Tackling a subject such as ‘the inner landscape of female identity’ is risky – the area is broad and the mission statement itself very vague. Yet,
The dancing seen in the video is just as compelling as that seen on stage, so why have it (poorly) filmed and projected instead of live?
Unfortunately this is not the case: the dancers leave the stage way too soon, and their magnetic presence is replaced by projections. We see a lot of young women’s faces, it is all black and white and as cliché as one can expect. The audience soon grows weary of the video, which unfortunately constitutes at least half of the show. A number of dancers are seen dancing and portrayed in awkward still frames, and between the amateurish quality of the shooting, the poor quality of the projections and the inspirational music, one feels stuck with a very long YouTube video.
Which is a real pity, since the dancing seen in the video is just as compelling as the one seen on stage, so why have it (poorly) filmed and projected instead of live, in front of the audience? When the overdrawn video finally ends, the two dancers from the beginning take the stage again and launch into more beautiful choreography, which wraps up with a lovely duet and leaves the audience to wonder why they did not see more of this.
Despite the misguided use of projections, at the start of the piece technology is skilfully integrated with the live performance: the dancers respond to radio recordings about the role of women in society and how they are expected to always be presentable.
If this is a devised piece, one can justify some of the artistic choices made (and the bland nature of some of the statements about womanhood heard during the video) with the performers’ young age. All the dancers we see during Portrait, both live and recorded, seem way too young to talk about womanhood in all its phases and aspects. In their favour, however, their talent is impressive for their young age, and personally I would buy tickets to see them again – in a live show.