Sketches

Katie Armstrong
Katie Armstrong Projects
The Platform, Easterhouse

Sketches Credit: Amy Sinead
Sketches Credit: Amy Sinead
Sketches Credit: Katie Taylor

An atmospherically lit stage awaits its visitors. Slowly and with measured movement, two people arrive, one with a violin, the other without, as they begin their performance with skill, beauty and poise. They trigger the arrival of all others, musicians and dancers together inhabiting, performing and delivering a beautiful physical representation of Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor.

In three short dance vignettes, this has the demands of the majesty of the music, which ought to give platform to the performers and their ability to integrate their dance with the moveable musicians who are playing in tandem, performing and moving along with their colleagues. Whilst the idea is hardly new and concept far from radical, I was, several times, staring to see how the musicians managed to be able to play like that! It piqued my interest.

Whilst I could have done with less of the walking at the start, there is an engaging spirit that is an attractive counterpoint to the instrumental. Perhaps having the strings stuck in a corner at points when they had been so much part of the movement lacks confidence in allowing the freedom being celebrated to just take over, and traditional formula makes its feelings known.

Nothing dips below polished and transfixing. I certainly have highlights. The first piece using two chairs with two dancers working off each other is a delight. It made me laugh. Like two siblings in rivalry for their space, they have a connection that would never break but have a fragility over them holding on to each other. Amusing and in tune tonally with the music as well as rhythmically, I found it an effective entry point for the piece. Once in, I was very much sold on the rest of it.

When Mariam Rezeal provides the electronic addition as DJ, the piece gathers itself up to a new level which is joyous. There is then work using the table, which may have felt a little clumsy when appearing onstage, but it shows versatility. The choreography asked me to lean forward and continue my enquiry—and I certainly did that.

At 40 minutes long, it is pitched perfectly in an abstract collection of movement pieces. Part of a bigger initiative, with a film to follow, I left with a spring in the step, which is surely the legacy dance ought to leave.

Reviewer: Donald C Stewart

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