Elvedon – Samuel Beckett Theatre – Dublin Dance Festival – Review
(Christos Papadopoulos / Leon & the Wolf )
Until May 20th
Dublin Dance Festival continues until May 28th
When the piece begins there are six perfomers crouched randomly on stage with their backsides facing the audience. It subsequently transpires that they are four women and two men. They are dressed in simple clothing suitable for a dance work out. They are the dance troupe Leon & the Wolf founded by Christos Papadopoulos.
The original music beats out its rhythm. Your eye moves from one performer to another to see if any movement is to be detected. Little or none is visible, but gradually they do move minutely in time with the sound. Eventually, oh so slowly, the dancers reach ninety degrees and begin to relate to each other in various groupings as they move their feet in the tiniest of steps, mostly to the side. The music beats and they swing their arms, as if they were metronomes, to reinforce the rhythm and to ensure each of them is in perfect time with the sound. New assemblies of dancers take shape utilising the entirety of the empty space. As the movements of the feet are so small the need to observe intently is overwhelming. It is mesmeric. The dancers keep their gaze for the most part straight ahead and rarely use their facial muscles.
Eventually the energy levels increase considerably and the six dancers begin to move with running steps as they metamorphose into what appears to be a great flock of migratory birds. They move faster as they swirl around the entire stage, both backwards and forwards. It is magnificently controlled as they hurtle with ever increasing speed. As a friend sitting in the front row said they created a breeze as they flew past and there was even an olfactory sensation to be enjoyed. However the ever increasing speed creates a small fear which begins to grow that this tempo must end in a disaster but it does not. It all gradually resolves into a calmness.
This disciplined piece of creation emanates from Greece at a time when that country has been enduring economic and political turmoil. It is an odyssey that spins its magic for fifty minutes. When it reaches its destination there is a sense of a wonderful imaginative journey having been enjoyed. The audience had been elevated as the enthusiastic applause endorsed.