wed 21/08/2019

Tribe//Still I Rise, Brighton Festival 2019 review - an evening of poetic movement | reviews, news & interviews

Tribe//Still I Rise, Brighton Festival 2019 review - an evening of poetic movement

Tribe//Still I Rise, Brighton Festival 2019 review - an evening of poetic movement

Convincing choreography based on the poetry of Maya Angelou

Resilience and uprising in choreographic form

Maya Angelou’s iconic poem Still I Rise is a good starting point for many things in life. But it’s a particularly good beginning for a piece of contemporary dance choreography, and Victoria Fox has done a great job of bringing the poet’s words to life.

It’s a rigidly structured one hour work – definite sections of movement working to a contained pace and spacing, split up by sections of music ranging from intense strings and solo opera voice to upbeat club music.

An all female cast dance in formation, side by side, performing detailed intricate, intimate gestures – moving from the softer, slower teardrop imagery of the poem through to haughty grace with strong shoulders and fearless female postures with chins up and arms miming pulling a bow and arrow.

The women come together in pairs, wrapping hope and a spirit of tension around one another, trusting they will be caught and held as they run and jump, rise and fall. Their partner work is at once fierce and gentle; yielding and supportive.

The piece builds in momentum, picking up pace with a more vital energy, seeing gun salutes to drum beats, getting stronger in its fighting talk, as the women advance to the front of the stage with a “come at me” look of defiance in their eyes. Soon after, gravity (or exhaustion) gives in to fluid floorwork and positions of surrender, kneeling with hands behind backs, beneath a flickering strip light, with arms wide and heads thrown upwards, images of picking yourself up when you’re down abound.

It’s a short second half (I wonder if it would have flowed slightly better without the break) with motif repetition, before the dancers group together to deep, sinister strings or split off to duet in displays of control and submission, clarity and manipulation. While simplistic in tone, structure and intent, the piece works well as canvas choreography – allowing the audience to read into and interpret what they see within a clear narrative, led by Angelou’s poem, but bought alive by authentic physical translation.

An all female cast dance in formation, side by side, performing detailed intricate, intimate gestures

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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