Review: An Invitation... @ Chapter
Chapter has had a bit of a name change. Their theatre and studio is now graced with the name of David Seligman, a generous backer of Chapter and a friend to many for this.
Jo Fong's An Invitation... masterfully meshes performance, workshop, audience participation and even a happening. We as a shiny-eyed audience observe Jo as well as Laura Lee Greenhalgh and Beth Powlesland, present ideas in dance and probing us for results.
There are great spontaneous elements that features throughout this hour. It is the justifying of each glorious movement of the body, than we can get a better understanding of a dancer's mindset. This makes the work remarkably accessible, in the vein of contemporary dance.
Even with the accessibility can come an exposure for spectators as well. We sat in the studio, two lines of chairs facing each other across the space. It used up most of the studio, but was still an intimate experience. Farcical is another swell word to describe the piece. There is much truth in these dancers' motions and propulsions that we laugh because they are simply so unexpectedly real (some facial expression were outstanding, remarks often hilarious).
There is much to enjoy here, as we know the performers are also having a grand old time, stimulating both us and themselves. They talk, tell us how they feel about what they are doing, tell us what the dance means and what it should mean. We realise why dance is so special to each one of us.
The work concluded with Nina Simone's Good Bait, as we were asked to imaging dancing with the person directly in front of us. For me, this was the evening's usher and judging by his curious facial expressions throughout, he remained professional and sadly did not engage with this interesting finale. He did not look at me once...
An Invitation... is undoubtedly an inspiring piece. It brilliantly breaks up the process of the art form, for there to be many revelations, discovered underneath the sea of ambiguity and abstraction.
Inspired, comical and insightful.
Rating: 5 stars
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Photo Credit: Filipe Alcada