By Luisa De la Concha Montes
★ ★ ★ ★
The collective behind this performance, the International Contemporary Dance Collective (iCoDaCo) was founded in Sweden in 2012. The concept behind it is quite innovative; through the medium of contemporary dance, international artists come together each year to create a new narrative that serves as a symbolic representation of cultural exchange in our globalized world.
Quench had the pleasure to review their performance on the 24th of September at Chapter Arts Centre. This year, the group, which features dancers from Hong Kong, Sweden, Wales and Hungary, created an intriguing narrative about migration, borders and transformation. The concept is unlike any other I’ve seen before, and their untraditional approach is not for everyone. By using a ‘border’ made out of threads that hangs from the ceiling, and that rotates throughout the performance, the dancers use the space around it to represent the struggle of being a migrant. By immersing themselves in a flow of intense movement, and powerful interactions, the performers create a shifting narrative that explores their identities as migrants. There is some form of audience participation throughout the piece, due to the proximity of the dancers. These interactions make the audience explore their own limits, as this proximity can sometimes become uncomfortable, and forces the audience to fully experience the emotions that the dancers are interpreting. There are some verbal interactions too, in the form of spoken-word monologues that interact with the audience and explore biological concepts linked to their bodies, such as breathing, and the creation of sweat.
The recurring narrative of the performance is the hidden symbolism behind the idea of ‘pushing’; how it is something that gives life, and identity -in the act of pushing to be born. But equally, how it can be something that alienates people, and creates boundaries. Even though the performance can sometimes be confusing and unclear, as it lacks a linear narrative that the audience can follow, the physical feat that it requires from the performers is truly amazing, as all of the dancers kept on moving, and pushing their body to their limits for almost an hour.
All in all, the physical movement of the dancers, combined with their monologues, and the audience immersion, create a thought-provoking journey that takes us through the symbolic boundaries of migration. If you are into contemporary dance, and edgy narratives that explore the role that politics plays in human relationships, this might be perfect for you. The collective will be on tour around England and Wales until early October, you can find the dates on their website.