Empowering the Female Voice
Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform, Fourth Platform reviewed by Tia Asterope at Wilditch Community Centre, London SW11 5BB, May 19
The independent choreographers Lucia Schweigert and Konstantina Skalionta began curating the contemporary dance platform Kaleidoscopic Arts in 2014. These experimental events showcase work by emerging female choreographers in alternative performance spaces and are appended by post-show talks. The fourth platform, part of the Wandsworth Fringe Festival, was held at the Wilditch Community Centre in Battersea and featured short dances by Helen Cox, Jayne Port, Lucidez Dance and Feet off the Ground Dance.
In Pibroch Tales, Port vividly blends extracts from the bagpipe-music anthology the Kilberry book of Ceol Mor with storytelling and comedy. The kilted Gordon Douglas Raeburn performed what was essentially a Scottish one-man show. He was both host and performer, presenting scenes that ranged from arguing with his wife to hunting a deer in the forest. I quite enjoyed his direct, sharp-humoured communication with the audience. But these adventurous stories remained underdeveloped, like pages torn out of a book.
Synchronous and oscillating geometric patterns were part of the magnetic fabric of Cox’s ‘double pendulum’. She and Andrew Oliver swung their limbs endlessly in circles, speeding up their spinning and punctuating it with tantalizing pauses. The first part, marked by smooth and sliding motion, was followed by a dynamic second half with travelling jumps and electric changes of direction. After a vigorous accelerando everything became calm, silent and the stage empty of motion. It was, in a word, hypnotic.
‘Living with sin’ is Schweigert’s exploration of female identity through the ages, choreographed for her own Lucidez Dance. The piece charts the metamorphosis of Kathy Richardson as she slips from innocence and childhood to Eve’s original sin and her own rebirth as a woman. Teetering between dance and painterly poses, she uses three dresses of different colour: white, red and black. Every time Richardson changes clothes, she finds out a new part of herself, a different period of a woman’s life. Her movement follows this continuous change, shifting from gentle unfoldings of her body to sensual repositionings of her pelvis. Ultimately Richardson washes out the sin from her skin, ending this fiery solo in a state of catharsis.
The pathway of female individuality continued with Feet off the Ground Dance and the collectively-made ‘The Way They Were Then’. Accompanied by Alex Paton’s live, multi-instrumental music, four female dancers created small worlds full of passion, romance and truth. Following a reversed pyramid from trio to duet and finally solo, they certainly keep their feet off the ground with sky-high jumps, forceful slides and improvised partnerships. For me the standout was Lucia Chocarro, dancing alone in a sexy and semi-improvised fashion. Her animalistic body twists, along with her galvanic energy, were enough to make me want to join in at the finale.
With this platform Kaleidoscopic Arts provided a theatrical outlet for diversity, equality and sheer talent. Schweigert and Skalionta have more to find out as they dance their way to creativity, but for now they hold a vibrant map in their hands full of choices and potential.