Fran Barbe Dance, Palpitation

Review in Issue 15-4 | Winter 2003

‘Palpitation integrates dance, Butoh and Sukuki actor training method and asks: What makes your heart race? What makes it beat?’ A company of twelve performers, directed and choreographed by Fran Barbe, entice us into a shapeshifting world of creatures, beings and shimmering impressions. To the sound of 1950s thriller-style music, white-gowned figures glide across the rear stage like ocean creatures. To the sound of rain, dry bodies on the ground crack open like pods, listening and poised. Then, a sound like the creaking of a ship at sea in a rainstorm. Elegant and curious, like unidentified life under a microscope, a chorus of floating specs; wide, wide mouths, like a grouping of white blood corpuscles, merge into formation. Screaming Pac-men. Lost ghosts. Nightmare pupae.

Amazingly simple yet effective moments such as the performer with fingers spread, hand planted, smothering, over the face. Lovely image of heads on pillows, pillows on ground, bodies pushing across the floor in sleeping motion. I write in my notes ‘Rachel Sweeney has great feet’.

Palpitation is beautifully theatrical and wondrously atmospheric. I’m impressed by the simplicity and effec tiveness of the costumes; white gowns, each unique, all with high necks and long arms that completely cover the body, yet completely enhance and extend the bodies’ line and movement. Fran Barbe Dance creates work that leaves deep impressions, not only on the retina, but impressions which surface days later from the subconscious. An exploration of the perpetual discovery of becoming

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Sep 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-4
p. 27