see this here Company Chameleon - Hands Down - Photo R NiceThe success of Hands Down lies in its simplicity. The title, to be easily the best with not too much effort, effectively describes the visage of this duet, performed by Company Chameleon’s Artistic Director Anthony Missen with Riccardo Meneghini. Creating an effortless style using contemporary dance, Company Chameleon’s complexities lie in the subtlety of their dynamics and efforts, underpinned by incredible strength, control, and agility.

un coup de grâce Squeezed between a restaurant and a glass office block, Riccardo Meneghini emerges from the crowd, carefully balancing Anthony Missen on his shoulders, who appears to be transfixed, his eyes alive, his body motionless but strong. The reflections in the surfaces behind extend the performance area into a green, watery world where the dancers seem to float.

quand fenêtre sur cour rencontre la belle histoire Hands Down plays out a bond between two men.ĹžovÄ‚Ë Their relationship is communicated and develops through the eye contact between the two dancers, which also demonstrates the difference between looking and seeing. There is always a connection and response between the two, something noticed or acknowledged. Their presence, rather than being projected outwards, draws the audience inwards, towards the nuances of their movements and expression, navigating viewers through their interactions.

The friendship between Missen and Meneghini works through affection, support, and good natured competition verging on frustration as the phrases move between tender contact work and gentle lifts to powerful games of chase, staccato isolations, and puppet-like manipulations.  Each aspect of their relationship is given equal space within the performance, balancing competition with support. The dance as a whole however is imbued with an overarching sense of delicacy that is never entirely soft or sharp but somewhere in between, somewhere indefinable. Their dynamic and constant spiralling floor pattern is almost trancelike as audience members find themselves swaying to their rhythm, glued to the connection between the pair.

Refreshingly, there is no stereotyping or exaggerated agenda in this piece, rather an expression of rapport between two people lived in that moment. One is never dominant, there is always a response in varying forms from a look, a run, a catch or a fall; reciprocal, not identical. Masculinity is conveyed as it exists by the emphasis on honesty over prescriptive ideas, allowing the individuality of Missen and Meneghini to emerge.

Manchester-based Company Chameleon’s work is often mesmerising. Their 2013 double bill Pictures We Make, was also imbued with the same transfixing style. Whether performing in formal settings such as the Linbury Studio Theatre of the Royal Opera house (where Pictures We Make toured), or beneath a towering glass office block in Dancing City, their intensity captivates. They have a sparkle in their eyes and a subtle way of being both restrained and free, robust and tentative. This presence is hard to define in words and is made tangible only in the physical performance, which is what gives Company Chameleon its identity and sophistication.

Rebecca JS Nice

Rebecca JS Nice

Rebecca worked as a dance teacher, lecturer and choreographer for eight years specialising in tap and jazz. She has a background in Art History and is currently training further in medieval history and contemporary choreography with a particular interest in live art. At the early stage of her dance writing career, Rebecca reviews and analyses theatre and dance performance and is working on a papers for publication.

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