The Sensemaker and Drop the Gogo

Elsa Couvreur
Woman's Move
ZOO Charteris
to

There’s no missing the contemporary allusions in the two performance pieces from Woman's Move.

In The Sensemaker, an unnamed woman (Elsa Couvreur), neatly dressed in a blouse and black skirt, waits in a queue. We are never quite sure what the queue is for but the experience is familiar.

A recorded voice tells her she is number 3854782 and asks her to move to the centre of the room. The music playing while she waits is Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the anthem adopted by the European Union.

But there is not much joy in just waiting, so when number 3854782 hears voices in different languages, she lip-synchs and matches what is said to hand and arm movements, only pausing in comic shock to the words, ”what’s the point of living if you haven’t got a dick.”

Her gestures later become more exuberant, as if she is conducting Beethoven, and then she dances.

All this is interrupted by the recorded voice requiring her to answer personal, sexual and political questions with one clap for yes or two claps for no.

Finally, as she is asked to demonstrate her suitability by dancing for the machine, a technical hitch means she is required to begin the process again.

But by that time, the woman has had enough. Smiling and with a wave of her hand, she leaves.

Maybe she was attending an audition, or as a migrant seeking entry to the EU. Perhaps metaphorically she represented the UK forced through endless hoops in their negotiation process. And if it’s the latter, then this could possibly make the show the first to have anything positive to say about Brexit.

The six dancers of Drop the Gogo have jobs, and what could be better than dancing for a living, which they do initially with a good deal of pleasure atop six boxes.

But very quickly, the movements become more mechanical, repetitive and uncomfortable. They try on other clothes, other jobs such as the lab coat of the doctor, though each in turn looks part of the ritual of the GoGo dance.

Restless, they don militaristic caps, their dance incorporating the rhythmic sound of marching as they fire from bubble guns creating striking, colourful images across the stage.

Just as it is looking quite spectacular, there is darkness followed by a moment of light illuminating a frozen image of some terrible war atrocity.

These fine dance pieces are enjoyable to watch and have something playfully subversive to say about the world.

Keith Mckenna