A beautifully intimate friendship, a shared curiosity and a lot of satisfying movement.

Following a lovely curtain raiser from the inclusive dance company Parasol Dance Group  full of talented young dancers, 111 begins with an empty scaffolding in soft lighting waiting to be occupied.

Joel Brown (a paraplegic dancer and singer-songwriter, currently dancing with Candoco Dance Company) enters the space, gets out of his wheelchair and begins a solo of floorwork. This solo was the first of many highlights from the work; Brown fluidly glides across the floor releasing into a series of rolls, balances and spirals. He then begins to tell us how the partnership with Eve Mutso (freelance dancer and choreographer, former Principal Dancer of Scottish Ballet) began, and about a series of notes he sent to her each starting with “Eve I have to tell you something.” This very genuine section of spoken word brings a layer of authenticity to Brown’s performance, inviting you into the dance, whilst also framing the rest of the work.

Mutso enters and the pair engage in a duet that immediately moves past the obvious ideas of partner work. As Brown lies on his side gently rotating one of the wheels of his chair, Mutso stands upon the wheel poised and projecting her focus out into audience. As the duet continues it because increasingly clear that there is a strong bond between the performers, a high level of trust and deep understanding of how their different movement vocabularies complement one another.

The technical elements of the work could not be faulted and there were frequent demonstrations of the pair’s strength as they scaled the scaffolding set. Mutso, demonstrates her strong classical technique, with clean lines and dynamic alignment as she elegantly hangs from the structure. However, this section felt that choreographically they were only just scratching the surface of where this exploration could take them. In the post-show discussion the performers explained how this work is their first experience with arial work,nd with further development this section could easily match the other intricate and choreologically rich sections.

Despite the premise of the title, 111, being the imaginary collective number of vertebrae – made up by 11 fused from Brown, and Mutso moving as though she has one hundred – the two match each other in physical complexity and articulation.

Overall, this work is a beautiful dialogue between two exceptional and different dancers. This performance may have been the last date of this tour, but the work definitely has a future and I would highly recommend any lovers of movement to see these two in action.

Thomas Page

22nd October 2019