Absolut Fringe 2012: EMPTY ECHO and SOFTER SWELLS

Dish Dance's EMPTY ECHO and SOFTER SWELLS as part of ABSOLUT Fringe 2012

Dish Dance's EMPTY ECHO and SOFTER SWELLS as part of ABSOLUT Fringe 2012

There’s a fine (and sometimes indistinguishable) line between boundary-pushing and farce. Does something that strikes you forcibly as absurd and yet holds your attention count as the former or the latter?
It’s undeniable that DISH Dance’s double bill Empty Echo/softer swells is defiantly experimental. To wit: a man in a toga with a ray gun slung over his shoulder marches in jittery squares in one corner of the stage; a woman in a hooded parka covets lumps of volcanic rock, letting out an ear-piercing scream when one is dropped to the floor; and, a couple of people inter themselves in sheets of corrugated perspex that recall coffins.

With these two pieces, choreographer Aoife McAtamney (in collaboration with dancers Juan Corres Benito and Anna Kaszuba) creates a surreal world in which words are repeated to the point of meaninglessness and humans move in an unearthly fashion, seeming deranged. McAtamney’s choreography is alternately childlike and pathological, hands brought to the face in wonder or a head cocked in curiosity giving way to jerky and involuntary movements that drag the dancer through the space.

softer swells is the more inaccessible of the two works, with no soundtrack to bolster McAtamney’s disjointed gestures. Empty Echo, on the other hand, was a longer and richer piece, helped along by Shane Holly’s live musical accompaniment on guitar and drums. Although rough around the edges at moments, there are also flashes of startling choreography that disarm. However, a peculiar array of props that requires careful arrangement and rearrangement, overshadows the performance at times.

With total commitment from all the performers and a willingness to take huge creative risks, DISH Dance certainly deliver performances that are original and impactful. As a whole, however, the work requires further development before it exhibits the consistency and coherence this company seem capable of.

Star rating: ★★★

  • Review
  • Theatre

Absolut Fringe 2012: EMPTY ECHO and SOFTER SWELLS by DISH Dance

16-17 Sept 2012

Produced by Dish Dance
In Samuel Beckett Theatre

Empty Echo
Performed and created by Anna Kaszuba, Aoife McAtamney and Juan Corres Benito.
Live Music by Shane Holly.

softer swells
Choreography by Aoife McAtamney.
Performed by and created with members of DISH Dance