Dublin Dance Festival 2018: (b)reaching stillness
Slow Motion Pictures
Semi nudity and micro movements seem to be recurring motifs running through Dublin Dance Festival this year. Emerging once again in Lea Moro’s “(b)reaching stillness.” Taking still life painting as a starting point, “(b)reaching stillness” rarely gets much further, as choreographer Moro uses three bodies, one female and two male, naked from the waist up, to probe the idea of motionlessness, set against Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.
Like John Cages 4’33 in which sound is ever present in silence, in “(b)reaching stillness” movement is ever present in motionlessness. As three dancers, following a trip to the water cooler, lie on the floor, they begin to imperceptibly move their heads from side to side at a painstakingly slow pace. After crawling to the small island in a corner of the blue floor, followed by a prolonged sequence with a scalp massager, which evolves into a slow rolling sequence as all three head back towards the watercolour, an odd sensation sets in. One similar to being stuck in traffic. For with “(b)reaching stillness” you know where they’re going, you know they’ll eventually get there, you’re just not sure how long it’s going to take. So you look, hoping to find something more than the barely changing scenery to engage with, waiting for something interesting to interrupt or surprise.
And interesting interruptions occasionally occur. A mild burst of energy and motion during a dragging sequence, which becomes what appears to be a mock ballet, raises the heart rate a fraction. But it’s only a temporary respite. Soon we’re watching, and interminably waiting for, seven inflatable, gold palm trees to stand upright. It might be humorous, like the rainbow of diming florescent tubes overhead, but only as an idea of humour. Throughout, dancers frequently focus their gaze directly on the audience, as if daring them to look away, doze, or check their watches, which several do. A brief sequence of clever and wonderfully engaging lifts suggests something potent at the end, hinting at what might have been.
“(b)reaching stillness” often feels like the dance equivalent of non dramatic theatre. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, and its well intentioned, meticulously slow performance could prove challenging even to aficionados. For everyone else, “(b)reaching stillness” neither breaches, nor reaches, stillness, but something more akin to an awkward silence.
“(b)reaching stillness” by Lea Moro, runs as part of Dublin Dance Festival 2018 at The Project Arts Centre