Friday, 8 May 2015

REVIEW: Hannah Spain's 'Shift. And now I'm smaller'

Student Dance Platform
Michaelis Theatre
University of Roehampton
Sunday 3rd May 2015

Hannah Spain’s Shift. And now I’m smaller is a clever exploration of space and mass on stage. Set to Ultraista’s Gold Dayz (Maribou State Remix), the work is both hypnotic and relentless.

Spilling and melting into the space, Hannah Spain’s dancers already seem to embody the hypnotic music from the outset. Forming a long, tight line that seems to loosely resemble some kind of tentacle-encrusted insect, the dancers swing their arms and whirl their heads. Already, Spain is playing with the varying ways that space can be used and understood by both dancer and spectator.

Interestingly, Spain opts to emphasise the shadows of her dancers on the cyclorama, which adds another dimension to her choreography. The dancers exit to leave soloist Chelsea Croft to perform a short phrase of grounded turns, back bends and sustained suspensions. Yet, her two shadows, slipping and pushing across the cyclorama behind her, create the feeling that she is not alone on stage. They also serve to add a certain amount of strength and power, since they allow the audience to experience Croft’s movement from a different perspective and through a different lens.

Finally, with its expansive movement, quick changes of level and tight spatial formations, Spain’s choreography is brimming with relentless energy. Shift. And now I’m smaller appears like a canvas of bodies, which Spain carefully constructs and deconstructs in front of the audience. Ending cyclically, the dancers find themselves back in the long, tight line from the opening. As the lights dim, they begin to crumble and break away, slipping back offstage, as they did four minutes earlier.

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