Seven Sisters Group, Salome

Review in Issue 11-2 | Summer 1999

Following last year’s Translation at King’s Cross and Waterloo stations, Susanne Thomas’ Seven Sisters Group has devised a fascinating new piece for the St Pancras Chambers, drawing on different versions of the biblical tale of Salome. This version of the story, whilst allowing dance to reclaim a central position, denies the narrative of Salome’s actions, exploring instead the themes and ideas that underpin it, particularly those related to representations of female sexuality.

The flaking grandeur of the St Pancras Chambers immediately draws the spectator into an atmosphere of faded decadence, confusion and uncertainty. Travelling singly through the building, each audience member is followed, confronted and ignored by the nine dancer/performers, and gradually a series of images weave together to present the company’s material. Some stunningly simple uses of perspective and visual framing add to the unexpected glimpses of another existence, and video projection and digitised soundscapes are deployed as another means of exploring the story’s themes.

Travelling through the space, it becomes clear that the audience itself is made complicit in the company’s exploration of voyeurism, obsession and narcissism: mirrors throw back distorted self-images and draw the spectator into the action of the piece. Ultimately, however, the presence of the audience itself hinders the success of this fascinating project – despite being sent into the space individually, the spectators inevitably gather together and break the sense of delicious voyeuristic isolation that must have been so exciting in rehearsal.

If this piece could be developed in a way that permits true solitude for the spectator, and if the quality of the performances could be brought to the high standard of some of the dancers, then it could develop into a truly wonderful piece of work.

Artforms
Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-2
p. 21