Merry.go.round – Samuel Beckett Theatre – Dublin Dance Festival – Review

Merry.go.round – Samuel Beckett Theatre – Dublin Dance Festival – Review BY Beatrice O’Connell

Ireland / Sweden | Irish Premiere – merry.go.round – (Maria Nilsson Waller & Co. )
Samuel Beckett Theatre – Dates – until Wed 24 May

Dublin Dance Festival continues until May 28th

In the premiere of her new piece Maria Nilsson Waller uses the cosmos as an allegorical setting to examine the search for true love. Nilsson Waller creates a celestial arena on stage through movement, sound and light.

The apparently conventional setting opens with five seated performers until events take a whimsical direction. The performers circle each other in their own little world prior to connections being made. Some connections become playful and exploratory, some become more intense as the characters interact with one another. The routines become anarchic at times with moments of humour in this strange celestial playground. Some characters are destined to come together, others to split apart. All long for authentic connections. Their roles and cooperation within the group dynamic are tested. Dancers become actors and technicians with an assortment of unusual props that suggest growth, destruction and the wonders of new worlds.

Choreographer Maria Nilsson Waller was born in 1984 in the Swedish town of Östersund. She was heavily influenced by traditional Swedish music in her youth, and played a variety of instruments. She is now based in Ireland and teaches dance in at locations such as Dance Ireland, Galway Dance Project, Dance Limerick and Classical Ballet for the College of Dance, Dublin. This work is the final piece of her triptych which focuses on ‘Unclaimed Territories, Terra Nullius’. The Last Land (2012) was about the imagined reconstruction of Bir Tawil and Antarctica. Founder from 2014 focused on the world under the sea. This new production looks up at the heavenly bodies.

The soundtrack is pieced together from a variety of sources, both new and old. There are recordings made by NASA of the solar system, along with Swedish jazz band Je Suis ! Other sequences feature well known Opera to make for an unorthodox mix of sounds, throwing the audience in many directions. Improvisation and individual character development feature strongly within the piece resulting in a subtle and unpredictable narrative. It’s a chance to see the planets collide.

Choreographer: Maria Nilsson Waller

Performers: Elin Hedin, David Nondorf, Marcia Liu, Justine Cooper, Mikel Aristegui

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