Sunday, 8 March 2015

REVIEW: Breakin' Convention's Open Art Surgery

Breakin' Convention's Open Art Surgery
Hosted by Jonzi D, with DJ Psykhomantus
Lilian Baylis Studio - Sadler's Wells
Saturday 7th March 2015

Breakin' Convention's Open Art Surgery is an exciting opportunity for six young hip hop artists to dissect and sharpen their choreography. All six artists were given a week to devise a piece of dance under the guidance of hip hop mentors before Saturday's performance. As well as being a platform for performance, Open Art Surgery also provides the opportunity for invaluable audience feedback.

The show opened with The Rebirth Network's exploration of schizophrenia. The strength of the work lay in the beautifully structured opening. Choreographer, Daniel 7 sits alone on a chair, his intricate hand movements matching the complexity of the music. The rhythm changes abruptly, initiating a sequence of movements that seems to suggest a fracturing of his identity. The dancers clutch, touch and rub their ears, suggesting the characteristic hallucinations and voices associated with the condition. With the strength of the opening, and hopefully with an equally strong ending, Daniel 7's angst ridden discussion of personal turmoil is an insightful work.

Other brave performances included Xena Gusthart's emotional and intimate study of her brother's disability and the sacrifices and compromises involved. Xena's full bodied performance is enhanced by her bold speech, proclaiming that she can't wait to meet his wife, and his child. Until the tone changes, with her sorrowful and desperate demand that she 'can not wait' any longer, before quickly exiting the stage. Xena's moving work carries the important message of acceptance, which is universally understood by all.

During the second half, Tali & Jack presented another deeply moving piece delving into the issues of dysfunctional relationships and substance abuse. Simultaneous images of suffocation and desire thread throughout the dance. Tali and Jack entwine, interlace, tangle and weave around each other, their limbs sticking as their bodies slide across one another. The lyrics of Ella Fitzgerald's Fairy Tales helps unlock meaning and nuance in the carefully constructed choreography. Overall, an incredibly solid work, with a huge amount of depth and subtlety.

All six performances were considerably unique, bringing themes of struggle, youth, obsession, desire and pain. Comments from the audience were insightful, highlighting exactly how fresh and current each of the artist's ideas were. Finally, it seems there is nothing more sincere than the voice of our youth.

Artists include: The Rebirth Network, Xena Productions, Twin Peak, Tali & Jack, Ivan Blackstock, Sigh