Theatre review: As Night Falls, Herald Theatre

By Raewyn Whyte

As Night Falls puts dancers through their paces.
As Night Falls puts dancers through their paces.

As Night Falls, the new hour-long dance work created for Black Grace by artistic director Neil Ieremia, is a dynamically driven collage of tension and strife with anxious, restless, fleeting and flurrying people constantly on the move.

They await their fate at the hands of invisible captors; are tossed by explosions; are swept off their feet by huge waves; and trudge from one side of the space to the other, trapped in the confines of the Herald Theatre's black box stage,

Dressed in loose layers and shades of grey while surrounded by shadows which shield their faces, they could be ghosts or the tattered remnants of a village , refugees from calamity.

Individuals repeatedly wipe their faces or brush a hand against various parts of the body as if to remove dirt, sweat, or blood, or flagellate their own backs. Or they fall against one another; shield one another in freeze-frame poses, communicating a sense of humanity in peril.

But when the bright lights shine down, their sculptural muscularity is revealed and their ability to flow through demanding, intricate, detailed passages of movement at a punishingly fast pace reveals they are highly trained dancers.

The intimacy of the space is a double-edged sword. It reveals how the 10 dancers impeccably present Ieremia's choreography, leaving the audience in awe of their strength, stamina and accomplishment. It also infuses the audience with the tension and anxiety in the movements, intensified by Vivaldi's music.

There are rare moments of rest and repose and few sections of quieter, more sensuous, lyrical movement to provide a contrast to the sense of destruction and degradation. At such moments it feels like a good time to take a deep breath.


Review

What: As Night Falls by Black Grace Dance Company

Where: HeraldTheatre until November 5.

- NZ Herald

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