Review: Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform, TESTBED1

TESTBED1 at the Doodle Bar hosts the second Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform and it seems like the ideal location for this show; unsuspecting, new and innovative, setting the scene for the assortment of contemporary dance we were about to experience. There was certainly no chance for boredom as at every turn we were able to embrace something even more revolutionary than the last.

Hidden amongst the battered building, the installations by Bea Bonafini and Laura Elias dominated the space and, accompanied by the haunting music by James Hall, the ideas of movement, flow and space set the scene for the rest of the evening.

At first we were treated to ‘Trace’ by Mara Vivas, inspired by the photographer Jon Crispin. Here ideas of old memories and the impact of space were unlocked. At first the silence and robotic nature shows a structured remembrance and how memories can be locked away, all shown through Vivas’s trapped movement within the white fabric. The music then transports us into a new, colourful reminiscence and as her movements become more expressive we see locked memories begin to be uncovered. While the delicacy and precision of Vivas’s work impacted me and was clearly open to interpretation, I felt there needed to be more detail, something that gave us more of an insight into why the long lost memory was exposed.

The space is then taken over by three artists with ‘Contemplating Distraction’, something that every one of us can relate to. We see how human nature is so similar; something as simple as sitting still can be so difficult and can cause us to be distracted by almost anything. Individual motifs from the three dancers expressed their individual daydreams and distractions but the highlight, for me, was the middle sequence. On three chairs, the dancers repeat a seemingly simplistic but complex motif, moving with precision and elegance, which quickly became my own distraction.

After moving around the space ‘The Body Canvas’ was shown: a short film by Julie Schmidt Andreasen and Paul Vernon portraying the collaboration between art and dance. This beautifully shot, distinguished piece of work allowed us to see how different works of art can inspire others in unfamiliar ways. One moment, one line can stimulate something so much deeper and greater. This integration between fine art and dance developed patterns and portrayed the unity of space, pattern, movement and texture in black and white.

‘Urban Constellations’ was the second short film of the evening, directed by Fenia Kotsopoulou. Kotsopoulou explored the juxtaposition of colour against neutrality and how it can change your opinions of a setting. Her work resonated with her country life, as well as her city background where the film is set as we see dancers move manically through busy streets and see the effect of the hustle and bustle of city life.

Our eyes were then diverted, in surprise, to Giulia Tacconi who was gliding effortlessly around the whole space, interacting with astonished audience members and using them to enhance her routine. She gave a unique performance that oozed from the awareness of her surroundings. The lightness of this piece was a needed change and the connection with the audience created moments of beauty and comedy simultaneously.

Lastly, we were greeted by Julie Havelund and Agnese Lanza whose interaction with the space and audience existed in their observation. Describing simple characteristics and physicality of the audience gave a connection and later in the ‘Acts of Attending’ was used for a final motif. It is clear that these two dancers are in perfect harmony with each other and the space, the music merely adding to the serenity of their movements.

Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform aims to showcase new, experimental dance works and the evening did just that. Being able to move freely around the space during the performance gave the chance to get a new interpretation on the action. The lack of direction, although at times confusing, added to the element of surprise and increasingly engaged the audience with the work. This was an incredible evening for the artists and audience and a platform that I hope revolutionises contemporary dance.

Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform played TESTBED1. For more information about upcoming platforms, see the Kaleidoscopic Arts website.

Rebecca Gwyther

Rebecca Gwyther

Figuring out what to do in life. A passion for theatre, literature and maths. Yes, maths. Gave up on the idea of being an Olympic Figure Skater, an engineer and a lawyer but theatre has remained an addiction (alongside the coffee, of course). Can often be found writing, directing, producing, making music, acting, singing and dancing. If not, I'm usually at the theatre.