Liminal/ Folds of the Crane – Project Arts Centre – Review by Stephen McDermott
Dublin Dance Festival continues until May 28th
In a double-bill of new Irish dance, both of which premiered at last year’s Tiger Dublin Fringe, Liadain Herriot and Justine Cooper each attempt to reconcile different sides of themselves.
In Liminal, Herriott’s innate traditionalism is pitted against a modern soundscape. Herriott – a classically trained ballet dancer – moves elegantly to Handel and Tchaikovsky, and appears well within her comfort zone as she dons heavy make up and traditional dress. But when electronic beats interrupt the classical strains, her movement becomes uneasy and stilted as she struggles between classical and contemporary performance. It’s a simple tension, and yet it’s one that’s well executed, the theatricality of which shows why Herriott was an inspired choice for Best Performer at last year’s Fringe.
When Justine Cooper appears onstage in Folds of the Crane, the tension is marked through the effective use of various stage devices. Cooper flits between light and darkness (enabled by Sarah Jane Shiels’ clever design), and deploys a white mask to help her convey various faces. Continuously sharp movements to Maria Nilsson Waller’s soundscape create a mesmeric sense of unease, and Cooper’s internal disjointedness soon radiates towards the audience, who are forced to negotiate between her different guises. Inspired by “black holes, flick books and many sides of the self”, the piece is a strong examination of character and form, with its exploration of self-identity ultimately making for a piece of dance that is as memorable as it is powerful.