Arts & Culture / Reviews

Retina Dance Company presents Corporalis

Thu 27 Feb: The Showroom, Chichester

Retina Dance Company Corporalis 

Filip Van Hufel, artistic director of Retina Dance produces an athletically intense piece redefining Corporalis. This Latin word translates to mean bodily and physical, words that both are embodied in this piece.

A concertinaing metal wall moves, transforming the space, along with the mood and pace, becoming a part of the choreography. The four dancers intricately weave their bodies in unique pathways, tracing shapes and clawing through different dimensions. These dimensions grow from the inside of their bodies, until it forces them to interact with each other and the wall, often fighting frustration as they rebound and fall against Ruimtevaarders set design. They dancers try to escape this architecture being carried horizontally across the wall, as well as peering over it in unusual positions.

Marieke van de Ven’s sound design gives the dancers another element to respond to, as the pinging, whooshing and whirring sounds fizzle out, the energy drops. It then regains momentum as the performers switch from meandering internally to revving out of control, ricocheting and vibrating. The music explodes in waves, getting louder and fading before building again. The perspective of the piece switches as the wall, usually placed behind them, rotates to the side offering the entirety of the space to the dancers who seem to not know what to do with this freedom. Returning to the wall they slam into it with full force.

Andrew Hammond lights the piece adding another layer to this complex work, often plunging the dancers into darkness before the lights are then put on full beam, as the wall closes around one or two of the dancers, bringing them up close to the audience. The bright light reflects onto us making us feel the energy projecting outwards from the space, showing yet another dimension.

Hufel’s choreography is juicy and fearless with an essence of William Forsythe’s technique of room writing.

This review has since been republished by BELLYFLOP Magazine

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