When I am in the privacy of my bedroom, I pretend I am a professional ballet dancer and prance around like a moron. Unfortunately, my dancing prowess does not extend past bedroom ballet or drunken club boogying so I must admit that I have no knowledge of dancing jargon. However, I can appreciate talent. And my God, 2Faced Dance Company is talented.
‘In The Dust’ is an all-male contemporary dance show; the performance is non-verbal and demonstrates three themes in three acts, created by three choreographers. ‘SUBTERRANIA’ by choreographer Tom Dale, with music by Shackleton reveals ‘A world in immanent doom’. ‘Politicking Oath’ by choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie, with music by Alberto Bernal revealed the ‘emotion and spirit expressed by the Olympic Oath’ and finally ‘7.0’ by Tamsin Fitzgerald with music by Alex Baranowski revealed ‘geographical unrest and uncertainty’ based on the choreographer’s experience in Haiti a year after the earthquake.
The ability of each of the eight performers is unquestionable; breakdancing and contemporary urban dance are fused with machismo, fearlessness and grace. Whether dancing as one unified whole or as eight separate parts, the full auditorium was transfixed. Every move was watched with suppressed breath whilst bodies were manoeuvred, hoisted and flung through the air to express destruction, Olympic athleticism or discontent. The low lighting, emotive music and almost ‘street urchin’ like costumes of the first and final scenes contributed to the carefully crafted dramatic environment.
I found the final act to be the most poignant and thought provoking; five members of the company danced with dust, symbolising the destruction those in Haiti still face a year after the earthquake. While the first scene was nearly as evocative, the second scene left me somewhat disappointed, despite its comical moments as it is sandwiched between two particularly haunting scenes which conjure many emotions and questions. Although the middle scene had interesting themes, the props left me confused at times.
When I met the eight performers and the founder, artistic director and choreographer Tamsin Fitzgerald, after the show, I was amazed at their collective dancing experience. Fitzgerald founded the company in 1999 and since then, has expanded it to become the successful award-winning company it is today. As well as touring all over the UK and parts of Europe, 2Faced Dance Company also educates new, young talent and will be running workshops during their UK tour.
As for the performers themselves, each of them come from a different dance and training background. Although some have trained with the company from a young age, others have joined from various dance schools or universities with expertise in contemporary dance, breakdancing, ballet and hip hop. As well as performing with 2Faced, members of the company have also worked at MTV Europe Music Awards, Rambert Dance Company and ‘New Adventures’ in Matthew Bournes’s Swan Lake.
As my awe grew for the talent before me, the conversation turned to injuries that had been acquired on stage; it quickly became apparent how physically demanding and at times, dangerous performing at such a high level can be. As well as cut faces and sprains, the group chuckled as they told me a story of one of their members being knocked unconscious when a tricky move went slightly wrong. I tried not to glance at their protruding arm muscles as the conversation ensued.
If contemporary, original dance is an art form you admire, or even if just enjoy watching masculinity at its most graceful, watch the thought provoking ‘In the Dust.’ This performance, as well as making you marvel at the ability of the performers, will challenge your mind.
As for me, I will try to imitate many of the moves in the privacy of my own bedroom. I have a feeling a concussion is on the horizon.
‘In The Dust’ will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe until 29 August at Zoo Southside. If you miss this performance, 2Faces Dance Company will be visiting Birmingham on 29 September until 01 October. If you wish to see one of their Birmingham shows check out the Birmingham dance partnership website for more details at http://www.dancexchange.org.uk/events/in-the-dust. If you wish to investigate the possibility of participating in one of their workshops look at 2Faced Dance Company’s website http://www.2faceddance.co.uk/.
Words: Dannan Swanton
Images: Courtesy of 2Faced Dance Company