Blue Feather Inspiration R&R
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The following review was supplied to Dance in Devon as part of their Reviewer Scheme and was published on the DiD site and was supplied to various local news publications.

Henrie Oguike - Butterfly Dreaming Tour - February 2011 - Ilfracombe

Henri Oguikes Butterfly Dreaming Tour show opened to a dark stage, water falling centrally in a cylinder of droplets, simply side lit.

The dancer is sat, almost incidentally set to one side; he was apart, sat out of the stream, but already engaged by the water bouncing up onto him, drawing him into its flow.

The expectation and interest created at the outset spreads and evolves throughout Freq taking various moods and shapes, constantly engaging the waters impact on the dancer as the forms change. Cyclically casting repetitive patterns of alternatives in contrast with eye snatching moments of frozen vivid imagery at the point of transformation to a new pattern for either the dancer or the water. The effect of the light was such that dancer and water merged in places; the water was merely the extension of his movement, the flow of his energy thrown out and scattered from a fluid flick or halo-like spraying out from a subtly angled skull.

The switch to strobe alters the mood and tension again bringing a sharper haunting edge.

In a change, due to injury of the original dancer, the piece was delivered by Josef Perue who should be rightly proud of delivering a powerful elemental piece with captivating character, sharing struggle and repose, educated elemental interactions and even the occasional refreshing, very briefest of moments of almost coquettish humour and spirit.

After a brief interval to mop clean the stage and the mental palette we returned.

Now Toccato by contrast saw three dancers with evolving interactions in their triangular relationship, a relationship which not only paid respect to the music, but engaged the musician who was performing on stage with them. A nice change, when some dance can seem to have only the most tenuous of connections to the music, to feel the unity of the piece. At times Bart Lafollette was as the set, as an anchor point they moved around; at times he was with the dancers dancing to our ears rather than eyes, engaging with dancers as he played. For a moment he was even in truth a dancer at a simple moment of intense and held eye contact between cellist and dancer in tension.

The piece had a constantly shifting energy, moving around and in response to the building tensions between different pairings and drawing aparts, at times the music seemed to follow the the dancers, throughout there was a sense of relationships evolving and breaking down and regrowing afresh.

The student presentation Unravel, resulting from the youth residency which was added into the show at this point, was an excellent showcase for the skill, talent and creativity of both every student involved and of Anh Nguyen and Stephanie Hodgson who had worked with them over the preceeding week developing the piece. Its hive mood and insectival presentations were powerful and compelling, each individual dancer in their solo and trio sections expressed subtly different character, retaining an underlying cohesion, reminding us constantly of their unity. The return at intervals to a running loop, was somewhere between a honey bees waggle-dance and an essential cog in a beautiful piece of dance machinery. The finishing crab floating off completed its unsettling science-fiction future world charm.

The title piece, Butterfly Dreaming had a lot to live up to, and like Toccato it was also missing a dancer from the usual presentation, however much as i would love to see the trio of pieces in completion with full cast, it was still powerful and compelling as presented on this night.

Butterfly Dreaming is a masterful combination of design and choreography drawing the eye and the mind in cycles of metamorphosis. The communication of a form, an identity, from one entity to another; the cycle of seeding and growth, the new form becoming more crisp and defined as the original fades and distorts; flowed over the piece.

There was much to love in Butterfly Dreaming, a certain delicious twist of a seductive flow, a sense that once infected it would continue and spread. There was an organic feel to the transition, organic like decay or germination, both destructive and creative at once, being beautiful and natural and in balance, a sense of being one thing or another and in being both lies a deep somnambulent quality of madness.

The wonderful set of three pieces encompassed both art and entertainment, and if being both at once does bring with it madness then prepare the straightjackets it will be a worthwhile trip.

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