower limbs have no independent movement of their own. Reflective gesturing over the shoulder however, signifies that they once did. There is no self-pity here, only the act of memory, being portrayed. It is contemplative and evocative, yet simply pleasing.
Finally comes ‘Fusional Fragments’, Brew’s choreography for 5 dancers with a score by Philip Sheppard and live percussion by deaf performer Dame Evelyn Glynnie. All three elements combine to create an incredible whole. Again that continual forwards motion from the dancers, even when in clusters, some appear to be static as others move vitally.
The piece seemed to challenge time itself, almost as if some moved in Real and others in a different zone. With costumes for all in earth tones, I had a really strong sense of Standing Stones. Stonehenge seemed to dance! Glennie’s percussional accompaniment to the deep tones of the score was fantastic. She had an amazing array of instruments. It was wonderful to view her playing. Holding away from the dancers at times and then at points, flying amongst them. With flowing silver hair, it was as if an archetypal Wise Woman were orchestrating the piece, moving those stones.
Culminating in light out of the shadows through dancers and smoke, the fragments fused finally as if the sun rose on a new year’s dawn and shot through the stones on Salisbury plain. Triple Bill drew to a close and left us its audience, spell-bound.
Marc Brew Company's 'Triple Bill' goes to the Town Hall Theatre, Swindon on 30 November 2012. Go to www.marcbrew.com/