Missing and Bird’s Eye View is a mixed bag of a showcase at Dance Base, great in some moments and awful in others.
Missing is, for the most part, a pretty successful rendering of one couple’s struggle to cope with the loss of their young child. The choreography beautifully conveys the sense that life for the couple has become a constant battle with their emotions, and the growing feeling of blame and resentment between them. A poignant ending to the piece reminded me that reality does not always bring happy endings and made me think on the effects of tragedy. However the dancers’, while beautiful and very technically proficient, were not especially strong actors, and the piece lacked believability. Whilst both dancers had quite expressive faces, their expressions did not change regularly, with the effect that the piece was in danger of becoming stagnant and wooden. On the whole this piece is definitely worth seeing, regardless of this minor fault.
Bird’s Eye View, on the other hand, was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen, and not in a good way. Intended as a musing on flight and a blurring of the boundary between man and bird states, it was often alienating and confusing, and there was a palpable sense of tension and awkwardness among the audience. Although dancer-choreographer Simona Bartozzi displays great core strength and moves very well, the movement is bizarre and often irrelevant to the subject of flight. Some of the floor sections were reminiscent of a seizure and there was a distinct and unexpected lack of choreography invoking soaring or lightness. One would be justified in describing the piece as highly pretentious and uncomfortable for its audience. Bartozzi provides very original choreography, but it is not enjoyable and not worth seeing.
Perhaps, therefore, it would be better to give this double bill a miss. Although Missing is a fairly compelling and well-choreographed piece, Bird’s Eye View is a waste of 25 minutes which I cannot recommend.