Hanna and Heidi have just been to couples counselling, and now they are going to do a dance for you. Whilst delivering precisely choreographed movement sequences they are going to tell you a little bit about why couples counselling was so good, creating a beautiful contrast of comedy and profound movement.
Sparkling in their co-ordinated silver sequins and pink lycra, H2Dance (Hanna Gilgren and Heidi Rustgaard) create a piece that is unique in its cross-disciplinary combinations. I don’t think that I have ever laughed so much at a contemporary dance show before, or winced at the personal tragedies of the performers whilst they smilingly hop through dance sequences declaring such dark secrets as ‘you had a breakdown, didn’t you Heidi’. Both innovative and delightful, this powerful pair are challenging conventions and pushing the boundaries of performance art by bringing their own very personal stories into such a vulnerable and open space.
The abstract movement of contemporary dance can often be confounding to audience’s not au fait with the form, but introducing personal emotion and witty comic comment truly transforms these dancers’ obvious skill into a more total form of theatre. The staging is simple and stripped back although still peppered with striking images: one memorable moment sees Heidi lying on the floor in dim side lights, alone, racking through a sequence of sit-ups and stretches whilst delivering a dark and honest account of all of the organisational and administrative work that she has carried out to make the pair’s work possible. ‘Excel spreadsheets’, ‘audience numbers’, ‘bums on seats, bigger bums on seats’ are all tumbled through in an honest and disturbingly funny monologue that hits home for any artist. Hanna is absent here, and it is this that has caused their problems – the feeling of struggling alone to battle through the realities of being an artist is physicalised as Hanna exits and re-enters to stand on top of Heidi.
Duet is a unique piece of honest, funny and inspiring work that is both personal and performative. The physicalisation and verbalisation of the pair’s emotional struggle is deft and witty. As their sequences slowly fade into the smoky darkness we are left wondering, rather soberingly, what will happen to them next.