Diamond Night 24th November 2012 – Writing for the first time for Oxford Dance Writers, Lizzy Spight gives us a different perspective on a stimulating evening…

Another very enjoyable evening full of little gems and diamonds being worked on. The space is intimate enough for the audience and the performers to get close to each other and for sensing the exchange between both. It creates an atmosphere of openness and being involved with the work in progress of each artist. The stage is also neutral enough to be able to create a matching backdrop for each piece, and the props and materials used have therefore a powerful influence on the intended expression.

It was again a pleasure to see and hear such a variety of creativity and imagination. You get the encouraging impression that there are really not many limits within the three dimensional space and time parameters. The effects were achieved by relatively simple means, in the centre always the personality and physicality of the performer/s.  Even watching Peter Jones’ Air, a film impression of images, colours and sounds regarding this theme, takes us into the artist’s very personal world of perception and invites us to join his journey with our own eyes and feelings. Time in this case seemed to stand still for a while.

Another aspect that I found fascinating, and very much realised in Ana Barbour’s piece Inertia, is the playing with and connecting of different media. It created and opened up a world of impressions and imagination with the pleasure of surprising twists, that made me be very much involved in my mind, wanting to be taken along, and at the same time create my own story. This is a challenge to change which is interesting considering the title of the piece “Inertia” which indicates the resistance to change of any state, moving or still. I don’t know if the artist intended this kind of effect on the audience, but it was a very interesting experience for me.  To pick out one little part; I loved the beginning, with Ana sitting on a rag and created sounds (by Ana) and projected scribbling on the screen behind her, done by another person in the room.  A powerful image that sticks in my mind, but the whole process of intentions and reactions in her piece attracted my attention.  I wanted to see more of it!

Anne Ryan’s The Necessary evoked an uneasy feeling in me, I was both attracted to and repulsed by the presented persona. Considering the theme she was dealing with, money and consumerism, I am sure it was intended by the artist to make us feel like that. It confronts us with deep emotions, our unresolved relationship to money, and represents one of the central problems of our Western society. The laboured movements, accompanied by unpleasant uneasy sounds, made by the artist, and the penetrating monotonous voice of her reading, supported this effect.  Anne’s Heartsrum again experimented with sounds and voice; I am curious how this piece will develop.

Ayala Kingsley’s presentation takes the audience into the rich world of poetic images. Orpheus poems was a very sensitive connection between music and reciting (I loved the cello accompaniment by Bruno Guastalla, he understands how to make the instrument speak, a good extension to Ayala’s lively presentation with voice and body).  It was a journey into light and dark with many faceted dreams.

Mue was another experiment with different props and media, and again very expressive accompaniment by Bruno, this time with bandoneon and cello (giving the piece a sense of intensity and melancholy). The image that stayed most in my mind was the cutting of the cotton screen from behind the screen, with music and light of a torch, the cutting noise interestingly distorted and intense. I would love to see the whole piece when developed.

I feel very much inspired (for my own work) and enjoyed the 2 hours of looking at those colourful facets of little diamonds.

Lizzy Spight