Caroline Smith, Spank / Raravis, ... De Terissa (Of Clay)

Review in Issue 20-2 | Summer 2008

Hosting the evening in a bright red dress, Caroline Smith is very charming and light hearted, step by step narration of a dance routine she is, due to an accident, unable to perform sets a light, playful tone. The childhood photos of her and her sisters in 80s attire, her ironic comments on the two girls aspirations as young dancers and the description of her mother’s unusual lunchboxes fit well into the realm of fond and sharply observed memories.

At first this atmosphere of reminiscence seems to be wholly unconnected to the newspaper reports about the mysterious death of a young woman in the same area of London that are presented on screen by an unsmiling and stony faced Caroline Spark, whose professional pose as a neutral and disinterested reporter would seem severe even in a news programme.

As the two women begin to acknowledge each other, shared themes start to emerge and the apparent serenity of the memories gives way to a more troubling story.

Merging different perspectives and bringing together private and public memories Spank develops from a familiar but highly entertaining evening of happy autobiography into a more challenging piece that asks spectators to weave together different threads of narrative.

The structure of fragmented stories that reflect in different ways on a topic may not be new, nor are there surprising or entirely unexpected insights to be gained, but the high level of audience engagement required in bringing the different pieces together nevertheless make this performance enjoyable.

…of Clay by Raravis (Andrés Corchero and Rosa Muñoz) is a visual and auditory challenge. Beginning in absolute silence, the performers develop their basic vocabulary of movements in slow motion. They walk as if drawn by a piece of string attached to different parts of their bodies, they bend their knees and crouch, and they modulate the shape of their bodies with their shoulders. All their movements are executed with a slowness that is hard to achieve in live performance, and a great part of my appreciation for the first minutes of their production stemmed from mere admiration of the body control necessary to achieve this.

When the silence is interrupted by the bleeping sound of modems and internet connections, which develops into a sizzling that reminded me of high voltage power lines, initially the performers do not seem to react.

But as it becomes more rhythmic and grows in volume their movements are combined into new patterns and seem to relate more strongly to the soundscape created. The change from the apparently isolated presentation of simple movement and sounds into a dense and highly captivating dance that combines them in quick and varying order is so gradual that it cannot be attributed to any specific moment in the piece. Many of the following solos and duets of the performance use similar patterns of isolation and integration, simplicity and complexity, slow and fast. The seamless development of one into the other remains fascinating and captivating throughout.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-2
p. 30