The Irish Times - Dublin Dance festival round-up: Sunny, Merry.go.round and Singspiele

A trio of remarkable performances exploring time, perception and the search for identity

As the Dublin Dance Festival continues, the intentional interweaving of recurring motifs and styles by festival director Benjamin Perchet became more apparent. This week, three shows drew our attention again to notions of time, perception and the search for identity and human contact.

Sunny ★★★★★
The Abbey Theatre

With a blast of appropriately intense white sunlight, the week began with Sunny, a meditation on time passing and the myriad possibilities of human interaction. In contrast to last week’s wonderfully hypnotic Greek Elvedon,this show shifted gear and deftly focused on a freeform day teeming with exuberant live music and movement, with energy and optimism.

Israeli/French choreographer and designer Emmanuel Gat’s 10 athletic dancers loped, huddled and casually collided as sunlight filled the empty stage of the Abbey Theatre. Awir Leon, Gat’s musical collaborator and performer was also limbering up at his keyboard and mixing desk, tweaking his sounds for the day ahead.

Then those rhythms of Sunny made famous by Marvin Gaye began and a tone was set. With the sun rising higher, the dancers began to pick up pace and responded to the light and the music, their bare limbs stretching and extending to the sky. The energy and mood soared and dipped by turn in movement, sound and sunlight. When the music reached a crescendo, the dance accelerated; arms, legs and elbows angling, figures leapfrogging or rolling into phases of vibrant hip-hop and breakdancing moves.

Time out was a carnivalesque interlude of dancers masking up and playacting with each other before they became restless again returning to creating vibrant elemental dance. Gat’s imagined designer sun eventually grew red in the sky as night approached and his dancers bodies created final great swathes and splashes of athletic colorful moves. Uplifting and finely tuned in every sense.

Fri, May 26, 2017
Seona Mac Reamoinn