End without Days

Cool with underlying passion and deceptively simple choreography by New Yorker/San Franciscan Stephen Pelton, End Without Days gets under your skin. A beautifully structured dance to the music of Purcell and contemporary Marc Kate, its theme of separation where time no longer seems to be ‘days without end’ but a heightened apprehension of endings, is explored through the relationship of a couple, danced beautifully by Freya Jeffs and Edd Mitton, who have been separated, and the tension of whether they will be reunited again.

Gradually the stately grandeur of this piece creeps up on you

Its genesis grew out of the political and personal: the US Family Separation Policy which made it legal to separate children from their families at the US/Mexican border, his parents separated then reunited, the death of his father and the experience of lockdown. However, these are not dealt with head on but rather provide the emotional core.

A dramatic start, a chair banged on the floor is indicative of Pelton’s background in theatre. There’s a wonderful use of space, lyrical, expressive movements in the Limon tradition: slow circling of each other at a distance, slow turns and arms outstretched, coming together and separating. The repetition of slow movements threatens to underwhelm but gradually the stately grandeur of this piece creeps up on you, especially during a sequence suggesting courtly dance and an exquisite moment, the meld of movement and music during the heart-stopping Purcell aria Upon a Quiet Conscience also known as Close thine eyes.

The use of flowers is a little corny but this is being picky. This particular reviewer hates props in dance but you may like it. Overall, an unshowy gem which will transport both dancers and public alike.

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Performances

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The Blurb

An empty arena. A blindfolded man. A mysterious woman. A bouquet of flowers poised to be delivered… Set to a century-spanning score, from Henry Purcell to contemporary San Francisco composer Marc Kate, End without Days is a meditation on time, sudden endings and unbridgeable distances. Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre returns to the Fringe, after an absence of 15 years, with the world premiere of Pelton’s elegiac new work. End without Days was developed through a residency at Dance Base and features design by Chris Davey, dramaturgy by Struan Leslie and performances by Freya Jeffs and Edd Mitton.

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