Luminous Shadows, saw a collection of nine dances teamed with a combination of live music and art. Three visual artists, Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson and Susan Moxley sat at a table in the audience with their paper and inks on display. The marks that they made were simultaneously projected onto the backdrop of the stage by a camera suspended above their table. On stage between the projected image and the artists making it were two dancers, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow and to one side, the musicians Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla.  Luminous Shadows was created from a concoction of improvisations made in response to each artist’s work; some pieces more structured, others more spontaneous, drawing the audience into a conversation with the artists at play.

The clinks of brushes against ink pots and chords from musicians warming up, set the scene for what was to proceed; as if real tangible stuff was being made right here, right now. This piece felt like a mixture of process and performance as we saw its workings, how it was made and the choices that came in response to a chord, colour or movement. Where these responses began or ended were often a mystery, the dialogue becoming blurred, intertwined and immediate.

In String, a cheeky, sassy and playful Ana Barbour, tip-toed across the stage to the perky plucking notes from musician Malcolm Atkins, filling the space with personality. Barbour worked her oversized ball of string as if it was the most beautifully smelling, tasting and looking trophy in a simple structure of object play, performed with a certain charm and sophistication, which just worked. The frantic, swirly-gig brush-work of Susan Moxley curled and coiled around itself creating multiple images of Barbour on parade with her string. As her ball unravelled Barbour’s shadow snaked its way through a maze of lines and curls in the projected world behind her. The string being the focus of this piece both for the audience and the artists made the relationships between painter, dancer and musician more straight forward to decipher.

Ooze began with blue ink and a figure in white side by side. With a gentle twist of the brush and ooze of the ink, Susie Crow embodied the movements of the artist’s brush in the tension between the wringing and fluidity of her actions. The brush, ink and dancer formed moments both compositionally beautiful and consequentially transient. As the ink spread and bled, Crow’s actions created a blue atmosphere around her. Clare Bassett’s arcs and dots of arms and heads appeared and disappeared as the movements of the dancers and the bleeding of the ink rolled into one.  Barbour’s rolling beneath the sea of blue, left a snail trail of warm reds and browns as she slowly and methodically wriggled, wobbled and shuffled from one side of the stage to the other like a caterpillar in slow-motion.

As an audience member, trying to untangle the relationship between the artists and their improvisations became distracting; however in accepting that the dialogue was in constant motion, reciprocal and indefinable, the pieces began to work as a whole. String and Ooze were programmed alongside aptly named pieces such as Gossip and Free For All, where Barbour’s and Crow’s renditions of popping bubble-gum, gossiping women and jiggling jelly, executed with fun and finesse, prevented the piece from taking itself too seriously.

Rebeca JS Nice

4th June 2013

This review appeared first on Rebecca’s own blog, and ODW is grateful for the opportunity to reprint it here.  For more of Rebecca’s writing and reviews, visit her blog here: