Awakening Review

By Sheila Vanloo, one of HFC's New Reviewer's Team

A huge thank you to Sheila Vanloo for her review of our current touring show ‘Awakening’. Being our first show, and our first review of any of our work we were extremely happy to have Sheila be the first to review us! Please read on to see what she had to say about the show, you can find the original posting on HFC’s Arts Pass website here 

Helford Theatre, Truro: 5th March 2015 

Emily Dobson and Grace Sellwood are the driving force behind Falmouth’s Freefall dance company; both women have a string of great work behind them, including superb performances with much loved Cornish dance company Cscape. Teaming up to form Freefall has allowed both dancers to spread their wings even further and their latest production highlights their passion and ability to create both the dark and light sides of life through the language of dance.

Awakening is a triple bill of completely different performances, opening with the uncomfortable, but mesmerising, Effete. Choreographed by Emily Dobson together with the dancers, we witness the breakdown of a couple’s relationship as they test each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The trust between the couple disintegrates before our eyes, with the woman attempting to escape from a manipulative relationship while her partner does his best to pull her back to his side. Effete is a sad, beautiful piece of voyeurism, we are drawn to watch the disintegration of the couple, disliking the male for his perceived controlling tendencies and silently urging the woman to run from him. Sophy Smith’s soundtrack works perfectly, as it plays out like a scratched ’78 record to accompany the ultimate final moments of a relationship gone wrong. 

In Words Move, the second piece in this triple bill, highly respected choreographer and Falmouth University Lecturer Simon Birch sympathetically oversees this work taking inspiration from T.S. Eliot’sBurnt Norton. Emily Dobson and Grace Sellwood give themselves over to Simon’s instinctive feel for their extensive abilities and perform this piece as fluidly and fluently as the poem it is derived from. A lighter piece than Effete, but just as magnetic as these multi talented dancers complement each other with every move. Not only is Words Move a beautiful piece about rhythm and time, but also an incredibly brave and clever work with the dancers utilising a fold away garden lounger throughout; inanimate objects have a tendency to cause problems and it is testament to their trust and belief in themselves and each other that the lounger behaved impeccably and as silky smooth as the dance itself. David Darling’s compelling music doesn’t so much accompany Words Move, but becomes part of the dance with Emily and Grace – both so at one with the soundscape it is impossible to separate the two entities.

Award winning Yael Flexer choreographs the final piece of this imaginative triple bill, I Have A Body. The piece looks at the various ways our bodies are viewed, used and often manipulated. This piece veers from light to dark, using words and comedy to enhance the dance and music. An imaginative work in which we are shown a range of different perspectives of our own bodies and those around us. Gliding seamlessly from fast paced and vibrant group movements to more isolated solo performances, our attention is firmly glued to every corner of the stage in order not to miss what comes next. The clever use of a fairly dim, swinging light during some of the solo performances was slightly irritating at first, but once our eyes adjusted to the dramatic change in lighting it felt absolutely right.

A packed Helford Theatre proves that dance is becoming appreciated as a main stream art form, which can only be good news for innovative and talented companies like Freefall. Perhaps a little credit for the increase in ticket sales at dance performances is due to reality television showing glitzy performances on a weekly basis. We all have our own opinions on these programmes, but it seems they are raising the profile of dance and tempting a much wider audience to sample the delights of live performance.


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