Torus by Humanhood // 28.03.19

Torus, choreographed by Rudi Cole and Julia Robert Pares, employed a hypnotic and meditative choreographic language to delve deep into ideas of physics, energy and spirituality.

Upon entering the theatre I was compelled by the idea of a piece which explores the intersection between science and movement, however on hearing that the performance lasted for 70 minutes (with no interval!) I was slightly apprehensive. Dance is often challenging to watch, you have to decide to pay attention; there is rarely an explicit narrative or rhetoric in the piece to tell you what to think or feel, which is what makes dance such an interesting language, but also what makes it so tough after a long day, when you just want to pull sleep over you like a blanket. This piece, however, flashed by, the movement was almost hypnotic, different phrases in the piece bled into each other and the five performers moved around the stage as one body, with an energy reminiscent of Tai Chi.

The choreography was introspective and not overtly performative, it felt almost ritualistic and deeply spiritual. The choreography’s often improvisational aesthetic was mastered by the performers, their bodies melted across the space and into the ground, it was no doubt physically extremely demanding but the dancers made the movement look effortless, easy, like they were doing it just because it felt good. Connor Scott’s intermittent solos were particularly joyous, his understanding of the movement vocabulary and of his own body was staggering – he moved with a sense of groove and subtle joy.

The soundtrack was minimalist, percussive and worked directly with the dynamics of the movement – at times the movement was too repetitive to hold onto the audience’s attention, this is where the music and engaging lighting design (the choreographers described the lighting as breathing and alive) stepped in to keep us interested. This work may not be ideal for those with a short attention span, it is like a visual meditation and so, in this way, does not enforce attention – it is not very exciting, but this by no means makes the work less valid, Torus is proof that not every performance has to be exciting, or that maybe our common understanding of “exciting” needs to be evaluated. Does exciting have to mean showy and high energy? This performance makes me think not.

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